Neighbouring Kenya stopped the importation of vehicles older than eight years old earlier this year.
Toure started 22 league games under Guardiola in the 2016-17 season, and says he was asked to stay for another year, but then used sparingly.
|The Summit’s speakers and guests represent the leading angel networks, VC funds, impact investors, accelerators, corporate venture divisions, industry associations, and public sector agencies
This year, the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit is set to kick off Cape Town’s Global Entrepreneurship Week, encompassing a number of leading industry events and numerous networking opportunities. The Summit organizers Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A) (https://VC4A.com) and the African Business Angels Network (ABAN) (https://ABANangels.org) have partnered with AfricaCom (https://goo.gl/TcU3jh) and AfricArena (http://AfricArena2018.com) to offer a full-week VIP Investor Pass giving access to all three events as well as Investor Cocktail, Industry Leaders Dinner and an Innovation Tour.
The Summit’s speakers and guests represent the leading angel networks, VC funds, impact investors, accelerators, corporate venture divisions, industry associations, and public sector agencies. Headlining the Summit are renown international and local investors from Nigeria, South Africa, Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Liberia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, France, US, UK and The Netherlands, amongst many other countries.
The 2017 edition brought together over 300 investors from prominent African angel networks and VC funds, such as Singularity Investments, Accion, Blue Haven, 4Di Capital, Lagos Angel Network, SABAN, AngelHub Ventures, Teranga Capital, Outlierz, Algebra Ventures, Grey Elephant Ventures, Ringier, GSMA, Orange Digital Ventures. Among the attendees were international organizations and policy makers, such as IFC, the World Bank Group and the European Commission. Following a rigorous due diligence process, the event showcased 20 African digitally-enabled scale-ups from across the continent, resulting in a number of series A deals totaling over $12mln. The 5th anniversary event promises to further raise the bar, featuring renowned investors from overseas and stellar entrepreneurial talent from the continent.
Industry leaders explain the reasons they participate in this annual conference:
“The Africa Early Stage Investor Summit brings together a diverse network of people with a common interest of starting and building sustainable companies that solve real problems on the continent. The status of the partners on board and profiles of the speakers ensure that the event is thought provoking, educational and fun!” says Keet van Zyl, Partner at Knife Capital.
“I found the Africa Early Stage Investor Summit to be a great opportunity to network and learn from other investors from around the continent. The sessions were useful and provided great pan-African perspective of the investment landscape. I will highly recommend it” comments Kola Aina, CEO and Founder of Ventures Platform.
Ido Sum, Partner at TLCom Capital, comments further: “Being a regular participant in many such conferences, it was a unique collection of very high quality companies as well as the early stage tech focused African investors community. This intersection of top notch investors and founders led to a few great relationships and investment opportunities we looked in more depth into. I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the space to take part in the 2018 summit.”
Not only the pool of entrepreneurial talent across the continent is growing, but also the quality of ventures is improving. The pipeline of African innovative businesses has never been so investible. And where talent leads the way, money closely follows. More than 60 angel networks have been set up across the continent and a growing class of Africa-focused VC investors are backing and scaling the best of these high-growth startups. VC4A and ABAN co-host the Summit, specifically to create an annual meeting point for this growing investor community.
As in the previous years, the participants can expect a highly focused yet varied program consisting of workshops and masterclasses for investors by investors, rich networking experience, exclusive co-investment opportunities, as well as the latest trends, insights and industry research.
VC4A (https://VC4A.com) is an ecosystem builder that leverages its infrastructure, network and expertise for the programs that contribute to Africa’s startup movement. Since 2008, the organization designs, structures and implements successful entrepreneurship programs on the continent. VC4A runs an online platform, VC4A.COM, featuring the world’s largest database of African startups and connecting local entrepreneurs to learning resources, mentors, investors and partner programs.
The African Business Angel Network (ABAN) (https://ABANangels.org) is a Pan-African non-profit association. ABAN was founded in early 2015 to support the development of early stage investor networks across the continent and to grow the cohort of early stage investors excited about the opportunities in Africa.
|The International Center for Tropical Agriculture, established by the government to oversee phytosanitary inspections, received US $5 million in funding from the African Development Fund|
SAO TOME, Sao Tome and Principe, June 8, 2018/ — African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) President, Akinwumi Adesina, met with São Tomé and Príncipe President Evaristo Carvalho on Wednesday, just as the Bank’s Board of Directors in Abidjan approved the island nation’s new Country Strategy Paper 2018-2022.
