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Africa Energy Forum 2020 to address Sustainable Development Goal on Energy (SDG7) and Impact of Energy Investment
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
Under the overarching theme “Investment & Impact,” the Forum’s 2020 programme puts sustainable development and the impact of power projects under the spotlight
BARCELONA, Spain, February 17, 2020/ — The 2020 Africa Energy Forum (aef) (www.Africa-Energy-Forum.com) will welcome Chairwoman Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Co-Chair of UN-Energy, to officiate the opening sessions.

 Mrs. Ogunbiyi said: “Africa is a region full of promise and economic opportunity. Yet as we begin the final decade to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7, over 573 million people across Africa still do not have access to electricity which affects the region’s economic potential, health outcomes and prosperity. Now is the time we must all come together to increase investment, make bold commitments and create new partnerships that can deliver affordable, reliable, modern and sustainable energy for all Africans.”
 
The 2020 programme
 Taking place in Barcelona, Spain from 30th June – 3rd July, the 2020 agenda introduces dynamic sessions prioritising interactivity between panellists and delegates. Session formats include interactive Q&As, deep dives, roundtables and hard-hitting debates.
 
In line with the SDG7 goal of ensuring “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” aef will host a stream dedicated to unpacking Africa’s role in achieving SDG7, debating how the continent can meet energy demands in light of global sustainability goals.
 
The Tech & Tools stream will examine how the 4th Industrial Revolution is set to play out for Africa, discussing the future of battery storage, disruptive technologies and artificial intelligence in 2020 and beyond.
 
A special Project signing session on the opening day will see partners and sponsors sign power projects with public & private sector partners in front of a live aef audience.
 The EnergyNet Student Engagement Initiative returns to invite promising finance, law and engineering students from Africa and host country Spain to meet Energy Ministers, participate in workshops and learn about the opportunities for energy development in their respective countries.

 Networking highlights
 The Africa Challenge Cup will return to aef this June – a football tournament raising money for charity while providing an outstanding networking opportunity for sponsors and delegates. Barcelona is the ideal city to build on the success of the 2019 tournament and exceed our charitable contribution.
 
New for 2020, aef will host an Industry Quiz for teams of sponsors and delegates. Quiz rounds will take place throughout the agenda on the exhibition floor over the course of the 3 days. The wining team will be recognised with an awards ceremony and prize at the aef 2020 closing ceremony.
 
Over 2,000 decision-makers from the public and private sector are expected to attend the 22nd Africa Energy Forum this June. 
 
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Ethiopia Must Rethink “Unfortunate” Hate Speech Law
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

Arusha, Tanzania, February 17, 2020 — On 13th February the parliament of Ethiopia passed the much-contested proclamation on fake news and hate speech regulation with nearly 300 votes from the lawmakers in support.The country started speaking publicly about developing such a law in 2018 and announced passage of the proclamation by the government in November 2019.

The history of Ethiopia has always had the government keeping a upper hand on the citizens through oppressive laws and internet censorship.Waves of protests have been on the rise since 2015 with violence and human rights violations highly observed at such times including killing of protestors and regular internet shutdowns.

Content has been a landscape that the country has tried to control by taking down websites and maintaining monopoly of  the telecom sector .Despite the progress made since Prime Minister Abiy took over, the information space is still highly regulated, with last year alone reporting more than 3 shutdowns.

With rising tensions and communal violence since 2018 the government has since claimed that such were fuelled by online speech.Following the attempted coup in Oromo state last year and the killing of about 86 people the Prime Minister was quoted saying, “For the sake of national security, internet and social media could be blocked any time necessary.” The state has since gone on to have more shutdowns hence silencing dissent by making online avenues inaccessible for people to exercise their rights.As Ethiopia approaches elections in August this year, a free and fair election demands the ability to exercise free speech and opinion by all Ethiopians, this bill comes in time to take away that right.

Law makers claim that hate speech and fake news are much to blame for the rising ethnic tensions in the country hence its important that they legislate this ahead of the elections.The law is vaguely done and leaves room for biased interpretations this includes definitions such as hate speech which means “speech that promotes hatred, discrimination or attacks against a person or an identifiable group, based on ethnicity, religion, race, gender or disability.”This leaves room for the law to be used as a weapon to incriminate free speech in the upcoming elections as it’s not clear or objective enough.

The new legislation also stops dissemination of information cited as fake, hateful among other things without clearly identifying the process of determining whether speech is inciting, hateful and/or fake.The danger is the implications this will have on free speech as well as a free press as the law also targets  media such as social media as avenues of hate speech and fake news dissemination.This makes the already shaky ground of digital rights in the country even more unstable not guaranteeing transparency and free elections.The laws criminalize this offence with fines as high as 3000$  and jail time of up to 5 years for violations of the proclamation which are not realistic.

