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Cameroon:U.S Embassy awards 42 Million FCFA to organizations for health, community development
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos FOFUNG

Ambassador Peter Barlerin (Photo credit: US embassy Yaounde Twitter handle)

U.S. Embassy in Yaounde, political capital of Cameroon on Thursday October 17, awarded over 42 million FCFA to seven Cameroonian organizations working for the development, health, and prosperity of their communities. 

Ambassador Peter Barlerin announced the recipients at a ceremony at the embassy, as one example of the commitment of the United States to its partnership with Cameroon.  This initiative complements much larger-scale U.S. health and humanitarian assistance to Cameroon.

“We know that Cameroonians are the ones best able to bring sustainable solutions to the challenges their country faces,” Ambassador Barlerin said. 

The grants are part of two funds:  The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program, which supports communities showing initiative to invest in their own development and growth, and The Julia Taft Refugee Fund, a fund to support gaps in larger assistance programs for refugees.

This year, six projects will benefit from the Self-Help Program.  They will improve access to clean water, provide classrooms for children, and increase economic opportunities in the Adamaoua, East, South, and Southwest Regions.  In the Self-Help Program, community members agree to provide labor, materials, technical, and/or financial contributions to the project, ensuring a high level of community investment and participation.

In one of the Self-Help projects, a community association will construct modern fish smoking stoves and train people in five villages in the South Region about microcredit and microfinance opportunities.  In another project, a cooperative will disinfect eight water sources and teach people about safe water hygiene in three villages in the East Region.

The Julia Taft Refugee Fund, named after a former Assistant Secretary of State, will help give out-of-camp Central African Republic refugee women in the Adamaoua Region ways to generate income for themselves.

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Rwanda inaugurates an inland port worth 35 million USD
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Kagame (second left) with DP World CEO Bin Sulayem (third) touring Kigali Logistics Platform

Global trade enabler DP World inaugurated  Kigali Logistics Platform, an inland port which targets to link Rwanda to regional ports like Mombasa and Dar es Salaam and ease transportation costs from the coast.

The port was inaugurated on Monday by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and DP World Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.

The facility, which has been operational since September 2018 in test mode, has an annual capacity of 50,000 TEUs. When operating at full capacity, it has the potential to save Rwandan businesses up to US$50 million a year in logistics costs.

Since the commencement of its operations in the Rwandan capital last year, Kigali Logistics Platform management says it has reduced truck-turnaround time which used to be an average of 10-14 days to  three days.

President Paul Kagame lauded the facility and said it is in line with African Continental Free Trade Area that will come into force next year.

“The future of trade and integration on our continent is the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is already in force. Trading will commence in July next year. But trade agreements and economic policies won’t have much impact, without actual infrastructure”, he said

He called on Rwandan business people to make use of the port and expand their businesses even beyond.

“We therefore want to challenge our business people and investors, starting with the industries located in this neighbourhood and from the region and beyond, to make full use of this facility.There is no excuse not to pursue the vast opportunities available to us”, he added

DP World Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said that they want to help Rwanda in its ambitions to establish itself as a key services and trade hub for the region.

He emphasized that their target is not only Rwanda but also other countries in the region that will be using Kigali inland port.

Kigali Logistics Platform serves as a gateway to the heart of Africa, connecting Rwanda to neighbouring countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The facility will also access the port of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, securing two trade gateways to the sea.

The railway from Mombasa port in Kenya will pass through Uganda to Rwanda and also the railway from Dar Es Salaam to Kigali is under construction and will have its final cargo rail siding located at Kigali Logistics Platform.

Linking railways to the Kigali Logistics Platform has the potential to dramatically reduce logistics costs for exports and imports via international gateways on the coast.

At present it costs three times more to transport a container from Kigali to Dar Es Salaam as it does to transport the same container from Dar Es Salaam to Shanghai.

This  $35 million project spans over 130,000 square metres, including a 12,000 square metre container yard and a 19,600 square metre warehousing facility.

DP World will be managing this port for 25 years, and after Rwanda Government will take over.

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Nigeria Gov’t Pledges Full Support All Africa Music Awards
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Federal Government of Nigeria has promised its full support for the successful hosting of the 2019 All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), as the country prepares to host the glamorous event in Lagos 20-23 November 2019, with the theme: ”Feel Africa”.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the promise in a statement in Lagos on Sunday. The statement on 20th October, 2019 was signed by Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant To The President (Media) Office of The Minister of Information and Culture Lagos said: “When you look at the All Africa Music Awards, it’s one of the biggest awards for the music industry in Africa, and what government has done in the past is to provide the enabling environment for the awards to take place”

”We provided support services for AFRIMA, we gave them the backing they need and I think it’s on record that the AFRIMA editions that have been held in Nigeria have been among the most successful.

”This year again, we are ready to partner AFRIMA professionally, give them the maximum support such as effective media coverage and also help them in reaching out to other critical stakeholders,” the Minister said.

He said part of the reasons why Nigeria has successfully hosted the music awards is because the country has relaxed its visa regime, with the visa on arrival policy, thus making it easier for people to come in.

