Call Us Now: (240) 429 2177

countries

African Development Bank launches US$ 2 billion 1.625% Global Benchmark due 16 September 2022
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
AFDB President Adesina

AFDB President Adesina

 

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 13 September 2019 – The African Development Bank, rated Aaa/AAA/AAA (Moody’s/S&P/Fitch, all stable), has launched and priced a US$ 2 billion 3-year Global Benchmark bond due 16 September 2022, its first US$ benchmark of the year.

Launched on September 11, the bond issue is the Bank’s second Global Benchmark of 2019, following a EUR 1 billion 10-year priced in March 2019. With this transaction, the Bank has now raised US$ 4.4 billion in 2019 to date and executed 61% of its borrowing program for the year. The transaction received strong support from investors globally, with order books reaching US$ 2.8 billion and 53 investors participating. The high quality of the order book is illustrated by the strong participation of Central Banks and Official Institutions, taking 64% of the allocations.

The African Development Bank decided to take advantage of favorable investor sentiment post summer break to access the 3-year tenor, in spite of volatile market conditions ahead of the Fed Meeting the following week. The mandate was announced on Tuesday, September 10, at 12:00 London time with Initial Pricing Thoughts of Mid-Swaps + 13 basis points (bps) area.

The transaction met strong interest from the outset, with Indications of Interest in excess of US$ 1.8 billion (excluding Joint-Lead Managers interest) when order books officially opened at 08:00 London time the following morning, with initial price guidance of Mid-Swaps + 13bps area.

Momentum continued throughout the European morning, with orders in excess of US$ 2.5 billion around 11:20 London time. At this time, final pricing was set at Mid-Swaps + 13bps. Following the close of the order book in the US, the size of the transaction was set at US$ 2 billion by 14:20 London time.

The transaction was priced at 16:24 London time with a re-offer yield of 1.679%, equivalent to a spread of 8.75bps vs UST 1.5% 15 September 2022, the issuer’s tightest print vs US Treasuries to date.

 “We are delighted with this successful dollar Global Benchmark, and particularly pleased by both the very high quality of the order book and the solid participation of African Central Banks. The African Development Bank achieved its tightest ever spread to US Treasuries, and we are grateful to our investors across the world for this outcome, and the financing it will bring to the African continent”. Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Group Treasurer, African Development Bank

 

Investor distribution statistics:

         By Geography                                                By Investor Type

 

Transaction details:

Issuer: African Development Bank (“AfDB”)
Issuer rating: Aaa/AAA/AAA (Moody’s/S&P/Fitch)
Amount: US$ 2 billion
Pricing date: 11 September 2019
Settlement date: 18 September  2019
Coupon: 1.625%, Fixed, Semi-Annual 30/360
Maturity date: 16 September 2022
Re-offer price: 99.843%
Re-offer yield: 1.679% Semi-Annual
Re-offer spread: Mid-Swaps + 13bps / UST 1.5% 15 September 2022 + 8.75bps
Joint lead-managers Citi, Daiwa, HSBC, JP Morgan, Société Générale
 ISIN: US00828EEA38

Contact: fundingdesk@afdb.org

*AFDB

0
Read More
Oprah Winfrey Is Looking for African Women Who Are Passionate About Public Service
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Lerato Mogoatlhe*

Oprah Winfrey and students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. 2011. Picture credit People Magazine

Oprah Winfrey and students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls.
2011. Picture credit People Magazine

Oprah Winfrey is once again lending her name and influence to help educate and empower more African women.

The mogul — who is fondly known as Mama Oprah in South Africa — announced that the Oprah Winfrey Foundation has launched a fully-funded fellowship aimed at empowering African women who are in public service.

It offers women from African countries the chance to study for free at New York University’s (NYU’s) Wagner graduate school of public service — in the hope of supporting Africa-led solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues.

The African Women’s Public Service Fellowship — a partnership between Winfrey and NYU — will provide full tuition, fees, housing, travel to and from the United States, and a stipend to cover books and other expenses.

The aim of the fellowship is to “expand the opportunity for African women” who want to change public service in their countries,according to the New York University (NYU).

The opportunity isn’t open, however, to applicants who are looking to fund advanced professional certificates and non-degree programmes, NYU highlights.

To qualify, applicants must also be a citizen and resident in an African country; have a strong academic record; and a proven commitment to public service in their country or around the continent.

The fellowship is applicable to study on these programmes at Wagner: Masters of Public Administration (MPA) in Public & Nonprofit Management & Policy; MPS in Health Policy & Management; Master of Urban Planning, and Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) for Public Service Leaders.

Recipients of the fellowship also must commit to returning to their home countries when the programme ends, with the goal of taking on a leadership position in Africa — where they can “meaningfully contribute to the challenges currently confronting Africa,” the university says.