Paradigm Initiative urges the government of Ethiopia to reconsider this regulation and come to the realization that hate speech cannot be combated by regulating speech but rather it will only fuel rights violations and lead to greater damages.

It is essential that the government of Ethiopia reaffirms its commitment to human rights by keeping speech free and building legal frameworks to promote democracy and good governance hence steering the nation to stability rather than legislate restrictions.

We commend efforts made so far by the government such as the unblocking of several websites that had been blocked during a period of instability in the nation, however, methods employed then didn’t work and similar methods of censorship won’t make progress.It’s imperative that the online space be proved to  be safe spaces respected by the government as an avenue for citizens to exercise their constitutional rights.

*Paradigm Initiative

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Stuttgart Based Gambian Promoter Connecting Gambian artistes to the European Markets
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

King Mike

Michael Dampha, alias  King Mike, chief executive officer Warriors In a Dance has resolved his readiness to promote Gambian artistes across the European markets.

In an exclusive interview with Pan African Visions, Mike, the Stuttgart based highlighted his activities and upcoming plans he and his team are doing in The Gambia, Germany and across Europe in their quest to promote Gambian artistes across the globe.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the interview with Pan African Visions Gambia correspondent Bakary Ceesay, with King Mike.

Pan African Visions: Can you please introduce yourself to the readers including your educational background?

Mike: My name is Michael Dampha a.k.a King Mike. I get the name from Dr. Olugander Abukpapa. I promote and support Gambian music. I’m also a booking agent for artists in Europe. I’m half a German and half a Gambian. I grew up in Stuttgart Germany, Filderstadt. I attended my school careers in the same city and learn two jobs, director and security.

Pan African Visions: What is your connection with Gambia and Germany?

Mike: I’m a half German and half Gambian with a great connection in the Gambia and also promoting Gambian music in Germany. And I often visit my family in the Gambia.

Pan African Visions: You have a music promotional firm called Warriors In a Dance can you please tell us when was it established and what was the main objectives?Mike: Warriors Ina Dance was established in 2015. Two friends of mine involved me in the Gambia music industry. And link me with Dr. Olugander Abukpapa, a Gambian artiste based in Finland. Dr. Olugander was my first artist who I bring to Stuttgart Germany. He was really humble and fair to me. We had nice show with much fun. So I continued working with him and many others artists from the Gambia. As well as artists from Jamaica also.

Warriors Ina Dance we are one big family under one umbrella promoting Gambia and Jamaica music in Germany and abroad. We are struggling and working hard to achieve our goals.  We organised nice party’s once in a month where people comes and enjoy the good music. We also invite all the time artists from Gambia or from Jamaica and Dj’s to perform in Germany.

Pan African Visions: What motivates you to set up Warriors Ina Dance promotional firm and how many people you are currently working with?Mike: My real partner is Mohammed Susso a.k.a Skinny Boy Susso. He knows all my plans and ideas. But we work with lot of people together and we have good chain works and high services.

We work with radio stations together in Germany and now in the Netherlands also for interviews and they plays and promotes Gambia music.


We work with a professional music studio together where I can go all the time with artists for recordings duplates and to make good quality music videos and internet interviews. We work with Teckle-Reisen together in Germany. He is our travel Agent and we can call or contact him 24/7. If we have questions or problems with the flight.


We work also with a nice and good hotel together which is not far from my home. And we can provide to our guests nice Gambian food. So that will not miss the Gambia. The hotel owner speaks perfect English in case any problems my home is not far. We are trying and wanted to organised our dance party once in a month in Mannheim in Germany. In the Gambia we are working with Axon Ova Chat Gullykid Promotion together from Basse and Gambia All Events. We stand in good contact and touch with them. Just let us see what is coming in the future. We dream big.

Pan African Visions: Which type of music are you promoting and what category of artists you are working with?
Mike: We promote dancehall, Reggae, Hip Hop, Gambia music and more. I work with Gambians and Jamaicans artists together.

Pan African Visions:  We have seen you are being working with some Gambian artists and Dj’s why do you choose to focus on Gambian artists?
Mike: My father was a Gambian.  I love the Gambia and the people. And I’m really happy to work with Gambian artists and Dj’s.

Pan African Visions:  Do you have any plans of sponsoring some young Gambian talented artists and expose them in European markets?

Mike: This is what we are trying now, with two or three Gambian underground artists.  It’s an exciting project. Support support and let people hear the good vibes.

Pan African Visions: How it is like working with Gambian artists both home and abroad because we have seen you are partnering with local promoters in Gambia?

Mike
:  It’s nice and makes fun. I feel the love and the support. We are in good contact. And in the future we have plans and will like to do also things in the Gambia.


Pan African Visions:  How do you see Gambian music industry?

Mike: I see the Gambia music industry in a higher heights moves. We have lot of talented brothers and sisters in the musical arena. And the Gambia music flowing across the world. The world is watching, listening  and supporting the music industry.