AFRIMA, which was first held in 2014, was established in collaboration with the African Union (AU) to reward and celebrate musical talents and creativity in Africa as well as to promote African Cultural Heritage.

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Pan African Human Rights Forum Underway in Banjul
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

The 65th Ordinary Session of The African Commission on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) has kickoff in Banjul on Monday 21st October, 2019 at Kairaba Beach Hotel.

ACHPR on 21st October- 10 November, 2019 has brought together state parties, civil society member and human right defenders across the world to discuss on human rights and development across Africa. It is been held under the theme: “The year of refugees, returnees and internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to forced Displacement in Africa”

Hon. Justice Sylvain Ore, President of the African Court on Human and People’s Right said there can be no sustainable peace without efficient justice and that without sustainable peace development will be inevitably compromised.

He pointed out that this statement is more or less the official slogan of the African Union, whose Agenda 2063 includes peace and human rights as conditions for the realization of the social-economic and infrastructural development of the continent, its citizens.

He stated that in situation of refugees in Africa is a consequence of constant conflicts, adding that African should focus more on the causes of the conflicts and the most efficient ways of resolving them.

According to him, humanitarian crises and the incessant flow of refugees in Africa are mainly due to conflicts caused by serious and massive violations of human rights, the resultant of injustice or justice denied or wrongly applied.

Hon. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs African Union Commission explained that in 2015 African head of State and government adopted Agenda 2063 as the continental’s development blueprint for the next 50 years.

She pointed out that this aspiration puts emphasis on the need to build a culture of human rights as one of the durable ways of realizing a united prosperous and peaceful Africa.

“Our gathering here today is evidence of our collective dedication and commitment to this vision and the union’s broader efforts towards the Africa We Want”

She added that: “As we proceed with the implementation of the process of Agenda 2063, we must admit the challenges faced by our beloved continent in the promotion and protection of human and people’s rights, this requires us to focus our eyes on how best to advance rights that address underdevelopment, poverty, inequality, marginalization and exclusion on our continent as we make concerted efforts towards effective implementation of Agenda 2063”.

She stressed that they have to redouble their efforts to ensure that Africans enjoy the right to food, water, sanitation, housing, education, heath, decent clothing and clean environment.

Mr. Mahamane Cisse-Gouro, Chief Africa Branch of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out that this gathering is an opportunity to reflects on the achievements and challenges that continue to face since the adaptation of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa 50 years ago and the African Union Convention on Internally Displaced Persons (the Kampala Convention) in 2009.

He noted that these landmarks instruments adopted to address the situation of refugees, returnees and internal displaced persons in Africa are not adhering to by many state parties.

He lamented that refugees and migrants have increasingly become the target of violence and harassment, they are rejected, persecuted and treated like criminals and many migrants live and work in situations of extreme vulnerability.

Cisse-Gouro, pointed out that those in irregular situation are unable to access shelter, healthcare, education or other basic services.

Declaring the session open Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Gambia said this session is extremely important for the Africa continent to discuss human rights issues highlight the progress been made and challenges for building Africa we want for present and  future.

She said the increase of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons continues to be great concerns as African as situation of millions of people as IDPs from within and outside their territories continues to be manifested yearly on the continent.

“On result conflicts in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Mali and Cameroon pose serious challenges on the continent,”

She stressed that African as a continent needs to address the deep rooted of the conflicts and finds a durable solutions for them so that citizens can live in dignity.

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Airtel Africa announces partnership with Ecobank Group to allow Airtel Money customers to improve their access to mobile financial services
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
The partnership will also allow Ecobank corporate account holders to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into Airtel Money customer wallets
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 21, 2019/ — Airtel Africa (Airtel.Africa), a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 14 countries across Africa, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”) (Ecobank.com), the parent company of Ecobank the leading pan-African banking group operating in 33 countries, have signed a partnership which will allows millions of Airtel Money and Ecobank customers across Africa to improve their access to mobile financial services and carry out a variety of mobile transactions.

This partnership, which is subject to regulatory approval in each market, will enable Airtel Money customers, through Ecobank’s digital financial services ecosystem, make online deposits and withdrawals, effect real time domestic and international money transfers, make in-store merchant payments, and access loans and savings products amongst others.

The partnership will also allow Ecobank corporate account holders to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into Airtel Money customer wallets. Additionally, Ecobank will be able to sponsor Airtel Money to issue both virtual and physical debit and pre-paid cards to Airtel Money customers.

Raghunath Mandava, CEO for Airtel Africa, said: “This partnership is a further demonstration of Airtel Africa’s commitment to provide affordable, simple and innovative solutions for our consumers across Africa. We will continue to offer locally relevant M-Commerce solutions with partners like Ecobank in order to enhance the daily lives of our customers.”