To apply for the opportunity, applicants must send an essay, a one-minute submission video, and fill out this online application form by Dec. 2.

Candidates who make the shortlist will be invited to Skype interviews with the selection committee by mid-February 2020.

The fellowship joins many other education initiatives supported by the Oprah Winfrey Foundation.

Speaking at the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 event that was held in Johannesburg in Dec. 2018, Winfrey said society can change if we all play our part, no matter how small, in helping others.

“I always thought it was because Madiba was a citizen of the world that he really got to see how the power of one leads to the empowering of many,” she said. “He knew when a society is wounded, we all bleed.”

She added: “As Maya Angelou taught me: Your legacy isn’t some big grand gesture that’s waiting to happen, your legacy is every life you touch… I built a school right here in South Africa to help girls become leaders of a new South Africa. Every time one of them succeeds, it is my greatest reward.”

*Source Global Citizen

 

0
Read More
Cameroon: Citizens urged to be involved in peace building process
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants at at the end of the public talk on proposing solutions to the numerous problems in Cameroon

Participants at at the end of the public talk on proposing solutions to the numerous problems in Cameroon

Citizens in Cameroon has been urged to be involved in the peace building exercise and should also learn to be proactive as a means to bringing peace in the country. According to participants, the government cannot do everything on its own. These amongst others were some solutions proposed by participants during a public dialogue which took place September 12, 2019, at Mbouoh Star Palace Hotel in Dschang under the theme “The quest for citizen participation in promoting peace in Cameroon.”

The event was in line with the mission of the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, whose mission is to provide independent, in-depth and insightful policy recommendations that advance the Cameroonian economy, and the economies of other sub-Saharan African countries, in partnership with NEDemocracy

Participants say the release of political prisoners, and all those arrested will help solve the Anglophone crisis

Participants say the release of political prisoners, and all those arrested will help solve the Anglophone crisis

During the discussions, three prominent issues were x-rayed by participants such as: the ongoing Anglophone crisis in the South West and North West Regions, the Boko Haram insurgencies in the North, and the refugee crisis in the East Regions.

Some 80 participants from the public, private and civil society organizations, and others were present to propose solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards the resolutions of the current conflicts it is presently facing.

On the Anglophone crisis, participants indicated that a national inclusive dialogue will go a long way in resolving the present upheavals in the Regions. This call comes at a time when the Head of State has equally acknowledged the Anglophone crisis. In his unprecedented State of the Nation address, the President said there will be a national dialogue at the end of this month which will involve all stakeholders. “The dialogue to be presided over by the prime minister will bring together all Cameroonians, especially traditional rulers, lawmakers, the clergy and all elected officials,” Biya said.

To one participant, “We have to solve the problem by tackling it from the root. There has to be the respect for the fundamental rights of individuals especially those of the Anglophones. They are not respected at all.” “This issue also boils down to the respect of cultural differences-Cameroon being French and English. These two languages and cultures are very different from one another and no one should be seen as superior and forced down on people.”

Another major solution proposed to solve the Anglophone crisis is for the release of political prisoners, and the release of all those arrested in connection to the crisis. This has been one of the calls from the opposition parties and human rights organizations both internally and externally. Many had equally hoped that prior to the head of State’s address all those in prison would be released-something which was not done by the Head of State.

Participants say the elimination of bad governance and corruption will contribute in solving the numerous problems in Cameroon. It is not new in Cameroon that corruption has become pervasive and has affected all sectors of the government, and even the private sector.

Corruption in Cameroon is caused by various issues such as personal interest, favoritism, ineffective system of accountability and others. According to the 2018 Corruption Perception Index reported by Transparency International, Cameroon is the 152 least corrupt nation out of the 175 countries.

With respect to the Boko Haram crisis in the North, and the refugee crisis in the East of Cameroon, participants suggest that before the intervention of the government, citizens should regroup themselves to protect their territories. For years now, the Cameroon military has been battling embers of the Boko Haram sect in the North with casualties in the numbers.

In May 2014, Cameroon declared war on Boko Haram at the Paris Summit. Since then, Boko Haram has intensified its activities in the Far North Region of the country, making Cameroon the second most targeted country, regarding attacks by the sect. From July 2015 to March 2016, Boko Haram carried out more than 50 suicide attacks in Cameroon, killing more than 230 people while wounding 500 others.

 

1+
Read More
Deloitte Africa honoured for efforts towards increasing representation of women
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Johannesburg, 06 September 2019 – Deloitte Africa has been honoured with second place in both the Empowerment of Women in the Community and the Women on Boards categories at this year’s Gender Mainstreaming Awards, held at Gallagher Estate, in Johannesburg, last night.