“We have long been a supporter of your country and have great hopes and expectations for it. You have a clear vision for the country. A new Country Strategy Paper was approved, defining our new collaboration. Together we will focus on agriculture, the blue economy, employment for women and youth, and the financial sector.”
Carvalho said, “I will do everything possible to make our partnership better than ever. I will make sure that our country maintains its current performance.”
Earlier in the day, President Adesina visited two Bank-financed centres, part of the first phase of the Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Food Security Support Project.
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture, established by the government to oversee phytosanitary inspections, received US $5 million in funding from the African Development Fund (ADF) for rehabilitation, new laboratory equipment and staff training to strengthen quality control procedures for products and services offered to farmers. Paquete Idalina, an entomologist at the centre, said, “the technical and financial support we have received allows us to help 1,586 maize farmers today.”
The Advanced Agro-Pastoral Training Center is the only facility in São Tomé and Príncipe to offer technical training in agriculture and promote agricultural entrepreneurship. The centre received US $47.19 million in funding from the ADF, making it possible to increase the number of students from other parts of the island. Adesina told students, “Agriculture must be seen as a business, a source of wealth. I encourage you to become entrepreneurs to contribute to wealth creation in your country.”
The second phase of the Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Food Security Support Project is already underway and is promoting the development of fishing and farming infrastructure to facilitate production, storage, processing, distribution and capacity-building in both sectors.
The project is expected to boost food production for local consumption from agriculture and fishing. Agricultural products for the local market are expected to increase from an average of 58,000 tons in 2009-2011 to 75,000 tons in 2020, while fishing products are anticipated to grow from an average of 4,800 tons in 2009-2011 to 6,200 tons in 2020. Local products are expected to comprise a larger percentage of the supply, rising from 58% in 2012 to 75% in 2020.
Bank support for the education sector in São Tomé and Príncipe dates back to the 1990s when US $19.4 million in ADF funding went to the Teaching Facilities Rehabilitation Project to improve teacher qualifications and expand access to high-quality teaching.
At the Higher Polytechnic Institute of São Tomé, another Bank-financed facility, Adesina encouraged students: “You are the future leaders of this country. You must release the potential of São Tomé and Príncipe by aiming high, by keeping abreast of labour market needs and by preparing for the careers of the future.”
The polytechnic has more than 2,000 students today compared with 118 when it first opened about 20 years ago, and offers courses in 16 subjects, including biology, mathematics, economics, tourism, agronomy, electronics, ITC, public relations and communications. “I believe in you,” he said. “Be entrepreneurs and become the country’s multi-millionaires!”
Adesina also held meetings with Agripalma Ltd., an affiliate of the Socfinaf Group that has owned and planted 5,000 hectares of oil palms in the south of the island since 2009, and with Claudio Corallo, one of the world’s leading chocolatiers, who employs about 300 people and processes nearly 1.5 tons of cacao every month.
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 53 regional member states.
Rwandans would like to wean themselves from American hand-me-downs, and the United States wants to punish them for it. Last week, the Trump administration suspended duty-free access to U.S. markets for Rwandan clothing. This may sound like inconsequential news, compared with the prospect of a trade war with China, the European Union or our Canadian neighbors, but the move follows a dangerous trend of disregard for Africa. And it’s not just Africans who will suffer: Neglecting the continent will foreclose trade opportunities, harm U.S. companies and, ultimately, cost U.S. jobs.
Rwanda and several of its neighbors recently introduced tariffs on used clothing in an attempt to bolster the local apparel industry. In response, a U.S. trade group filed a complaint, claiming that the new tariffs violate the terms of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which requires participating countries to reduce trade barriers for U.S. goods. Unlike its neighbors, Rwanda stayed the course. The administration has every right to retaliate under the terms of the act — but the move is inconsistent and shortsighted.