Ecobank Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi, commented: “We believe that financial inclusion can ultimately contribute to economic development, collaborating with major telecommunications providers in Africa is therefore a key strategic driver towards closing the gap between the banked and the underbanked. Hence this partnership with Airtel Africa which makes Ecobank financial services available to any Airtel line registered on Airtel Money, in our markets where regulatory approvals are in place. This potential extensive reach will further provide convenience to customers, intra-country and particularly for cross-border transactions and remittances across Africa.”
About Airtel Africa:
Airtel Africa (LSE: AAF; NSE: AIRTELAFRI) (Airtel.Africa) is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. Airtel Africa offers an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally. The Group aims to continue providing a simple and intuitive customer experience through streamlined customer journeys.

About Ecobank Group:
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1986, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has banking subsidiaries in 33 African countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group also has a banking license in Paris-France and representative offices  in Addis Ababa- Ethiopia, Johannesburg – South Africa, Dubai – United Arab Emirates, London – UK and Beijing – China. The Group is owned by more than 600,000 local and international institutional and individual shareholders. The Group employs over 16,000 people in 40 different countries. It provides consumer, commercial banking, corporate and investment banking, and securities, wealth and asset management to about 20 million customers, ranging from individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, regional and multinational corporations, financial institutions, international organisations and governments via over 800 branches and offices, 2,000 ATMs, the internet (Ecobank.com), and mobile banking. ETI is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchanges in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan.
*Distributed by APO
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Paradise Game, a Major Player in the Video Game Industry in Africa is Launching the Feja 3, the Esports and Video Games Rendez-Vous in Africa
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
This Third Edition Is Putting An Emphasis On The Ecosystem To Put In Place To Support Video Game Creation In Africa
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 21, 2019/ — For the 3rd consecutive year, Abidjan will welcome from November 22nd to 24th, the Electronic and Video Game Festival of Abidjan (FEJA) at COSMOS YOPOUGON. Hosted by Paradise Game and made possible by Orange Cote d’Ivoire, this event offers a unique experience to gamers and regional video game industry players.

FEJA 3, A new step. This year the esports tournaments will be open to every African citizen and every person living in Africa without having to go through qualifiers. Every African gamer would be allowed to participate in the major FEJA tournaments (Fifa, Pes, Street fighter, Tekken, Fortnite) and all the « side events » (Clash Royale, Mortal Kombat, Naruto, DBZ, COD, etc.). Registration for the tournaments started on October 17th on the website www.FEJA.ci.

After successfully attracting video game lovers and professionals from 10 countries the two previous editions, 12 African countries are targeted this year.

With more than 5000 sqm dedicated to the event, the participants of the festival will enjoy a rich program with esports tournaments (Football, Versus fighting, Mobile Games), conferences and workshops, exhibitions, and entertainment.

Through this third edition, Paradise Game intends to promote the opportunities that video games 100% Made in Africa could provide for the continent. Discussions and panels will revolve around the ideal ecosystem to put in place for the continent. In that perspective, FEJA is broadening its reach to development partners in the video game field and look closely at the content creation and to setting up video game studios. Industry players will share their experience during Workshops. 

Sidick Bakayoko, Founder and CEO de Paradise Game, producer of the event declared:

« Video Games could help create 200 000 jobs in Africa in the upcoming 5 years. It is then key to establish a sustainable industry based on strong local players, experienced international partners and engaged governments. An ecosystem promoting video game creation would allow more game studios which would mean more more jobs created. »

Key Information on FEJA 3: 
Dates: November 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2019
Venue: Cosmos Yopougon – Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 9am to 8pm

About Paradise Game:
Paradise Game (ParadiseGame.net)  is a beacon for esports and video games in Africa. Paradise Game is a company based in Côte d’Ivoire that organizes esport events, manages video game centers and that creates gaming and eLearning content. With its ambition to transform the video game industry, Paradise Game became one the leading esport and video game player in Africa. With more than 120 000 video game fans across 10 african countries, an active online community across social networks and the website, as well as a 1200 sqm game center with more than 3 000 visitors per day. Paradise Game envisions to create the biggest gaming community in Africa and provide them with unique events, state of the art video game centers, and multimedia content (entertainment, e- Learning, etc.) 

Paradise Game initiated the first major gaming and esport festival in Africa, the FEJA (Electronic and esports Festival of Abidjan – www.FEJA.ci), but also a TV show named Paradise Game Show that showcased local industry players. Paradise Game is now promoting video games « made-in-Africa » for the local and the international market using the « Africa Corner by Paradise Game » during Paris Games Week.  

About Orange Cote d’ivoire:
Orange Côte d’Ivoire, leading mobile telecom operator in Côte d’Ivoire with more than 14 000 000 clients, is a company that makes it a point to provide quality service to its clients. Orange offers landline and mobile services as well as internet to both the general public and companies.
*SOURCE : Paradise Game/APO
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KnowBe4 Africa goes continental with Cyber Security Africa
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 21, 2019/ — KnowBe4 Africa (www.KnowBe4.com) is proud to announce that we are partnering with Cyber Security Africa as our African distributor. KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa and offer a necessary solution to the threat of cybercrime in growing economies.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Cape Town, African business owners flagged cybersecurity as the biggest threat to a successful operation, with 94% of companies in Africa and the Middle East experiencing a cyberattack in the past year.