Managed by Business Engage, these awards aim to encourage private sector buy-in to achieving more meaningful representation of women in the mainstream of business and to serve as a springboard for further achievement for companies that are still starting out on their gender diversity journey.

Deloitte Africa was this year also awarded two further accolades in the individual categories, with the chairman of Deloitte Africa, Trevor Brown, winning the Trailblazer award in the Inclusive Leadership category; and the leader of Diversity and Inclusion for the company’s Africa operations, Eshana Manichand, being named the second place finalist for the Positive Role Model: Management award.

Deloitte Africa was also selected as a finalist for the Mainstreaming Gender and Disability award.

Justine Mazzocco – Managing Director of Talent and Transformation, Deloitte Africa –

says the company is immensely proud to be recognised for its efforts to increase the representation and retention of women on their staff.

“We are working hard to ensure that our talent pool is diverse and reflects the make-up of our society. Operating a diverse and inclusive organisation is also fundamental in this area and we seek to leverage our differences as a strength that makes our organisation better,” Mazzocco says, “Some of the initiatives we’ve implemented include focusing on creating an environment that enables women to achieve their ambitions and embraces generational diversity. To date, we have a record 33% female representation on the Africa board, and a 31% women ownership as of 1 June this year, which further highlights our commitment to elevating women at strategic levels”.

On winning the award for Inclusive Leadership, Brown says, he has always had a natural affiliation towards gender equality, even before it became a corporate imperative.

“Mutual respect and the belief that all people should be treated with dignity must underpin organisational culture,” he says, “The tone at the top, when it comes to gender equality, drives the ethos throughout the organisation. Being intentional about diversity and driving gender equality is of utmost importance to Deloitte, and especially key to me in my leadership role.”

Manichand said of her achievement, “With our global ALL IN strategy we have reinforced our commitment to maintaining an organisation where everyone has an equal opportunity to grow, develop, and succeed; to be their truest selves, both professionally and personally.

She says Deloitte Africa aims to increase the representation and retention of under-represented groups across all levels of the organisation, with a particular focus on women.

“Investing our time, effort and energy in people and witnessing their moment of success is extremely rewarding and purposeful,” she says.

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about to learn more about our global network of member firms.

Deloitte provides audit & assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Deloitte serves four out of five Fortune Global 500® companies through a globally connected network of member firms in more than 150 countries and territories bringing world-class capabilities, insights and service to address clients’ most complex business challenges. To learn more about how Deloitte’s approximately 264,000 professionals make an impact that matters, please connect with us on FacebookLinkedIn or Twitter.

0
Read More
Banishing blinding trachoma in Egypt
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Antibiotics to treat the world’s leading infectious cause of blindness have been delivered to nearly 300,000 people in Egypt.  It was the first mass drug administration (MDA) of its kind in the country for trachoma and is crucial in preventing children and adults from going needlessly blind.  It was delivered by the ministry of health and district level governates, with other organisations such as Sightsavers and other NGOs playing a vital role in distribution and facilitating its success.

Trachoma is an infectious and painful condition, which traps millions of people in a cycle of poverty because they are often unable to work. Over 1.7 million people in Egypt are at risk of trachoma, and a further 11 million live in areas where the disease is endemic, according to surveys taken in 2015.

To tackle the disease, community programmes have raised awareness and understanding of trachoma and how to prevent it, but until now no drugs had been mass distributed.

Egypt has a successful track-record in treating other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). It was the first country in the Eastern Mediterranean to eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (aka elephantiasis) and has made inroads to eliminating Schistosomiasis (snail fever). It is hoped this experience will help the country eliminate trachoma as a public health problem.

Philip Downs, Sightsavers’ Technical Director for NTDs said:

“This is a real milestone for public health in Egypt. Blinding trachoma has been causing suffering in Egypt since the age of the Pharaohs – yet could very soon be banished to the history books if it is made a priority.”

“This is the first time there has been such a large-scale distribution of antibiotics in the country. The Egyptian government, regional governments and other partners, have done a fantastic job to make this happen and proved that collaboration is key to overcoming challenges.

“But it’s important to remember that this is just the first step – more work is needed before Egypt follows in the footsteps of other countries and eliminates trachoma.”

The first trachoma MDA in Egypt happened in Matay, in the Menia region, at the end of July, where nearly 10 per cent of children aged one to nine had symptoms of the disease. Over the course of seven days health workers distributed doses of the antibiotic Zithromax®, donated by Pfizer, to 288,365 people aged six months and up.  Children under seven received their dose in the form of syrup. Teams issued medical advice as well as distributed the antibiotics, and included a nurse and a recorder. The teams went house to house in 24 villages and three suburban areas, travelling across difficult terrain, to villages nestled into the base of mountains, and even visited a Matay prison, where the director of health personally took a dose of the antibiotic in front of prisoners to encourage acceptance.