For a start, the administration can hardly claim to be acting on principle. More than 100 countries benefit from U.S. trade preference programs without returning the favor. Florie Liser, former assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa, notes that countries like India and Brazil, which are major exporters to the United States under the program known as the Generalized System of Preferences, “ship a lot more to us than Rwanda, yet have significant barriers to U.S. trade.” The selective decision to retaliate against Rwanda not only adds to the general trade turmoil damaging U.S. standing overseas but also is seen as a particular snub of Africa, where President Trump’s derogatory comments about its countries have not been forgotten.
The administration can’t claim to be protecting a vital American industry, either. The complaints of the used-clothing association — that Rwandan tariffs would have a negative impact on up to 40,000 U.S. jobs — are unsubstantiated. Rwanda, a country of approximately 12.5 million people, imported $17 million in used clothing in 2016, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The clothes are primarily donations to organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill, bought by members of the trade group that lodged the complaint, the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association, and resold in Africa. Rwandan vendors sell them in market stalls.
Rwanda’s motivations are as much about dignity as they are about economics. Just as China recently banned imports of “foreign garbage” that it used to buy and recycle, Rwanda is taking a stand against the perceived indignity of buying clothes that others have worn and discarded. It would be a different story if Rwandans were rejecting icons of American ingenuity and enterprise, like cutting-edge medical devices or mobile technologies. But they’re not; they’re rejecting our hand-me-downs. The White House fails to grasp that, as well as the bigger picture for the United States. It’s not just Rwanda — the president is picking fights with trading partners old and new over relatively small amounts of U.S. imports and exports and with little regard for the long-term consequences. As relationships fray — even longtime allies feel under duress — the price to the United States rises; the country will pay not just in self-inflicted economic harm but also in diminished global leadership and reduced support for its national security priorities.
Banning used clothes is not enough to build Rwanda’s domestic textile and apparel industry, especially given competition from cheap Chinese imports of ready-made clothing. But there is a certain irony in Trump punishing Rwanda for protecting domestic manufacturing in what really is a Rwandan version of “America First.” More to the point, the United States ought to be supporting countries that pursue economic growth and development plans — not just because it is the right thing to do but also because the vitality of the U.S. economy depends on whether we have markets for our goods and services.
Until recently, supporting African economic growth was a key piece of U.S.-Africa policy. For instance, building on the African Growth and Opportunity Act’s strong legacy of bipartisan support, President Barack Obama launched the Trade Africa initiative to support regional economic integration and work toward a more reciprocal trade relationship. But the suspension of access for Rwandan apparel reinforces the sad truth that the Trump administration has no vision for trade with Africa. And there is no question that U.S. businesses will suffer as a result. Africa represents the last frontier for America’s export-driven economy, with consumer and business spending predicted to reach $6.7 trillion by 2030. A U.S. government report released last week cited motor vehicles, poultry and refined petroleum products among various sectors, as well as a range of services, with the potential for greater American exports to sub-Saharan Africa.
The United States misses a larger opportunity by engaging in petty trade squabbles and generally neglecting the continent. While it is true that the Trump administration maintains that it supports more reciprocal trade relationships with African states and has been studying trade and investment potential in certain African markets, advancing a strategic economic partnership with Africa requires more than talk. Actions — like threatening the funding of government agencies that support U.S. companies investing in Africa, leaving key ambassadorships vacant and deprioritizing trade programs — speak louder than words.
Meanwhile, other economies are making aggressive commercial plays in Africa. China has been Africa’s leading trade partner for the last nine years; trade scuffles like this one with Rwanda can only further drive African states into China’s open arms. Nor is it just China — the European Union has been actively traveling the region, signing two-way trade agreements that will disadvantage American companies far more than any tariffs on secondhand clothing.
It would be misguided to dismiss this row with Rwanda as a small issue with a small country. The larger economic picture is much more worrying.
After Fleeing from the Marauders – Refugee Stories
By Solomon Ngu*
Why the Biya government decided to launch war in the countryside, I suspect, was because he feared a Maoist-style revolution whereby villages mobilize enough fighters who eventually move en masse to capture the cities. Whether the government is succeeding in this or not is questionable. What we know is that some of the villages in the countryside have, through guerrilla tactics, put up strong and unbelievable resistance to the government forces. The Fighters are currently talking of cruising into Buea irrespective of whether they control the countryside or not. I must stress that the government forces barely occupy deserted portions of the villages; they haven’t captured any territory through combat. Those in the occupied parts of the countryside are living in the forests, have fled to unaffected villages or the city.