Stronger together

The distribution agreement between KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa will allow for relationship building as well as provide local support on the ground for channel partners and end users. Considering the rapid rate of digital transformation in African countries, it’s vital that employees develop a security culture that will benefit them both personally and professionally.

Cyber Security Africa was the top choice as a continental distributor and has quickly established itself as an industry-leading Value-Added Distributor with a single-minded focus – the mitigation of information security risk for their clients. They focus their attention on niche, generally complex and certainly relevant security solutions that can utilized by organisations of all sizes and sectors. Lead by Martin Britz, Cyber Security Africa prides itself on being small enough to remain agile and large enough to apply a dedicated approach to each client experience. For this new venture, Martin is assisting in the North and Central African regions. Gayle Britz will serve as the KnowBe4 champion and care for the SADC region. She guides a highly experienced team that includes Femi Ibine in West Africa, Susan Ndungu and Gladys in East Africa along with Andrew Ajuchi in Nigeria. Together, the Cyber Security Africa team will be able to provide support to business in close to 20 countries across the continent.

Cyber Security Africa founder, Martin Britz, believes great things are on the horizon for the fledgling partnership. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our keen understanding of this ever-evolving cybersecurity industry, with all its technologies, innovations, threats and solutions, positions us as “future-proof” to clients, while maintaining availability to attend to their more immediate needs. The offering from KnowBe4 Africa is unique and it’s exciting to be able to offer local training content that will have big benefits for African businesses.”

Transforming security culture


At the heart of this partnership is an authentic desire to empower and protect the greatest assets of any business: its people. Both KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa focus on minimizing cyber risk for clients by educating their employees on how to spot threats like phishing, social engineering and training them with general information security practices. This fortifies the clients’ cybersecurity posture, saving them time and money while also drastically reducing the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.

Anna Collard, managing director of KnowBe4 Africa firmly believes in securing a human firewall and creating a culture of security awareness in the digital age. “The human factor has become very important to the security of the organisation. People need to understand that if they use technology, they have to be cognisant of the risks. Organisations can support this understanding by investing in training that’s relevant, targeted and memorable. Training that can sustainably transform the company’s security culture.”

Whether it’s an SME, a healthcare institution or even a manufacturing business, there’s no doubt that all organisations will come to understand the importance of security awareness training. We certainly know that Africa is ready to make smarter security decisions, every day.
*Distributed by APO
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Patrick Njoroge wins Africa’s best Central Bank Governor Award
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Central Bank Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge. Photo credit Standard Media

Kenya’s Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge has won the 2019 Global Markets Award recognizing him the as best governor in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He was feted for successfully leading the demonetization of the old 1000 notes without affecting the country’s economy. The process of doing away with the old notes began in June and ended on October 1 in a bid to tame illicit financial flow, terrorism financing and money laundering. The event was held on the sidelines of World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington DC.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Njoroge dedicated the award to the African youths whom he said need opportunities to grow.

“I would, therefore, want to dedicate this award to the youth of Africa who obviously need a lot more opportunities and which our actions collectively will provide for their benefits,” said Njoroge.

The award ceremony was preceded by the Global Capital meetings where the applicants were given forum to present the achievements of their companies in the last one year and the editorial panel settled on Governor Njoroge.

“Some 120 pitches were heard in total and all contained stories of excellence. An editorial panel then decided the winners of the awards. As ever, we were looking for the stories of innovation, going the extra mile for clients and industry advocacy that have powered the improvement of the global derivatives markets,” stated the Global Markets statement.

The Kenya’s governor won the award for the first time in 2016 for controlling inflation and cleaning up Kenya’s banking sector whereas the 2018 award was scooped by Nigeria’s Central Governor Godwin Emefiele for promoting economic stability, boosting investors’ confidence, promoting inward capital inflow and inventing long term solutions to curb inflation.

He took the office in 2015 and his tenure was to end three months ago before Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta extended his term for four years.

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Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc. CEO praises Ayuk’s New Book with a call for greater dialogue and solutions to protect African energy and natural resources infrastructure
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
C. Derek Campbell
The entire book has practical ideas for strategically harnessing Africa’s oil and gas resources in a manner that is attractive to investors and beneficial to the citizenry of Africa
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, October 21, 2019/ — In his new book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, leading African energy attorney, NJ Ayuk, maintains that Africans have the power to reverse the so-called “resource curse” and use their continent’s petroleum resources to fuel positive changes—but only if they address unresolved security issues.

“African countries simply must do more to address political and civil discontent in areas where oil and gas producers are active,” Ayuk writes in chapter 15 of Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals. “If they don’t, they will run the risk of alienating investors and losing access to funds.” Energy security – the protection of critical energy infrastructure and natural resource assets – plays a vital and dynamic role in assuring the optimization and monetization of these operations.

The African Energy Chamber, led by Ayuk, calls on African governments and oil companies to do more to protect the energy and natural resource infrastructure in Africa. Oil and gas infrastructure is quickly becoming a principal target for terrorists, rogue organizations, hostile state and non-state actors, and criminal enterprises across the continent, as we see in the Middle East.