The 468 health workers also prepared communities for the drug distribution and shared information about trachoma through local media, social media, community leaders, policy makers, faith leaders, and other community organisations.

Dr Ahmed Mousa, Chairman of Nourseen, on the frontline of delivering the programme, said this community engagement was key to the success of the programme as it meant people knew what to expect and why it was important. He added: “The community was very receptive to receiving the drugs and the distribution went smoothly. Health education helps reduce a certain amount, but you need the drug to treat a big slice of the community all at once.”

The treatment programme was delivered by the Egyptian Ministry of Health and district level governates, and was the result of a global collaboration with international organisations including Sightsavers, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Nourseen foundation, KCCO and the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI). Local government and NGOs played a vital role in distribution and facilitating the success of the treatment programme.

For more information about the global drive to eliminate trachoma please visit https://www.sightsavers.org/protecting-sight/ntds/towards-trachoma-elimination/

Ends

For images and/or more information please call 01444 446739 or email Katya Mira at kmira@sightsavers.org

Notes to Editors

  • Funders of the MDA in Egypt are the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population and the Menia governorates in the Matay district, with Zithromax® provided by Pfizer and the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI). The project was made possible through a partnership with Sightsavers, the World Health Organisation, Nourseen Charity Foundation for Community Ophthalmology, Kilimanjaro Centre for Community Ophthalmology (KCCO) and ITI.
  • If momentum continues, trachoma could be just years away from elimination. In 2012 Oman became the first country WHO validated as having eliminated trachoma as a public health problem, followed by Morocco in 2016, then Mexico, Cambodia and Laos in 2017, and most recently Ghana, Iran and Nepal in 2018. China, Togo, The Gambia and Myanmar are also believed to be on the cusp of elimination.

About Sightsavers

Sightsavers is an international organisation that works in more than 30 developing countries to prevent blindness, restore sight and advocate for social inclusion and equal rights for people with disabilities. It is a registered UK charity (Registered charity numbers 207544 and SC038110) www.sightsavers.org

Sightsavers holds Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status, making us one of the only international non-governmental organisations to hold this status in the UK. We conduct high quality research to address global gaps in knowledge and put research findings into practice by feeding them back into the design of our programmes.

There are 36 million blind people in the world; 75% of all blindness can be prevented or cured.

In the six decades since its foundation, Sightsavers has:

  • Supported over 1.1 BILLION treatments for neglected tropical diseases
  • Carried out over 10.2 million operations to restore sight
  • Trained more than 795,427 primary eye care workers
  • Carried out rehabilitation training for 225,954 blind or low vision beneficiaries
  • Supported 62,908 blind or low vision children to gain a school education

0
Read More
Reaching global financial inclusion by 2020 is almost impossible
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ferdinand Maniraguha

Dr Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)

Dr Alfred Hannig, Executive Director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI)

International organizations  have that admitted reaching hundred percent financial inclusion by 2020 is not possible though much has been done since that vision has been set.

At the 2015 World Bank Group-IMF Spring Meetings, they adopted measurable commitments to achieve Universal Financial Access by 2020 and help promote financial inclusion.

In 2011, 2.5 billion people were unbanked according to World Bank. That number reduced to 1.7 billion by 2017.

Dr Alfred Hannig, executive director of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) says that such objective is unlikely to be achieved  on time.

He was speaking Tuesday at a press conference in Kigali, before a two day AFI Global policy forum 2019 program which kicked off this Thursday.

“I believe that this objectives have been quite optimistic , the timeline was very short and from our own experience, we can say that if you talk  about hundred percent inclusion, we need to recognize that this take time”, he said

However, Hannig praised the decision of having set such vision, because it helped to put much efforts into bridging the gap between banked people and unbanked.

“From our point of view, the time that has been given it’s a little bit too short  to achieve. On the other hand, the 2020 objective was also important looking to access to finance. The question is how can we achieve it in a very short time.”

He stressed that global financial inclusion may take up to 2030 to be achieved.

During the opening of  2019 AFI Global policy forum, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

He said that  in Sub-Saharan Africa, over 60% of the population fall below age of 25, most of them are less likely to have a bank account compared to adults.

Bringing youth on board, Dr Ngirente said that financial institutions have to use technology which attract them.

“In this regard, financial literacy could be the starting point in this process since many of the youth have a keen interest in digital channel,  digital financial services accessed  and delivered through their mobile phones, could be the solution to banking them” said Ngirente.

Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

Rwanda’s Prime Minister Dr Edouard Ngirente urged countries to shift their focus on digital finance by bringing youth on the run.

One of the  problems that still hinders financial inclusion,  is a big number of women who are unbanked, because 56% of the unbanked population are women.