Photos and videos depicting the living conditions of Anglophone refugees in Nigeria and those living in the forests in Cameroon circulate daily on social media. Despite their condition, they – especially those living in the forests in Cameroon – go an extra length to take videos and photos within a setting where they do not have access to electricity to charge their phones. I recently got a call from one of my childhood friends, a farmer living in the burnt farming village of Munyenge and he said they have found a way to charge their phones by sneaking into those houses that have not been burnt down.
Villagers in the war zone, especially those in the thick forests region, do monitor the moves and location of the soldiers. They know which paths and routes to take if they want to leave the countryside. This task is further made easier by the Amba Fighters located in the villages. I met several people whose escape to Anglophone cities and to the Francophone side of the country was facilitated by these Fighters. These escapes are sudden and those fleeing have just a small window of opportunity to pick up a handful of their belongings.
To get a deeper understanding of the experiences of those who fled the countryside, I decided in mid April to visit some of the families hosting refugees. I talked with the refugees and must say their ordeal, courage and resolve to run for their lives in the face of advancing soldiers are worth commending. Take for example, the horrifying experience of Agnes (a pseudonym) who escaped into the forest for two days, leaving behind her very sick mother. She was too old to run with the others into the forest. Luckily, the grandma was still alive when Agnes returned from the forest. In less than an hour, she picked up her few belongings and was already on the run again to a neighboring village. The compound they fled into hosted more than 25 people. They all slept on the floor. She eventually reached Buea thanks to transportation money sent to her by her sister. In her words:
“We were told that there had been confrontations between the Fighters and the La Repubique [government] soldiers in a neighboring village which is about one day trekking from our village. We didn’t know the fight would reach us so soon. But events unfolded so quickly. I was on my way from the farm when I heard the sound of the guns. It sounded like the end of the world. Bullets rained on our roof. One of the falling bullets pierced through my new jacket.”
Agnes showed me scars of the wounds she sustained on her legs and arms as she ran through the forests with her children and mother. Amidst the commotion, she had forgotten to take money. She took another risk of returning to her house alone. She came face to face with the Fighters who were all dressed in Cameroon military uniform. The uniforms and weapons had been taken from killed and capitulated government soldiers. To her surprise, one of the Fighters called her by her name and instructed her to leave the village as soon as possible. This, she did.
Another story is that of a woman who is in her early 60s. Transport services into and out of her village were completely cut off after the government forces attacked. She took into the forest, trekking for more than 50km. It took her two days before she finally got to the Francophone town of Dschang from where she took a bus to Buea.
But here comes another problem, the challenge of living in the city. With tears in her eyes, Agnes described how life in Buea is strange and unfriendly. She had thought her refugee status would last only a few days but two weeks after getting to Buea, her village, including a semi-urban settlement around it, was completely deserted by mid April 2018. Agnes had lost her freedom and privacy and needed money to survive in the new place. She was a farmer, a money-lender and a trader in the countryside. She left the village at the beginning of the planting season meaning that there is a possibility she may starve next year if she returned to the village. In my recent communication with her, she wasn’t sure if she would ever return to her house.
During my stay in Cameroon, I traveled to a few border towns hosting refugees. I spent two days in Dschang where the car parks serving Anglophone passengers were scanty. Listening to the hardship of those hosting the refugees was heartbreaking. Nearly everyone I met in Dschang was hosting refugees from Lebialem. There is this friend of mine whose five relatives fled the village to live with her in late March. As of the time of writing this article, the number has increased to six. She has a two-bedroom apartment. She avoids loss of privacy and stress at home by spending most of her free time in the church and farm.
The government has refused to recognize the Anglophone refugee disaster. Talk less of any conversation about the Anglophone Crisis at the national parliament. Responding to my first post on this series, someone insinuated that ‘this mad war [has been] initiated by desperately power hungry Cameroon diaspora’. What he failed to mention was that the war was declared on Anglophones, the ‘terrorists’, by the president in November 2017. The Anglophone diaspora started supporting the Fighters after they realized that the soldiers were killing Anglophones indiscriminately. The minister of defense actually praised the soldiers for massacres in villages in Manyu Division where people resorted to fleeing to Nigeria. It is estimated that between 40.000 and 50.000 Anglophones have sought refuge in Nigeria.