Attacks on energy infrastructure and natural resource assets in Africa’s major oil-producing countries have far too long been the norm. In Nigeria, onshore and offshore vandal and terror attacks against oil and gas operating facilities have been ongoing. Physical attacks against oil and gas workers by Islamist insurgents in northern Mozambique pose threats to Mozambique’s LNG ambitions. Angola’s Sonangol recently suffered a crippling ransom ware cyber-attack. Kenya has suffered the disruption of oil production and oil transport due to terrorist and vandal attacks in its western region. Algeria was victim of a direct physical attack against one of its major gas processing facilities. Ayuk urges the deployment of proper “best-in-class” security solutions to ensure greater project success for the stakeholders who operate and maintain Africa’s energy and natural resource assets.

Ayuk’s stance has earned the praise of C. Derek Campbell, CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc., a U.S.-based company that offers physical, cyber, and technical security solutions for oil and gas operators across the globe, with specific concentration and expertise in the African energy and natural resource market.

Campbell lauds Ayuk’s insistence that African governments look for ways to work with businesses to employ best-in-class security protocols so that both the public and the private sector can benefit from oil and gas development. “Africa’s energy producers can’t afford to ignore security,” Campbell said. “Governments have just as much of a stake as C-Suite executives do in finding ways to address security issues that lead to chaos, violence and disorder – they must join forces NOW.  If they do so, the energy opportunities on the continent become attractive to investors, and are given a chance to flourish for the benefit of all Africans.”

Ayuk has plenty to say about what might constitute “big, pragmatic, common-sense solutions” to security problems in his chapter about security concerns – to include direct inputs from Campbell. In fact, the entire book has practical ideas for strategically harnessing Africa’s oil and gas resources in a manner that is attractive to investors and beneficial to the citizenry of Africa.

“Everyone who has an interest in seeing Africa move in a positive direction should read this book,” said Campbell. “Mr. Ayuk doesn’t just lament Africa’s difficulties and throw up his hands. He looks for answers – answers that are executable and sustainable across the entire energy value chain.”

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group (https://CenturionLG.com); Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org); and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017). He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

C. Derek Campbell is the founder and CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc. (https://enr-security.com) – an international security conglomerate providing “best-in-class” physical, cyber, and technical risk mitigation solutions for Critical Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resource assets across the globe, with specific concentration in Africa. Derek is a regular on the international Oil & Gas/Energy speaking circuit speaking as an authority on topics such as Energy Security and the Extractive Industry geo-political and market dynamics in Africa.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy will be published this month and is already available on Amazon.
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Cameroon utility company loses 8Billion FCFA to country’s simmering separatist crisis
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Eneo General Manager, Joël Nana Kontchou (left) with Cameroon’s Minister of Employment and Vocational Training in Douala (credits: eneocameroon.cm)

Cameroonian utility company, Eneo has announced a FCFA 8 billion loss on sales due to the simmering separatist crisis that has rocked the English-speaking regions for three years now.

The losses were incurred following the impossibility for the company to effectively do business in the two restive regions. Eneo thus joins the list of companies to be affected by secessionist war of independence in the Northwest and Southwest regions.

The most affected of these companies is Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC), the second-largest employer in the country after the public service. CDC, which disappeared from the country’s banana exporters’ registry since September 2018, officially recorded a XAF32 billion loss on its banana segment in 2018.

In the telecom sector, apart from destroying equipment, for three years now, the pro-independents have been jeopardizing MTN Cameroon’s 60% market share in the Anglophone region. In the cement sector, Dangote Cement Cameroon announced a 7.1% drop in its sales in H1, 2019 because of the troubling situation in the two regions

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Please Hold Your Horses…A word of caution about the dismissal of the African Union permanent representative to the United States of America.
October 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ed. DUCHE

Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao

The African diaspora in the United States of America and around the world is riled up in controversy following the dismissal of the African Union Head of Mission to U.S.,  Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao by the African Union Commission Chairman  Moussa Farki Mahamat.

A petition on the popular site ww.change.org  initiated by Professor Apollos Okwuchi Nwauwa
Secretary of the African Diaspora Congress to “Reinstate African Union Ambassador Chihombori-Quao” on Sunday, October 20, 2019 has garnered approximatively 60,000 signatures in counting. The petition reads as follow:

“…Dr. Arikana has been outspoken about neo-colonial maneuverings and exploitation that still exist today. Her dissemination of the truth has garnered her attention and support around the world… However, not everyone is embracing her bold but honest discourses for effecting change for the betterment of Africa.  On October 7th, 2019, Ambassador Quao was relieved of her position as the “Permanent Ambassador” in a unilateral decision made by the African Union Commission Chairman without any hearing or explanation, and yet presented as representing the opinions of all 55 countries. The questions are: why was she dismissed, or better, who benefits from her removal? Were African heads of states and governments consulted? Who called the shot? Or is Africa, and peoples of African descent, still facing the debilitating effects of modern colonialism or neocolonialism? Leadership based on self-interest and preservation that does not benefit the people they serve is no longer acceptable…[1]