Pan African Visions:  What are some projects in the pipeline for Warriors Ina Dance in the summer we are we going to see you bring some Gambian artists to tour in Europe.Mike: On the 27-03-2020 we are going to be in Mannheim Germany with Dj Ali Gee, the young general at club California. D’Angel from Jamaica will come to us on the 03-04-2020. Many Dj’s will be in the house on that day. Dj’s like Selekta Adi & Dj M.O.B from the Gambia will be there too. Many nice and big things are in the pipeline cooking up already. But it’s not allowed to talk about it. I just cross fingers and I hope the best.

We are in good contact with some Gambia artists. But T-Smallz a.k.a Katato, one of Gambia’s finest artiste will come to Europe this summer with us. We are really happy and proud to work with Katato Entertainment


Pan African Visions:  What is your visions in the next five years in both the Gambia and Germany?

Mike: My visions are to create more good links, partnerships, good party’s, concerts and big beats.
That the German radios and TV channels will plays Gambian music and support the Gambia music industry.

Pan African Visions:  Are we expecting a Gambian festival in Stuttgart in the next coming years?
Mike: In Stuttgart or in other places in Germany we have every year African Festivals. They’re many countries who attended it and represent their music’s and cultures. But we make this year for the first time After Show Party from the African Festival. And we hope we can continue this every year and to be part of the African Festival.



Pan African Visions:  What are some of your challenges in the music business in the past years?

Mike: I had many challenges and I learn many things from it. And I gained lots of experience in the musical arena.

Pan African Visions: Finally, what is your advice to Gambian artists, Dj’s, promoters and events organisers?

Mike: My advice is dream nice and big. No competition and bad mind.  Believe in yourself and work hard to achieve your goals. The streets and the people will see your good work, judge you and speak for you.

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100 pangolin traffickers arrested in Mozambique
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos

The Mozambican authorities arrested at least 100 people in 2019 accused of trafficking in Pangolin, an animal known worldwide as being endangered. Of those arrested, four were sentenced to between 12 and 16 years in prison.

A total of 31 trafficking cases were recorded in the provinces of Niassa and Nampula (North), Sofala, Tete and Manica (centre), and Maputo (South), in incursions motivated by strong demand for the animal, with the Asian black market being the main destination.

“The unbridled demand for the animal highlights the critical nature of the species threat in Mozambique,” said Mateus Mutemba, head of government conservation agency ANAC, in the context of Pangolim national week. “We have to be on alert”

In the Mozambican tradition, Pangolim is called Eka (in the north), Nkawale (in the center) and Halakavuma (in the south) and has an invaluable cultural social value.

The animal is associated with myths. Some believe it is sent by God for prosperity, rainfall, and good harvests. Sometimes the animal is seen as a messenger of negative events such as drought and other climatic phenomena.

Before globalization, these myths and beliefs contributed to the survival of the species. However, the increase in demand for traditional Asian medicine caused a rapid decline in the population of Pangolin, even damaging the Mozambican economy.

“The illegal trade in wildlife products not only creates an imbalance in ecosystems and loss of biodiversity,” said Mutemba, “but it also damages the country’s economy by taking away the opportunity to generate employment and income for local communities through the wildlife-based economy and legal trade.

Official figures from the United Nations World Environment Program point to just over a million pangolins trafficked to the Asian black market in the last 10 years. In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region alone, of which Mozambique is a member, there are an estimated 50,000 pangolins slaughtered each year for illegal trade purposes.

The Pangolin is considered the most trafficked mammal in the world, surpassing ivory and the rhinoceros horn. The animal plays a very important role in maintaining the balance of ecosystems, being responsible for controlling some pests such as ants and termites, keeping the soil airy and fertile for agricultural production.

“The animal is important… very important” Mutemba Said. “We will continue to make efforts to prevent trafficking” he added warning that ANAC will continue to arrest and impose various fines for the principals, hunters, traffickers, among others involved in illegal activities against the species.

In the surveillance Mozambique has the support of the United States Agency for Development (ISAID).  It was this organization that developed a Pangolim manual in Portuguese – the official language of the country – in order to support the identification of the scales of this mammal by the Customs, Migration and Police authorities.

Pangolin, elephants and rhinoceroses are the species most under threat from poaching in Mozambique.

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Rwanda:Health Minister Ousted Over Faulty Handling of coronavirus
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Dr Diane Gashumba resigned over lying to President Kagame
Dr Diane Gashumba resigned over lying to President Kagame

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda has revealed how he was lied by Minister of health Dr Diane Gashumba on the country’s preparedness over fighting coronavirus.

The virus is killing people in China and fear are that it may reach other countries including Rwanda if strict measures are not taken.

Last Friday, Rwanda’s Prime minister office announced that it had received Gashumba resignation letters. The real  reasons behind her resignation were not shared only to say that “the resignation follows a series of habitual gross errors and repeated leadership failures on the part of the Minister.”