The narrative put forth by the government surrogate such as the one who commented on my first post specifically aims at excusing the government of war against people it sees as despicable. How do I know this? How the Cameroon government choose to treat – or choose not to treat – its citizens who happen to be refugees tells a lot about who is considered a true Cameroonian. We have all seen how the government provides humanitarian relief to Francophone refugees fleeing Boko Haram attacks. They have been treated as unfortunate people whose humanity is being destroyed by terrorists. The Anglophone refugees, to quote Franz Fanon, live in a zone of non-being; a zone where people are not recognized as full humans and their lives are less valued.
In my next post I will focus on the Amba Fighters – how they are perceived in Anglophone Cameroon. Part of my argument will be that they do no longer want to condone the dehumanization they experience daily in their country.
*This is part of the series Life in a War Zone:30 Days in Ambazonia by Solomon Ngu for PAV under the blog Kamer Blues
-Women, delegates have chance to win $1,000
By Wallace Mawire
The African Women in the Media 2018 Conference, an event organised by award-winning journalist, Dr Yemisi Akinbobola, has Visibility as its theme and promises to empower delegates through panels, workshops and networking.
It is reported that attendees will experience keynote presentations, industry panels with leading names like Eugenia Abu, Lola Shoneyin, Stephanie Busari, Kunle Afoayan and much more, as well as academic panels and numerous training workshops.
“There are three tracks running simultaneously at any one time during the conference”, said Dr Akinbobola. “We don’t want to just talk about the issues, but through the workshops, pitch zone and networking opportunities, we are putting actions into place to empower attendees”.
The African Women in the Media group aims to impact positively the way media functions in relation to women, both in the industry and media’s representation of gender issues.
“Action is key here and we are so grateful to all our sponsors for their support”, adds Dr Akinbobola. “We are particularly excited to launch the AWIM/NRGI Award which comes with a $1,000 cash prize.”
AWIM18 Conference Highlights include CNN’s Nima Elbagir as Keynote Speaker,Prof Abigail Ogwezzy as academic Keynote Speaker.Three industry panels: Gender, Security and Election Coverage; Women in Media Leadership; Role of Fictional Content on Society’s Perspective of Women in Leadership.
Three academic panels: Break the Silence: Health, Violence and Media; Women Behind and In-Front of Camera; Women in Media: Participation, Advocacy and Youth
10 Training workshops: Data Journalism, Digital Marketing, Reporting in Conflict Zones, Newsroom Leadership, Vlogging for Change, to listen, engage and tell stories on social media to grow female audiences
Pitch Zone: Hosted by BBC and the Natural Resource Governance Institute who is funding the AWIM/NRGI Award where delegates can win £1,000 to produce their gender focused natural resources story Dinner parties and networking on both nights Roundtable discussions with speakers
African Women in the Media (AWiM) is a Facebook group that convenes annually. The first convening event took place in Birmingham, UK with panels from both academia and industry. The AWiM17 keynote speaker was Minna Salami. The group wants to challenge the way media functions in relation to African women, and seeks to inspire, support and empower its members.
Dr Yemisi Akinbobola is an award-winning journalist, academic, and media entrepreneur. A Nigerian living in UK, her work is Africa focused, covering stories from rape culture in Nigeria, to an investigative and data story on the trafficking of young West African football hopefuls by fake agents. The latter won the CNN African Journalist Award 2016 (Sports Reporting). Yemisi holds a PhD in Media and Cultural Studies from Birmingham City University where she is the Course Director for MA Global Media Management, and her research interest is in digital journalism and African feminism.
She is the founder of Stringers Africa, which connects freelance journalists in African countries with newsrooms worldwide, and she runs the African Women in the Media group. Founder also of IQ4News, a multimedia production company, she has freelanced for publications including the UN Africa Renewal magazine. Yemisi she has several years’ experience in communication management for charities.
In a statement signed by President Buhari, winner of the presumed freeest election in Nigeria Late MKO Abiola is honoured with a post-humously honoured with the nation’s highest award, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic, GCFR conferred on all Presidents/Heads of State.