An cnn.com article, authored by Bukola Adebayo, dated October 16th  2019 and titled “AU faces backlash after terminating ambassador’s appointment[2], the authorstated that  on October 7th, 2019, A.U. Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat relieved the Ambassador from her position in line with the commission’s rules, and suggested that the dismissal was due to her “strong views on France’s occupation and hold over its former African colonies, which she shared publicly[3]”. The assertion is that the firing occurred under direct pression from the French Government. Apparently this is also Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao  narrative and argument in pushing back on her dismissal and in making a case directly to the diaspora in support of her reinstatement as  the continental organization permanent representative to the United States of America.

Believing that Ambassador Dr. Arikanna Chihombori-Quao was fired over her criticism of the French and their colonial practices in Africa, several preeminent members in the African American community, the Diaspora and International leaders,  appalled by the A.U. action, are adamantly criticizing the leadership of the African Union and calling in to question the independence of African countries vis-á-vis their former colonial power. The situation is rapidly degrading and becoming another public opinion nightmare for the A.U. commission and its leadership. In the U.S. and especially in Washington DC, Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao appears to be  another “victim”  of a stand against colonialism.  Many are expressing outrage on her behalf and throwing their support  behind her  in pressuring  the A.U Commissioner to  give her  the job back.

The office of AU Chair Faki issued a statement saying the change was customary diplomatic practice.Photo credit Twitter

Looking at the way the situation is unfolding, the mastery  in display, the activism deployed and the narrative peddled by the Ambassador’s supporters, It is of a paramount importance to exercise caution in embracing the situation as painted, and restraint from jumping to conclusions.   Indeed, a closer look reveals that   there may be a lot more to the story than what we have so far read on social media and in news stories.

Curiously, for all the communication that has been selectively leaked both from the AU to Ambassador Chihombori and from her to the AU, there is no mention of the existence of a damning audit report about the Ambassador’s tenure. Is this just an oversight, or a deliberate attempt to peddle a narrative that favors one party as the victim and hero, while labeling the other as the villain? Indeed, on August, 22nd  2019, an investigation into Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao governance of the A.U., mission in Washington DC for the period of September 2016 to February 2019 was submitted to the chairperson of the Commission.

The subject of the investigation report is “Alleged violation of Procurement Procedures, Abuse of Authority/Misuse of Office and Conflict of interest[4]  and the transmittal letter reads in its entirety as follows: 

“The investigation is based on the allegation by a whistleblower that the Head of Mission (HOM) Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao has been violating AU procurement rules by single sourcing contracts, bid splitting to circumvent procurement procedures, receiving three quotation from the same bidder to create the semblance of legality and also failure to submit bids above the threshold of $50,000 to the headquarter Tender Board for approval. It is also alleged that Ambassador Quao misapplied funds earmarked for other activities to Miss AU Pageant, the AU Diaspora retreat and the African Diaspora Youth League summit without approval from the AUC Chairperson…” the report continues, “…Furthermore, Ambassador Quao is alleged to abuse authority/misused of office and also involved in conflict of interest issues with the African Union-African Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI) is registered as her private organization and the “Wakanda One” project. The AU-ADHI is registered under her name as a private citizen and currently being funded by AU as political sub division of the African Union approved initiative established for the purpose of galvanizing the African Diaspora to participate in the development of Africa as stated in an Agreement signed by her with a Washington DC based Attorney”.

The investigation report was very damning to Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao. It described in detail a stream of procurement violations, misuse of public funding as well as instance of conflict of interests in details and concluded by ascertaining the veracity of the whistleblower allegations and recommended sanctions against the Ambassador.

For example the audit reported that  “$181,204  Miss AU pageant cost was a misapplied funds earmarked to other activities…”   “Ambassador Dr Quao cancelled the MOU with Newdesk Media and single source the contract for the production of the Magazine -invest in Africa- to AMIP family business at the cost of $60,000 USD[5]”, “Dr.Quao single-sourced the production of the 2017 Calendars to 5 Star Eventz  for $9,583 meanwhile the 2019 Calendars were printed for $3,600 following a Request for Quotation initiated by the Finance Officer...” Moreover, the Ambassador has “registered associations in her own name that are being funded using AU resources” thereby creating a blatant conflict of interest. Two companies “Homestrings and Global Political Solutions were single-sourced and awarded a contract without the knowledge of the Finance and Administrative Officer…”

As one reads the investigation report, it becomes clear that there is a lot more to the history about why the Ambassador was fired. It is now obvious that one should exercise caution, wonder, ponder, and hold the horse, before jumping too quickly into the bandwagon of an emotionally driven narrative on the news. The anti-colonialist narrative for being the reason for the Ambassador’s dismissal has “muddied” the water.  The conclusion   that the Ambassador was relieved of her duty due to her stand and denunciation of the French colonial engagement in Africa is questionable in light of the damning audit report.