Rwanda Central Bank Governor, John Rwangombwa warned that the  SDG 5 will not be achieved if women are excluded financially.

SDG5 on Gender and Equality, aims at bringing to an end all forms of discrimination against women and girls.

“These numbers imply that strong measures must be taken to create a conducive environment, for women to participate and benefit from all development opportunities” he said before adding that “Having access to quality and affordable financial products and services is a foundation to the efforts to promote gender equality.”

AFI says that since 2011 there is a 9 % gender gap in  financial inclusion globally that needs to be bridged.

 

0
Read More
Cameroon: Case against Kamto Postponed to October 8
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

MRC Leader Maurice Kamto has been in prison for some 8 months now.

MRC Leader Maurice Kamto has been in prison for some 8 months now.

The case against Maurice Kamto, leader of the opposition Cameroon Renaissance Movement, CRM party and his political allies, and supporters have been postponed to the 8 of October 2019. Kamto, who was runner-up to the last presidential election, is accused of insurrection, rebellion and could face the death penalty.

On the 28 of January 2019, authorities in Cameroon arrested Maurice kamto and his supporters who had staged a peaceful protest march against the decision from the constitutional council, declaring President Biya as winner of the 2018 Presidential election.

The MRC Party alleges that the presidential election was rigged to favour the incumbent President Paul Biya who have been in power for 36 years. The MRC Leader says he is the winner of the election according to statistics obtained by him.

“While the charges against them were being read, one of them- counselor Christian Penda Ekoka- felt dizzy and I have to tell you what led to this discomfort. This audience was held in a sort of matchbox; forgive my use of the term. The room is very small and poorly ventilated. We were suffocating, and I think this is what led to the discomfort that caused suspension of the hearing,” Kamto’s lawyer, Ntchale Michel said.

Per multiple reports, the court case resumed after the collapsed member was taking to the hospital. The defense lawyers pleaded for the case to be adjourned, which the court did.

Speaking to the Secretary General of the MRC Party Barrister Ndong Christopher said, “We are now waiting for the case in October. His state of mind is clean, he is healthy. There is nothing to fear.”

Antoine Vey, French lawyer for Kamto speaking to AFP said, “There is no justification for Mr Kamto and his supporters to have been incarcerated for eight months in these conditions”, while indicating that “None of them took part in acts of violence, none called for acts of violence or rebellion, there is no reason for their arrest other than a political move.”

Many have reiterated the need for the Anglophone crisis to be resolved while political prisoners, and those arrested in connection to the crisis are freed. “I traveled more than 600 kilometers to attend this trial. For me, it’s a historical trial. We are asking the Biya’s government to do two things, solve the Anglophone crisis and release the political prisoners. This will calm tensions”, psychologist and president of an association for the protection of human rights, Germain Ekwala said.

Human rights groups have denounced the jurisdiction of the military court to try the case. Meantime, Cameroon’s former colonial master France, U.S.A, and the European Union has repeatedly called for the release of the MRC politician.

In March, the U.S Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy told RFI that Cameroon would be “very wise” to release Kamto because his detention is widely perceived as politically motivated.

 

0
Read More
Withdrawal of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame from the World Economic Forum in South Africa Last Week was an Honorable Act for Africa
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By James N. Kariuki

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

Rwandan President Paul Kagame

On Friday last week in one of South Africa’s national newspapers, The Citizen, Ralph Mathekga, usually insightful political analyst, was reported to have rebuked Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame for declining an invitation to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Cape Town.

The issue at hand related to African reaction to the on-going xenophobic attacks on non-South African nationals in SA. In Mathekga’s view, Kagame’s response to the attacks reflected ‘weak leadership’ and lack of ‘political maturity’ in Africa. In assessing the facts realistically, such a conclusion was not only unduly harsh; it was misleading, unjustified and disingenuous.

To begin with, besides Rwanda other African states had voiced grave reservations about attending the WEF under the prevailing circumstances in SA. These included Nigeria, Malawi, the DRC, Zambia and Tanzania.  Kagame was hardly alone. More to the point, he had nothing to do with the causes, spread and execution of the xenophobic carnage and had virtually no influence over its perpetrators.  After all, South Africa is a sovereign nation.  The only avenue available to Kagame was indirect influence via the local South African authorities.

Yet, no utterances were forthcoming from the SA Government officialdom or the organizers of WEF that a plan was underway to stem or alleviate the impact of the savage and senseless attacks on innocent and defenseless fellow Africans. Obviously Kagame felt helpless and frustrated that the WEF seemed to be bent on proceeding as if nothing alarmingly critical was happening in its host country.