President Buhari further added that late human rights lawyer, Chief Gani Fawehinmi will also be awarded the country’s second highest award of the Grand Commander of the Niger, GCON in honour of his role towards actualising the June 12 presidential election. Abiola’s running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe will also get a GCON award.
According to the President: “For the past 18 years, Nigerians have been celebrating May 29th, as Democracy Day. That was the date when for the second time in our history, an elected civilian administration took over from a military government. The first time this happened was on October 1st, 1979.”
“But in the view of Nigerians, as shared by this Administration, June 12th, 1993, was far more symbolic of Democracy in the Nigerian context than May 29th or even the October 1st. Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi,SAN”
“June 12th, 1993 was the day when Nigerians in millions expressed their democratic will in what was undisputedly the freest, fairest and most peaceful elections since our Independence. The fact that the outcome of that election was not upheld by the then Military Government does not distract from the democratic credentials of that process.”
“Accordingly, after due consultations, the Federal Government has decided that henceforth, June 12th will be celebrated as Democracy Day. Therefore, Government has decided to award post-humously the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to late Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12th, 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as Vice President, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of the June 12th election and indeed for Democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, is to be awarded a GCON posthumously.”
“The commemoration and investiture will take place on Tuesday, June 12, 2018, a date which in future years will replace May 29th as a National Public Holiday in celebration of Nigeria Democracy Day.” Buhari stated.
The announcement was received with much excitement across the country yesterday from friends and family of the late Abiola.
This has brought the significance of June 12 — Hafsat His daughter,
Hafsat Abiola-Costello, said: ‘’This has just validated the victory of my father. He didn’t just fight for democracy alone; he fought for Nigeria. May 29 was never the Democracy Day; it’s June 12. And President Buhari has just shown that he is an honourable man. This development has brought to life the significance of June 12.”
Buhari has proved himself to be inclined of the desires of Nigerians –, Abike Dabiri-
Erewa said that President Buhari has shown himself to be inclined to the desires of Nigerians and has done the right thing.
We’ve waited for this—Mohammed Fawehinmi
It is a welcome development. This is what we have been waiting for over the years. Good Nigerians have made several calls for Chief M K O Abiola to be recognised as a Nigerian President. For this government to have done this, it is a welcome gesture. It is a good news that M K O Abiola is going to be awarded GCFR honour and Babagana Kingibe to be awarded GCON, It is clear that Abiola was elected the president of this country, the mere fact that he was not sworn in does not mean he was not elected. This has vindicated Abiola.
A welcome development, but… — Adebanjo Reacting, Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo
Adebanjo said: “It is a welcome development. We have always told them that, (and) he now realises this. We have told them that without June 12 there is no Democracy Day. June 12 is Democracy Day, but May 29 is Civilian Day. I want to urge him to restructure Nigeria because all he is doing are palliatives.
Belated, but welcome—Falae
Also reacting, a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Chief Olu Falae described the decision as “belated but welcome.
Right thinking Democrat should support it—Babatope A former Minister of Transport,
Chief Ebenezer Babatope, said: ‘’That is very good. It is a positive development, and every right-thinking democrat should support that. The timing may be wrong, but it is a good development that should be hailed.
Though it came a bit late — Senator Jonathan Zwingina,
Director-General of Abiola’s Hope 93 Campaign Organisation, said: I commend the declaration even though it came a bit late, but better late than never.
It’s commendable—Balarabe Musa
A former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa commended the President’s action said recognising June 12 as a Democracy Day, is proper. In the context of Nigeria, June 12 signifies Democracy Day in the first place because it was a day that Nigerians set aside their differences and united the country for progress.
By Prince Kurupati
When Cyril Ramaphosa ascended to power a day after Valentine’s this year, a huge wave of euphoria engulfed the entire country of South Africa. However, only a 100 days down the lane, the huge wave of euphoria is slowly waning and the once touted ‘Ramaphoria’ seems to be turning into ‘Ramaphobia’.
Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power was greeted with massive joy by almost all South Africans especially the ordinary South African. However, though still popular, signs of discontent are starting to show among the various groups that once held him as the ‘saviour’. Ordinary South Africans who viewed Ramaphosa’s ascendency to power as a relief following years of economic stagnation and unemployment are fast losing hope as the status quo is showing no signs of changing anytime soon.