 It is well known that French colonial engagement is an issue, many people have spoken and continue to speak against it both in Africa and in the diaspora. Leaders like President Paul Kagame who have lashed out at the French are some of the most admired, and influential people in Africa and beyond. While we may not completely rule out that veracity of the allegation  from Arikana’s partisans on the French influence in forcing her out, we must put everything in context, evaluate all the factors and circumstances before jumping into conclusions .

Ambassador Chihombori Arikana with AU Chair Moussa Faki, Dean of Elliot School of International Affairs Reuben Brigety and former Tanzanian Ambassador to the USA Liberata Mulamula . The tenure of Ambassador saw more vibrancy on African issues in Washington. Photo Credit Elliot School

This opinion piece is essentially a cautionary advice to not let the situation spin out of control and in the process cast a discredit of the AU Commission as well as in damaging the Diaspora judgment. It is understandable and counter intuitive for many not be outraged in light of what appears to be an injustice perpetrated against Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao  especially when she performed admirably  well and above expectation on  her duties in Washington DC.  However we can’t overlook the facts in the Audit report and if history teaches, let’s then remember lesson learned from high profile cases of rush to judgment, public response that followed suit and ultimately  jury conclusion.

As the AU spokesperson Ebba Kalondo said in statement, diplomatic transfers and changes are standard practice. In the USA for instance, it is hard to see an Ambassador spend four years in the same duty post.  While emotions may be charged, it would be good if the diaspora could channel this energy into more useful initiatives. It could be to lobby for projects to Africa, raise funds to support development initiatives, use its clout to build useful networks and more. For all she did and that the AU acknowledges , the Mission to the USA did not start with Ambassador, nor will it end with her. The diaspora should build on her successes and ensure that the momentum she has created is built upon or sustained by her successor for the greater good of Africa. After all, not many in the diaspora knew Ambassador Arikana Chihombori prior to her appointment and not many probably knew she would perform well. I am sure she will be the last person interested in seeing the work she did go up in flames or to see the mission she led destroyed because she was relieved as Ambassador.

For Ambassador Arikana Chihombori, there is still more for her to do out there. It will be good if she can rein in her partisans by letting them understand that, the services we render to mother Africa are beyond any one individual. There are people in the diaspora and specifically in the Washington, DC metro area who have spent a lifetime fighting for African causes without fuse, and without expectations. Some of them actually worked with Ambassador Arikana, just as they worked with her predecessor and will hopefully work with her successor. Just like someone ran and handed the baton to Ambassador Chihombori, she too has done her own running and should pass the baton to another person in peace for the task of moving Africa is like a relay race , where it will take the efforts of many, infact effort from all Africans and its diaspora for sustained progress to be made.


[1] https://www.change.org/p/african-leaders-and-presidents-reinstate-african-union-ambassador-chihombori-quao

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/16/africa/petition-over-sacking-of-au-ambassador/index.html

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/16/africa/petition-over-sacking-of-au-ambassador/index.html

[4] AU inter office Memorandum from the Director of Internal Audit to the Chairperson of the Commission

[5] AU inter office Memorandum from the Director of Internal Audit to the Chairperson of the Commission

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Africa and globetrotting leaders: Cause for Optimism or Concern
October 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

You have to engage people. If you don’t travel how do you engage them (donors)?” Former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi (2003)

After a long day which started as early as 4 am, I returned home around 7 pm. Just as is the case with many neighbourhoods in Zimbabwe, there was no electricity at home so I turned to my smartphone for some entertainment while preparing my body for sleep. I logged in to my Twitter account and started to catch up on all the latest headlines both local and international. While scrolling down, one tweet did catch my eye; the tweet was about Emerson Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwean President. The tweet stated that by January 2019, just one year and one month after becoming the president, Mnangagwa had embarked on 26 foreign trips! This staggering figure which now stands above the 30 point mark quickly forced me to draw comparisons between the president and his globetrotting predecessor, Robert Mugabe.

President Mnangagwa has clocked more than 30 foreign trips since he took over from Robert Mugabe

When Mnangagwa came into power, he promised that he would usher in a new way of doing business. Simply put, this, therefore, meant that as Mugabe was a globetrotter, Mnangagwa would be the exact opposite, that is, he was going to spend much of his time in the country with his people. With over 30 foreign trips travelled since December 2017, this, however, is not the case. As I was pondering about this issue, I began to remember all the headlines that I have read detailing how most African leaders have a penchant for travelling. I also came to realize that globetrotting is not solely a Zimbabwean ‘problem’ but its an African ‘problem’.

 Cameroonian President Paul Biya is nicknamed an ‘absentee president’ owing to his long stays in Switzerland as opposed to his home country. Last year, Paul Biya held his first cabinet meeting in more than two years. The reason behind the huge lapse in cabinet meetings being down to Biya’s long absence. Paul Biya’s foreign travels have been the subject of an online spat between the state-owned Cameroon Tribune newspaper and the Organised Crime and Corruption  Reporting Project (OCCRP), which calculated the amount of time the president spent abroad using reports from the daily newspaper. Biya is estimated to have spent nearly 60 days out of the country in 2018 alone. In 2006 and in 2009, Biya spent a third of the year abroad.