Addressing hundreds of leaders who attended National leaders’ retreat in the East, President Kagame said he was fed up by errors done under Gashumba leadership including lying about the status of coronavirus in the country.

He said that he wanted people who attended  retreat to be screened coronavirus before heading to retreat, because Ministry of Health had been saying country is ready to curb the deadly virus.

“One day I called some leaders and asked them to screen all of us before the retreat. I told them to tell Minister of health to do it and I would be the one to be screened”, he paused before adding “They had been telling me that we are ready if it comes and after they changed narrative saying there is no need to be screened.”

Kagame said that the Minister of health secretly told one leader that country has 3500 kits to use while screening coronavirus, that if some 400 others  are deducted to screen leaders in retreat, will be bad.

Security organs made investigations to know the truth  and they found that only 95 kits are available.

“After realizing the report from Ministry of health, I asked if those kits could work only for 95 people really, and they replied ‘Yes’. I returned to the Minister of health and asked, she started a long story, that I misheard her…” he said

Minister Gashumba also is  blamed for other health facilities problems. Kagame said he will never tolerate such leaders who misuse public assets.

Last week other ministers resigned including Evode Uwizeyimana who was State Minister in charge of constitution and legal affairs together with State Minister Munyakazi Isaac who was in charge of primary and secondary education.

Uwizeyimana is alleged to have assaulted a woman who was guarding a commercial complex in Kigali while she was asking him to pass through security scanning machine, whereas Munyakazi is said to have received bribe in order to give good credits one school in national examination results.

Investigation into the matter for both former Ministers has been launched. It has been nine years without any Minister resigning in the government.

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Cameroon: Growing Calls for International Community To Investigate Massive Killings In NW Region
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Photo believe to include some of the children killed during the raid
Photo believe to include some of the children killed during the raid

The dead toll of week’s Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw Massacre in Ndu sub-division of the North West region in Cameroon now stands at 32 as the locality remains gripped with fear, grief and wretchedness.

There has been widespread condemnation following the brutal killings among them pregnant women and children.

While some of the villagers were reportedly shot dead in separate locations in the enclaved village, others, were burnt alive when their homes were set ablaze.

“We gathered that the incident occurred when men in military attire stormed the village Friday in search of separatist fighters. The men in military outfits had arrived in the locality the previous night and camped at a nearby hamlet,” a local reporter said.

“As they moved into Ngarbuh the next day, we gathered, the Amba boys in the area had fled into the bushes. We also gathered that, houses belonging to the separatist fighters were then targeted, resulting in heavy human and material lost. Villagers, who attempted fleeing, were said to have been shot and killed.”

“Pregnant women, children and some adults who took refuge in houses in the village were all burned alive. At least 13 houses are known to have been burnt, resulting the demise of 27 persons, mostly children and women,” our source revealed after concluding his preliminary investigations.

We gathered that, a family of seven, was wiped out entirely during Friday’s horrific incident in what now stands as the bloodiest incident recorded amidst the ongoing armed conflict in the Anglophone regions of the country. This proceeds that of Pinyin in May 2018 in which at least 30 persons were reported to have been massacred.

Meanwhile, in a telephone conservation with The Guardian Post, army spokesperson, Colonel Cyrille Atonfack, merely confirmed the incident before disclosing authorities were investigating the issue.

He, however, dismissed reports that the massacre might have been carried out by soldiers. The army spokesperson said he believes the barbaric act must have been orchestrated by separatist fighters, known as “Amba boys”, whom he accused of carrying out similar actions and are always quick to go to the social media to post pictures of victims.

The military spokesman emphasized that the information attributing the brutal raid on government military forces is all “Fake News”.

Mass graves were used to burry the victims of Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw Massacre (photo: mimimefoinfo)
Mass graves were used to burry the victims of Ngarbuh-Ntumbaw Massacre (photo: mimimefoinfo)

Condemnations galore

Following last Friday’s incident in Ndu sub division, several prominent personalities and groups have been commenting on the issue.

Former presidential candidate and renowned lawyer, Barrister Akere Muna, took to his twitter page to condemn the massacre, describing it as “unfortunate”.

“Ngar village, Donga Mantung – Suffering, death and killing are now the new normal. How did we get here where human life no longer has any value? We must all, now, genuinely seek #peace before this country loses its soul”, the lawyer turned politician tweeted.

“Pray for all the innocent victims,” he added.

In a similar outing, the national president of the United Socialist Democratic Party, USDP, Prince Ekosso, urged that:

“The massacre and the genocide going on in the North West and South West regions of Cameroon should not go unpunished”.

“I am calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate these crimes and the perpetrators brought to book,” he said.

“The world should not give a blind eye to the happenings in Cameroon as though there are no International Guiding Norms to Human Rights and dignity,” he added.