Mathekga’s reasoning would have been sound had it proposed that an urgent consultative meeting of African leaders be called by the SA government just before, or along the WEF, to discuss on emergency basis the crisis of the on-going Afrophobia-driven brutality. In the absence of the African Union in the WEF, the obligation to solicit such give-and-take views from other African leaders rested squarely on the shoulders of the host, President Cyril Ramaphosa.  President Kagame was certainly not in a position to summon such a sub-meeting; he was a guest, not the man-in-charge. To repeat ourselves, South Africa is a young sovereign nation and is understandably ultra-sensitive to matters touching its jurisdiction.

By all indications, a give-and-take meeting of African leaders at, or parallel to the WEF, was not forthcoming. Conceivably, President Kagame felt that it would be a betrayal to his personal conscience and the people of Rwanda for him to sit among global leaders to discuss economic issues while innocent fellow Africans around them were being decimated with impunity. Meanwhile, the global leaders would be sitting at the majestic International Convention Center in Cape Town, securely protected by state security forces, possibly oblivious to the woes of the violence outside.

Viewed from this angle, President Kagame’s conscious and deliberate choice to formally exclude himself from Cape Town’s WEF was a carefully considered act of ultimate decency, political maturity, and diplomatic savvy. It was his way of protesting how victimized ‘foreigners’ in SA were being handled virtually indifferently by the country’s officialdom and to inform the victims of Afro-phobia that, “yes, we hear you and we do care. Indeed, you matter to us.”

Such a reaction is truly understandable coming from a leader who, in all likelihood, still encounters occasional sleepless nights, haunted by memories of man’s savagery to fellow man from the ghastly Rwanda Genocide which took place twenty five years ago and senselessly wiped out ten percent of his nation’s population.

It was indeed a misplaced judgment for Mathekga, otherwise a seasoned and compelling political  analyst, to condemn President Kagame for finding it unacceptable to visualize himself sitting in an economic meeting while innocent people outside faced war conditions of life and death.

Seen in this context, President Kagame’s self-imposed ‘exclusion’ from WEF was indeed a dignified and decent diplomatic act to show that he, as a mature and committed African leader, drew the line in the sand to assert  that what was happening in SA at that juncture was far from acceptable. To see this gesture any other way than honorable, verges on blaming the victim.

*James N. Kariuki is a Kenyan Professor of International Relations (Emeritus).  He comments on public issues in various international publications.He runs the blog Global Africa

 

 

 

0
Read More
MenEngage Africa denounces recurring attacks of non-nationals of African descent in South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
 

MenEngage Africa has said that it is of major concern that South Africa continues to be the site of persecution of fellow Africans from other parts of the continent. Cross-border long distance truck drivers transporting goods to, and through, South Africa have been under attack from locals in recent weeks. The economic capital, Johannesburg, came to a stand-still when businesses identified as belonging to non-national Africans were attacked and destroyed, resulting in damage to property, disruption of people’s lives and loss of income. The lives and livelihoods of men, women, children and entire communities who have migrated to South Africa from other African countries for various reasons continue to be in danger on a daily basis – and this needs to end now.

The organisations says that these events have sent shock waves throughout all of Africa, with the global family watching in horror as looting went on with little intervention from the security services. This recurring violence has resulted in mounting anger – and justifiably so. In a number of African countries including Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique, nationals took to the streets to attack South African-owned businesses and trucks in retaliation to the attacks on their countrymen and women in South Africa. But this eye for an eye approach is not helpful. It should not be that violence begets violence. It is dangerous for diplomatic relations across Africa, as it could have untold implications, including for our economic development, peace and security.

“Thus, we are heartened that the African Union Commission and foreign governments have issued strong formal protests to the government of South Africa in response to these continued attacks. It is also good that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced that he was sending a special envoy to express his concerns directly to the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. It is also encouraging that Mr Ramaphosa himself has come out to condemn this spate of violence.

The events taking place in South Africa require a co-ordinated and sustained approach by all countries and regional bodies in the region, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (ECA),” says Hassan Sekajoolo,” chairperson of the Steering Committee of MenEngage Africa Alliance.

“This approach must consider that the attacks in South Africa have been labeled ‘xenophobia’, although they only affect people of African origin. The violence against non-nationals of African descent in South Africa gives rise to a new meaning of the word ‘xenophobia’. The word means ‘a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries’. The South African situation, however, demonstrates a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries based on what they look like – being African,” adds Mpiwa Mangwiro, Campaigns and Advocacy Specialist for MenEngage Africa Alliance.

Locals in South Africa blame migrants from other African countries for their social and economic woes, including lack of employment, substance abuse, human trafficking, crime levels, lack of housing, and pressures on the health system. As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we realise that the concerns of locals cannot be downplayed.