Switzerland is the favorite destination of President Paul Biya of Cameroon

In Nigeria, President Buhari is known for his love for the city of London in the UK. Buhari has travelled to London on several occasions since 2015 when he first came into office. The Nigerian president mostly travels to London under the auspices of seeking medical attention. At one point, the president spent three months abroad in which time his deputy Yemi Osinbajo ran the country. According to the New York times, Buhari has “spent more than 170 days in London on official medical leave since becoming president in 2015.”

Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi at one point responded angrily after being asked for the umpteenth time why he was so fond of taking foreign trips instead of trying to solve problems back home. After returning from a three week trip to Asia in 2003, the president received criticism from various circles within the country accusing him of being ‘ignorant’ and wasting the little resources the country had globetrotting. Realizing that the criticism was coming thick and fast showing no signs of ending anytime soon, the president had to call for a press conference where he criticized all critics saying it was of paramount importance that he spends much of his time globetrotting and it was the only way to engage the donors who primarily fund Malawi’s  budget. In his own words, Bakili Muluzi stated “You have to engage people. If you don’t travel how do you engage them?” while critics had a strong case in criticizing the president for his numerous foreign trips, in the case of the country as a whole, Muluzi can be justified for his travels as Malawi for the past two decades has seen donor-funded projects make up over 60 percent of the capital budget each year.

In profiling instances of African leaders who have a penchant for travelling, we can certainly go on and on as many African presidents both current and former are avidly known for loving the fast plane life. As such, besides looking at the obvious, let’s take a moment to examine if globetrotting is of any benefit to African nations or its just an illusion used by African leaders to hoodwink the citizens into believing that they are actually doing something.

The argument that has been used by many African leaders if not all when questioned about their numerous trips abroad is that foreign trips help them to engage and reengage with foreign powers most of whom possess massive influence and power that can be used for the betterment and development of Africa. On the front of engagement and re-engagement, it can be noted that indeed, Africa is now much more connected to the rest of the world in comparison to years gone by. Various leaders of the more powerful states and institutions including the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, IMF and World Bank have visited African nations in an attempt to consolidate and strengthen the ties that exist between them and Africa. This on its own paints a positive picture that indeed, foreign trips embarked upon by African leaders have managed to put Africa on the global map.

However, while still of the front of engagement and re-engagement, it can be noted also that the benefits from the ties between Africa and the rest of the world do not work in a reciprocal manner. Rather, Africa by engaging with the rest of the world has managed to give leeway to foreign powers to exploit Africa while she, on the other hand, has benefited nothing of true value. Most of the deals that have been reached as a result of engagement and re-engagement efforts have seen European powers come to Africa to establish their companies, plundering African resources, polluting the local environment and repatriating the profits back to the headquarters. Employment of the locals and availability of ready-made manufactured goods has been the only benefit to Africa; something that’s insignificant when compared to the benefits enjoyed by foreign powers.

The above therefore clearly shows that the talk of engagement and re-engagement has on the surface appeared as a good thing to Africa but when one takes a deeper look, it’s quite crystal clear that Africa is not benefitting as much as it should from the engagement approach. Earlier on, we stated that Bakili Muluzi supported his globetrotting adventures saying they were the ones responsible for bringing the much-needed finance used to sustain human lives in the country in the form of donor funds. While this is certainly true, what can also be seen is that donor funds have actually made Malawian leaders and the citizenry at large idle, dependent and some would say lazy. This is because instead of looking at ways to use what they have in creating a source of livelihood for the whole nation, the country is now much more concerned with appeasing the foreign powers so that donor funding keeps flowing at all times. The ingenuity of the locals has been suppressed and docility is praised.

For health and leisure, London is the favorite stop for President Buhari pictured here with ADP Chieftain Bola Tinubu while convalescing after medical treatment. Photo credit Channels TV

Moving on, globetrotting leaders have also used trade as one of the main reasons why they embark of numerous foreign trips. African leaders with a penchant for travelling state that they spend most of their time travelling and meeting with their foreign counterparts so that they can improve trade between their nations and other foreign powers. While its indeed true that trade figures between Africa and the rest of the world (Europe, Asian and America) have increased gradually since the 1980s, it’s also true that the increase has largely been necessitated by foreign powers instead of Africa. This is to say that the actions taken by African leaders have had little to insignificant value in terms of paving the way for the increase in trade figures. It is firstly down to Europe, America and Asia’s commitment to producing more products for export that has seen trade figures between Africa and the rest of the world increase. Secondly, it is also as a result of the numerous multinationals operating in  Africa seeking to exploit cheap human labour, relaxed environmental laws and favourable policies and taxes that have seen Africa produce more products for export. Products produced by Africans in Africa for sale in other parts of the world account for only an insignificant portion of export figures. This, therefore, shows that globetrotting African leaders have achieved so little when it comes to real benefits for the home countries.  

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