In a statement issued Sunday, renowned human rights group, the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA, described the incident as “barbaric”.

The group said: “We have received with shock the gruesome murder of at least 27 lives…on the 14th of February, 2020”.

“This happened at the village of Ngarbuh, Donga Mantung Division of the North West region Cameroon.

Among the victims are pregnant women and children, who were not only shot with live bullets at close range, but were equally burnt to ashes…,” the group detailed.

They said: “We have waited to receive an official statement from the government about the incident but it is not forth coming. In the meantime, CHRDA condemns in the strongest terms this barbaric and atrocious act…as it is a blatant violation of International Law and the most sacrosanct principle of the right to life”.

The rights body said it was recommending an investigation into the incident by the government and the immediate arrest and trial of those who carried out this “act for crimes against humanity”.

“While we decry this barbaric and unspeakable action, investigations into the details are still ongoing and shall be released alongside other human rights atrocities committed by both parties to the ongoing Anglophone crisis since the start of the year 2020,” the group concluded.

Leaders of the separatist movement and activists of Southern Cameroon’s quest for separation from Cameroon have all sworn to avenge the brutal killings in their land. Though some leaders, such as those grouped under the Southern Cameroon Liberation Council, SCLC have taken moderate stands requesting an investigation into the atrocity, others are urging their fighters in the North West and South West regions to ensure that the government of President Paul Biya and his administration know no rest.  

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Cameroon: Civilians Killed in bloody Attack in North West Region
February 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

Some 22 civilians including 14 children killed in attack per reports

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The Cameroon Anglophone crisis has led to thousands of displaced persons, kidnapped, and others killed
The Cameroon Anglophone crisis has led to thousands of displaced persons, kidnapped, and others killed

Politicians, lawyers, and ordinary civilians continue to express their disgust on the killing of some 22 civilians, including some 14 children and pregnant women, according to media reports. Images of the massacre inundated social media platforms with the reason for the attack still unknown.

The killings took place on February 14, 2020, in the locality of Ntumbo, Donga Mantung Division of the North West Region of Cameroon. Those who carried out the attack has yet to be identified but there has been counter accusations as Cameroon’s security forces accuses separatist forces, and separatist forces in turn accusing government forces.

In a report last year provided by the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRAD, crimes against humanity are presently being committed in Cameroon.

Mimi Meffo understands that it was the “government soldiers” who committed these abuses, and is also offended by the silence of the “government of Yaoundé,” which borders on indifference.

Human rights groups and international organizations have reported deteriorating political, humanitarian, and security conditions as a result of extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, severe deprivations of liberty, and mass displacements of civilian populations.

James Nuna, Head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, for the North West and South West Regions speaking to RFI revealed the circumstances of this human butchery.

“According to information that has been successfully confirmed, twenty-two civilians were killed on the morning of February 14. Armed men have, for an unknown reason, targeted these people. Of the twenty-two victims (…), fourteen were children. And we are led to believe that nine of them were under the age of five. In most cases, they were shot and their bodies were burned in houses which were burned down. We also know that one of the victims, a woman, was pregnant. A second pregnant woman was shot and injured. Fortunately, she is still alive. She has been hospitalized and is in critical condition. Unfortunately, she lost her baby”, said the UN official.

In a statement released Sunday, February 16, 2020, the MRC Party of Prof Maurice Kamto denounced an “organized crime against human procreation and any idea of humanism.”

“The MRC demands that those responsible for the massacres be immediately arrested, tried and sentenced; that these heinous crimes of children, pregnant women and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire will never again be perpetrated by elements of the so-called republican army, a fortiori by various armed groups,” wrote Sosthène Médard Lipot, the secretary National Communication Department.

“The Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon (MRC) strongly condemns this criminal and fatal project, the implementation of which is written in bloody characters, takes shape cynically, and is carried out in a barbaric manner in the English-speaking regions of the North West, and the South West, since, 2016. The MRC sends its condolences to the families of the victims, so hard hit by this tragedy of a national and even global scope.”

Human rights lawyer Félix Agbor Nkongho, who also attributes the killing to the defense forces, demands that “investigations be carried out following this horrible murder, and that the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

“We must open an investigation; it is an obligation with members of civil society, the government, and the opposition. We have to know who did this, and we have to find a solution to this useless war. Civilians are the victims. It’s hard what’s going on between the separatists, and the government,” asks lawyer Felix Agbor Balla.

Politician and former chairman Akere Muna, leader of the “Now” movement,  wonders about the situation: “ How did we get there so that human life lost all its value. We must all seek peace before this country loses its soul.”

In a report last year, CHRDA reported that since the crisis broke out in 2016, more than 200 villages have been partly or completely destroyed, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee while the rate of attacks on villages has increased steadily, usually causing significant damage. Between 450, 000 and 550, 000 people have been displaced as a result of the crisis, representing about 10 percent of the regions’ population, the report read in part. An additional 30, 000 to 35, 000 people have sought asylum in neighboring countries.