If claims that non-national Africans are responsible for the proliferation of drugs and various crime syndicates and illegalities are true, the law must be brought to bear upon the perpetrators. At community level, migrants have a responsibility to adhere to the laws of their host country and law enforcers have a duty to uphold and protect the laws and regulations of their country. At national level, there are formal mechanisms between the host country and countries of origin of migrants to deal with offences committed. The truth is that crime is carried out by criminals, irrespective of country of origin. Drugs and other crimes are committed by nationals all the time. Police are enjoined to carry out their mandate in terms of applicable laws.

Furthermore, the Constitution of South Africa sets out that everyone who resides in the country has the right to access health services, irrespective of their nationality or legal status. Thus, non-nationals must be allowed to access health care, especially women and children who often rely on state resources for their health needs because of a lack of crucial economic means.

The organisation  calls  on the South African government and all African states, the African Union Commission, and all regional bodies to play their individual and collective roles to ensure that this state of affairs does not continue. Africans cannot be attacking one another when there are peaceful mechanisms to find solutions to our problems.

“As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we remain committed to support all efforts that seek to ensure unity of the continent and ensure that the ideals of the founding principles of the African Union Commission are achieved”.

 

1+
Read More
Africans Rising saddened by xenophobic violence is South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

 

Africans Rising for Justice, Peace, and Dignity reports that it is  saddened and outraged by ongoing systematic atrocities committed on African people in South Africa, not only over the past few days but for over a decade. Violent attacks on black migrants have so far led to the loss of lives, countless injuries, and destruction of Black migrant-owned businesses. We strongly and unreservedly condemn these ‘afro-phobic attacks’ and call on the South African government to ensure safety for all.

The organisation says that while black Africans from other countries may be easy targets, we urge South African citizens, especially the youth, not to attack their African brothers and sisters. Instead, we urge them to peacefully engage the South African government to better understand the causes of these attacks. Africans Rising calls on the South African government to take responsibility and be accountable based on the social contract that exists between it and the people by addressing the root causes of this violence.

They sais that they call on the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the entire government to play their role in making sure that there is a stop to these inhumane attacks. And to address the institutionalized Afrophobia that restricts the ability of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless people to integrate.

“We wish for a better understanding of the need for pan-African solidarity, a better understanding of the role of many African countries in the fight against apartheid. If the perpetrators of these atrocities could be made to remember the continental solidarity of that fight perhaps the violence would end. “Even if all the migrants pack up their bags and leave, poor Black South African lives won’t change because their misery is rooted in centuries of injustices,” said Coumba Toure, Africans Rising Co-Movement Coordinator”.

They add that while acknowledging the actions and reactions of certain African governments, we again call on the African Union, regional bodies like SADC and all African heads of state to condemn the ongoing brutality and violence in South Africa, and advise their citizens not to respond to violence with violence. We also call on all Africans, including religious leaders, artists, lawmakers, citizens, and descendants of Africa to raise their voices in condemning these unacceptable acts.

The organisation also  urges African governments to use intelligence directed policing capable of anticipating and stopping looming acts of xenophobia.

“ As our core team sits in a circle next to the fire at Earth Rise Lodge in Rustlers Valley, we represent Ubuntu.  We (Africans Rising) are here from different African countries and the diaspora. Here, we feel welcomed, safe, and at peace with South Africans…This is how it should be everywhere. For Africans Rising, Earth Rise Lodge, Naledi Village, Rustlers Valley represents a model for people to live in dignity. But this cannot happen without the joint efforts of Africa and Africans. We urge (African) leaders to address the issues arising in order to stop this plague” said Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, Africans Rising Co-Movement Coordinator.

Africans Rising has also  called on the citizens and descendants of Africa to not respond to hate with hatred but to join hands in building the #AfricaWeWant.

 

1+
Read More
Cameroon: Mixed Reactions as President Biya calls for National Dialogue
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

President Paul Biya addressed the Nation in an unprecedented State of the Nation's Address, September 10, 2019 in Yaounde

President Paul Biya addressed the Nation in an unprecedented State of the Nation’s Address, September 10, 2019 in Yaounde

The President of the Republic of Cameroon Paul Biya has called for a national dialogue by the end of this month in a bid to bring an end to the present upheavals in the North West and South West Regions. In an unprecedented address to the nation on September 10, 2019, the Head of State indicated that all stakeholders will be invited for the dialogue-something which has been called for by many.

Before Biya’s address late on Tuesday, there were the expectations that the president might grant amnesty to arrest separatists and political leaders as a way to bring peace to the country.

Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute will chair the dialogue which would bring together governmental officials, and representatives of armed separatist groups. “The dialogue to be presided over by the prime minister will bring together all Cameroonians, especially traditional rulers, lawmakers, the clergy and all elected officials,” Biya said.

Without naming the countries, the president said the armed separatists were “mainly inspired from abroad,” and the solution to the crisis “lies within our Republic.” “Cameroon will remain one and indivisible,” Biya said at the end of the speech.