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Lawyers on Demand: Changing the Way Legal Work is Done in Africa by Playing the “Scale Game”
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

African legal clients are demanding a practice model that is swift, cost-effective and transparent

By Glenda Irvine-Smith*

Glenda Irvine-Smith
Glenda Irvine-Smith

According to the Director of Business Development & International Relations at Centurion Law Group (https://CenturionLG.com/), and Key Coordinator of the firm’s unique Centurion Plus model, Glenda Irvine-Smith the demand for “agile” local lawyers has risen significantly on the African continent. This is why Centurion has developed its Centurion Plus platform to respond to this need.

Despite numerous global and regional challenges, investment in Africa is predicted to grow in 2020; with African M&A values in 2019 valued at around $13 billion in total, there is a lot to play for on the continent.

To take advantage of this positive investment climate, investors must form close working relationships with the best legal counsel, as well as due diligence experts and local advisors on the ground in Africa, who have specialist knowledge and understanding of the particular commercial challenges within their investment locations.

Investors in Africa must also consider geo-political and economic uncertainty on the continent as well as a plethora of country and region-specific governance, compliance and regulatory challenges when investing in the region.

In order to close deals on the continent, investors need access to the right information and data. The success of a transaction depends on having real knowledge instead of relying on market perception.

Furthermore, investors can never assume one country is the same as any other in Africa. Even if they are geographical neighbours, each country is vastly different to the next. The legal systems in many countries are also changing rapidly, stemming from a desire to encourage foreign investment, but also out of a need to protect the rights and resources of a country and its people.

This is why in Africa, the demand for “agile” local lawyers has risen significantly: African legal clients are demanding a practice model that is swift, cost-effective and transparent. With a cost model that is scaled to the client’s needs and a service model that is tailored to the job. Clients are also looking for non-traditional, outside of the box thinking which can seize opportunities in a way that a one-size-fits-all traditional legal approach cannot.

Centurion Law Group has developed its Centurion Plus platform to respond to this need. The firm believes in providing flexible solutions to clients that address mounting workloads and budgetary constraints. Centurion Plus is a platform which provides on-demand-lawyers that can work with clients on site or remotely, on various flexible models such as secondments, special projects, rotational work or flexible support. Clients also get the benefit of expertise at a far more competitive rate that reflects the significantly lower overhead costs of this model.

Not only does this alternative to orthodox law firms, work for clients; it works for lawyers too. It is certainly a growing trend that instead of working at a law firm, working extremely long hours, and having a portion of your earnings going into the owners’ pockets, you can become a freelance lawyer, working on demand.

So many companies have adopted this design thinking model for the delivery of its legal services – by telling lawyers what, when and how they need their work completed.; This has led to the successful implementation of on-demand-services, dramatically reducing lawyers’ time on transactions, while improving the insight, judgement and predictability of outcomes.  Furthermore, “buyers” of legal services are increasingly driven to purchase legal services online, decoupled from traditional institutions, to access quality and convenience without the high costs.

While the concept is not new, this hasn’t been done in the unchartered waters of Africa yet. The challenge for African firms operating platforms like Centurion Plus will revolve around the mindset shift of becoming more process-driven, technology-enabled and delivering quality legal services.

* Glenda Irvine-Smith is the Director of Business Development & International Relations at Centurion Law Group. She is the Key Coordinator of Centurion Plus, where she leverages her network and database of leading African law firms and lawyers to assist large companies with their need to upscale quickly or take on new projects, making use of flexible lawyers and advisors. Glenda has had vast experience in navigating clients accessing Africa through a variety of different models.

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Accor set to expand Ethiopia footprint with management agreement for new Ibis Styles hotel
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Design-Led Economy Property in Addis Ababa to grow group’s presence to five properties countrywide

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, February 13, 2020/ — Accor (Accor.com), a world-leading augmented hospitality group, is expanding its presence in Ethiopia after signing a management agreement to open a new property under its design-led economy brand, Ibis Styles.

In a move that ramps up its ambitious development plans in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Group has partnered with private conglomerate, Yuluch Elyano Trading plc, to operate the 150-key Ibis Styles Addis Ababa, its fifth upcoming property in the capital, with a scheduled opening date of 2023.

Conveniently situated in a secluded location just off the city’s main thoroughfare, Bole Road, 1km from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and close to corporate institutions and embassies, the property will appeal to regional and international business travellers seeking stylish and affordable accommodation.

“Our partnership with Yuluch Elyano Trading provides Accor with an exciting opportunity to showcase the Ibis Styles brand in a market where demand for innovative budget hospitality concepts is being driven by the continent’s booming domestic travel sector,” said Mark Willis, CEO Middle East & Africa for Accor.

“The deal also marks another important step in our African development strategy, growing our Ethiopia pipeline to five properties strong, across a diverse range of targeted brands and strengthening our presence in a region we have earmarked for accelerated expansion.”

Mr. Goitom Girmay, Major Shareholder and CEO, Yuluch Elyano Trading plc, said: “Ethiopia is Africa’s fastest-growing economy, fuelled by significant investments in infrastructure and manufacturing, and visitor numbers to the capital are surging. This calls for high-quality accommodation operated by world-leading hospitality groups and our agreement with Accor to deliver a cutting-edge economy hotel brand in the dynamic capital aims to meet this market need.”

Ibis Styles Addis Ababa will offer 150 rooms, each featuring the brand’s signature Sweet BedTM by ibis concept, which is unrivalled in the economy sector, as well as an all-day dining venue, fitness centre and gym, meeting space options and a car park.

It is expected to become a destination for travellers and families who appreciate trendy boutique-style accommodation with creative and culturally relevant design, modern technology and home comforts. 

The hotel will join Accor’s growing pipeline of properties in Addis Ababa under brands including MGallery, Mercure, Pullman and Mövenpick.

Ibis Styles has already proven a popular concept in other fast-growing African markets including Nairobi in Kenya and Accra in Ghana, with a total of seven properties in operation in the Middle East and Africa and seven more in the pipeline.

Accor’s Africa portfolio currently comprises 159 properties (25,389 keys) with another 58 hotels (13,413 keys) in its development pipeline, growing its presence to 25 diverse brands.

About Accor:
Accor (Accor.com) is a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 4,900 hotels and residences across 110 countries. The Group has been acquiring hospitality expertise for more than 50 years, resulting in an unrivalled portfolio of brands, from luxury to economy, supported by one of the most attractive loyalty programs in the world.

Beyond accommodation, Accor enables new ways to live, work, and play, by blending food and beverage with nightlife, wellbeing, and co-working. It also offers digital solutions that maximize distribution, optimize hotel operations and enhance the customer experience.

Accor is deeply committed to sustainable value creation and plays an active role in giving back to planet and community via its Planet 21 – Acting Here program and the Accor Solidarity endowment fund, which gives disadvantaged groups access to employment through professional training.

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SES’s and Gilat Telecom’s Resilient Network restores connectivity in Africa
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Satellite-based connectivity services provided jointly by the long-term partners enabled internet in the Democratic Republic of Congo to be up and running within just four days from a submarine cable outage

Photo Taken In Democratic Republic Of The Congo, Matadi

LUXEMBOURG CITY, Luxembourg, February 10, 2020/ — High-performance internet connectivity was restored in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) within just four days after the West Africa Cable System (WACS) undersea cable cut, thanks to the combined efforts of Gilat Telecom (Gilat.net) and SES (SES.com), the companies announced today.

The recent cable cuts affected much of Sub-Saharan Africa, causing internet outages and slow speeds. The swift restoration to bring the service back to Gilat Telecom’s DRC customers was achieved by leveraging unparalleled high-throughput, low-latency O3b Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellite capabilities.

“High-throughput, low-latency satellite solutions and applications enabled by SES have proved their reliability and performance, drastically changing the connectivity landscape in the DRC over the past years. It has now been the fifth consecutive year that we are delivering highly reliable seamless services thanks to MEO, reaching underserved and unserved locations where fibre cannot be deployed or has been compromised. This has been revolutionary for the MNOs we serve, who are now able to deploy services that require low latency,” said Dan Zajicek, CEO of Gilat Telecom.

An O3b MEO system customer of SES since 2014, and the first in Africa, Gilat Telecom recently expanded its partnership with SES to provide more bandwidth to rural areas and extend services beyond Kinshasa and Lubumbashi, reaching unserved or underserved Kisangani, Mbuji-Mayi and Bunia, to customers such as Orange DRC. Under the new agreement, Gilat Telecom is using multiple Gbps of bandwidth on the O3b system and is now also adding services via SES’s Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites. The expanded capabilities enabled by SES’s multi-orbit fleet will allow Gilat Telecom to deploy 4G/LTE networks and support cloud computing services, even in the remotest areas of the DRC.

“With the extension of MEO and addition of the GEO-enabled capability, we can now achieve even more, serving the exponentially growing demand in more locations, by seamlessly integrating terrestrial and satellite technologies that effectively complement each other,” Zajicek said.

“Supporting Gilat Telecom’s efforts in extending high-performance connectivity throughout the DRC has been a great privilege for us, and we are proud to have been enabling this transformational endeavour with O3b’s fibre-like connectivity solutions over the past years,” said Carole Kamaitha, Vice President, Sales Africa at SES Networks. “We cannot be more excited to see our longstanding partner and early adopter of O3b MEO growing, while unlocking more and more opportunities for MNOs in the DRC, this time taking advantage of the multi-orbit network that combines the benefits of MEO low-latency with the incredible reach of GEO.”