The Head of State equally indicated that great efforts have been made to solve the crisis and denied any marginalization of the English-speaking regions, saying he has always appointed ministers from there. “We should all know that we are Cameroonians, appointed to serve Cameroon, not our tribes or linguistic groups,” Biya said.

Nkongho Agbor Balla, an Anglophone activist, told Al Jazeera that “the call for an all-inclusive dialogue is very appreciated”, saying the announcement “should signal the end of arrests of Anglophones for their political ideas.”

“Whilst my expectations were not fully met in the speech, we should give peace a chance by supporting the dialogue process. I urge those who will be attending the national dialogue to call for the release of all those detained in connection with the crisis, the need for constitutional amendment and also to ensure that the form of the state is equally discussed at the dialogue table,” he said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also welcomed the announcement. His spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement that Guterres “encourages the government of Cameroon to ensure that the process is inclusive” and “calls on all Cameroonian stakeholders, including the Diaspora, to participate in this effort.”

Much information but little substance-MRC official

Though many received the message from the head of state with so much joy, others say the president should put more substance in what he has said. Speaking to the Secretary General of the MRC Party, Barrister Ndong Christopher, he said, “the president has done a good thing by calling for a national dialogue. However, one would have thought him would have granted amnesty to all who are in prison in connection to the crisis.”

“The speech fell short of so many things” he said while indicating that “We expected that he will have granted general amnesty to those of the Diaspora and anybody in prison in the cause of the crisis. You cannot be calling Cameroonians to come from the Diaspora when amnesty has not been granted-it is a legal document to guarantee that those who ran away even if they come for the dialogue, nothing will happen to them.”

“We also expected him to grant pardon to all those political prisoners, and their militants who were locked up. I already see a CPDM dialogue issue as main people who should constitute the dialogue team are not present.” “We are waiting to see how the dialogue will be implemented but it is dead upon arrival because people like Ayuk Tabe and the Nera 10 are in prison for life, Kamto and his collaborators are in prison, honestly there is a problem. The Head of state has yet to demilitarize the North West and South West, he has not granted a general amnesty which is something which is prerequisite for dialogue.”

The MRC official has raised scepticism on the Prime Minister being charged with selecting those to be present for the dialogue. He said, “… The Prime Minister is there, and we all know it will be a CPDM affair. If Kamto, Ayuk Tabe and their collaborators are in prison, who then are those to dialogue with. The people they shall call are not the people who started the problem. Before you dialogue, you do so with the man who is giving you headache, not the man that is comfortable.”

The Anglophone crisis which has been going on for more than Two years now has seen many killed, displaced or become refugees in neighboring Nigeria. Attacks by both sides have left 1,850 dead, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, while the UN says 530,000 people have fled their homes. According to UN aid officials, more than one in six people in Cameroon-4.3 million need humanitarian aid, an increase of 30 percent from 2018.

 

0
Read More
Rwanda Named Long-Term Home for African Green Revolution Forum
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M. Mupenda

Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources speaks at the event in Kigali

Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources speaks at the event in Kigali

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Partners Group has unanimously selected Rwanda to host AGRF 2020 and serve as the home country of the forum going forward.

In a statement released on this Friday, September 6, 2019, H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia who is currently serving as the Board Chair of AGRF Partners Group revealed that Rwanda’s successful hosting of AGRF 2018 was one of the triggers of the decision.

“Rwanda’s hosting of AGRF 2018 featured the largest attendance on record and the leadership of H.E. President Paul Kagame, both in presiding over that historic gathering and in his broader commitment to the transformational power of agriculture has set a model for all to follow,” he said.

“We are honored to be the home country for AGRF and are committed to working closely and collaboratively with our may partners across Africa and around the world to ensure the continued growth and influence of AGRF as the voice of Africa’s smallholder farmers and agriculture businesses,” Said Hon. Geraldine Mukeshimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

“The move will add the Republic of Rwanda to the AGRF partners Group to help shape and drive the AGRF’s long term vision, deepen relationships with service providers to streamline organizational logistics, and unlock partnerships with several new institutions looking to grow with the forum,” reads the statement.

The AGRF underpins its partners noted that Rwanda’s pact as its home country “will increase accountability and commitment of the continent’s leaders to use the forum as the focal point for delivering on the goals laid out by African Heads of State and Government in the African Union’s Malabo Declaration, United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa Agenda 2063.”

AGRF is established as the platform for leaders from across Africa and around the world to advance concrete plans and share knowledge to tap enormous potential agriculture to drive equitable and sustainable growth across the continent. It has taken place in eight different countries over the last ten years.

The AGRF Group is made up of a coalition of 21 actors in the African agriculture sector. Among them include the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank, the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

0
Read More
1 2 3 4 5 152