About SES:
SES (SES.com) has a bold vision to deliver amazing experiences everywhere on earth by distributing the highest quality video content and providing seamless connectivity around the world. As the leader in global content connectivity solutions, SES operates the world’s only multi-orbit constellation of satellites with the unique combination of global coverage and high performance, including the commercially-proven, low-latency Medium Earth Orbit O3b system. By leveraging a vast and intelligent, cloud-enabled network, SES is able to deliver high-quality connectivity solutions anywhere on land, at sea or in the air, and is a trusted partner to the world’s leading telecommunications companies, mobile network operators, governments, connectivity and cloud service providers, broadcasters, video platform operators and content owners. SES’s video network carries over 8,300 channels and has an unparalleled reach of over 355 million households, delivering managed media services for both linear and non-linear content. The company is listed on Paris and Luxembourg stock exchanges (Ticker: SESG). Further information is available at: www.SES.com.

About Gilat Telecom:
Gilat Telecom (Gilat.net) offers satellite and fiber-based connectivity solutions, delivering high quality broadband communication to MNOs, telcos, ISPs, governments, enterprise customers, and organizations in Africa, Asia and South America.

With successful deployments experience globally, the company is known for providing advanced communication infrastructures, as well as for being customer centric, with superior technical support and “out of the box” solutions, that can reach the most remote locations on the planet.

As a technology-driven company, Gilat Telecom utilizes innovative technologies to keep providing its customers with the most cost-effective and advanced connectivity solutions, tailored to each specific customer needs.

Leveraging its extensive knowledge and experience, Gilat Telecom has developed the SD-WAN MAX solution, AI and machine-learning algorithms, with smart traffic management, delivering its customers maximum stability and bandwidth capacity.

*SOURCE SES

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German Based Gambian Singer Release New Single ‘Always there’
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Jarck Boy, Germany-based Gambian reggae-dancehall artiste has release a new song called ‘Always there’ as part of his new Extended Play, EP called Ghetto Defender.

The EP will contain six tracks and so far two tracks have been recorded at Chosan Bi Records. The two tracks are ‘Gambia kankiling’ with a video making waves now in various TV stations and online platforms and ‘always there’

Jarck Boy explained that The ‘Gambia kankiling’ song depicts that Gambians should come together despite our political, religious and tribal difference to move the country forward for the betterment of all.

He added that the second song ‘Always There’ is a love song depict then men’s should always be there for their loves ones like wife, finance and girlfriends.

According to him, the EP will also talks about youths in the ghetto their plights to stardom by inspiring and encouragement them to stand firm to live in a descent life in society.

He promised to release more videos from the EP. “After releasing my new reggae album from FULL100 MUSIC Label, am very   busy in the studio again working on his upcoming EP this year again. 2020 still alive. Jah mission continues to uplift and spread the divine love and unity, watch out for another conscious hit,” he said.

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Gambia’s Afro-pop Sensational artiste Wins Four Awards at WahSahlat Music Awards
February 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Jizzle with his awards

Jizzle, Gambia’s afro-pop singer is the big winner at WahSahlat music Awards Gambia recently at a local hotel.

 Jizzle received four awards; Artist of the Year, Song of the Year for Turn by Turn on his Finally Album, Video of the Year with Nobles for Killer, and Afrofusion Artist of the Year.

The annual WahSahlat music Awards Gambia is usually organised by Brand Plus to reward artistes, producers, video directors and entertainment journalists.

 “I feel good about it, it’s just a great feeling you know. I believe that I got all of those awards because of the hard work and dedication that I put in my music, through-out these years. So I am really honored and send a big thanks to all the fans and supporters that voted and believed in me,” expresses Jizzle.

He continues, “The fans are always there for me making sure that Jizzle is up there. I feel so happy, so blessed. A lot of work will be done for this year and every other year, Man of Every Year, you know.”

After dominating the music scene all year, with Jizzle’s music being heard all over the country, Team Jizzle and Jizzle Kingdom are humbled to get recognition for the hard work that they have put into promoting and marketing the music.”

 Jizzle has been in such great demand that even after his successful stadium show in November; the holidays found him performing all over the country and currently he is on a nation-wide tour. Overjoyed by his awards, he is planning a youth family fun day and concert on April 18th 2020.

It will be day of laughter and music just for the children and their families who make up a large fan base for the artist. Jizzle also congratulates his fellow honorees and beams at the idea that together they are making Gambian music a strong international force representing the people and the culture. Jizzle is really excited about 2020; it will be an excellent year.

Jizzle's Awards

 He has many surprises in store for his fans including his Scorpion Extended Play, EP coming out March 6th. He has been crossing into mainstream markets and is ready to go out into the world and perform for his fans in other places.”

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