While Ramaphosa may no longer be as popular as he was 100 Days ago, his presidency thus can best be described as a mixed bag – there are a lot of positives suggesting the future is bright while at the same time there are worrying signs suggesting the change many people have been waiting for, for so long may take a little longer than anticipated. In not so long a piece, the following showcases Ramaphosa’s first 100 Days in office.
Injected confidence in an economy that was desperate for confidence
In any economic setup, confidence is such a crucial factor for success. While confidence had totally deserted South Africa owing to the many allegations and accusations of corruption levelled upon South Africa’s the then president, Jacob Zuma, many actors in the economic sphere in the country were devoid of confidence in the government administration. This lack of confidence transcended beyond borders to outside investors who were afraid of putting their capital in an economy that could ‘crumble’ at any time. However, the mere change of face of the president was enough to convince economic actors and investors that the country was now on the right path. The fact the Rand rallied over 4 percent in the aftermath of Ramaphosa’s inauguration underlies this.
State enterprises’ reforms
One of the main focus areas for Ramaphosa, as he took power, was reforming state enterprises. Most of South Africa’s state enterprises’ boards during Jacob Zuma’s last days in office were labelled as cronies of Jacob Zuma. These boards were said to have been ‘captured’. As such, there was a need to sanitise the state enterprises’ boards. Ramaphosa took swift action in sanitising the boards of most state enterprises by removing and replacing the boards. Boards of state enterprises such as Eskom (power generation), South African Express (national airline), the South Africa Revenue Service and Denel (aerospace and defence) were replaced.
Putting the right people in the right places
One of the key responsibilities of a president is to identify the right people for the right positions. Ramaphosa thus far has shown that he is competent in this regard as his appointments have got things moving. Pravin Gordhan who was appointed as the public enterprise’s minister spearheaded the state enterprises’ reforms, Nhlanhla Nene has overseen the rise of the Rand and injected a new lease of life at South Africa’s treasury while Lindiwe Sisulu has already started coordinating for important world summits to be held in South Africa.
Focusing on youth empowerment
When he ascended to power, Ramaphosa quickly identified the youth as a group that needed immediate help. This rightly so considering the growing youth unemployment rate in the country. In efforts to empower the youth, Ramaphosa launched the Youth Employment Service in order to create more employment for South Africa’s youth; unemployed youths will be placed in paid internships in state enterprises and also the private sector. In his own capacity, Ramaphosa also pledged to donate half of his salary to the Nelson Mandela Thuma Mina Fund which helps empower youth from impoverished backgrounds.
Making himself approachable
In as much as Zuma’s actions were vilified towards his last days in power, he was still approachable and adored even by the fiercest of critics. Zuma’s down to earth and open personality aptly made him a people’s president, something that prompted then opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Helen Zille to state that Zuma is “affable, humble and approachable” and that the “personal tone of the presidency is open and friendly”. Cyril Ramaphosa, a rather laid back and reserve guy had to fill Zuma’s boots in all its facets thus had to find a way to make himself approachable too; so far he has succeeded largely due to his #Tummymustfall walks. Ramaphosa’ ‘send me’ rhetoric has also made him a people’s favourite. Ramaphosa also showed that he is a people’s president when he cut short his trip to the United Kingdom to come and manage the rising tensions surrounding the removal of Supra Mahumapelo.
Pushed through a new minimum wage
Ramaphosa moved swiftly to address one of the key areas that the country was found wanting in recent times. According to a report from CNBC, “South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world. According to the World Bank, the poorest 20 percent of South Africans consume less than 3 percent of the country’s total expenditure. Meanwhile, the wealthiest 20 percent account for 65 percent.” In order to address this challenge, Ramaphosa approved Parliament’s decision to set the new minimum wage at 3,500 Rand (around $277).
Land expropriation without compensation proving to be a difficult issue to manage
The land expropriation without compensation was always going to be difficult for any president to handle let alone Ramaphosa. As the issue was raised by his own party, it was a given that Ramaphosa would agree with the view. In his own words, Ramaphosa said: “We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensures that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.” While his position is clear with regards to the issue, Ramaphosa has not backed it with any action thus far. However, at one stage or another, actions not just words will be expected from the president. How he deals with it will prove whether he is a success or not. At this stage, no conclusion can be reached.
Rising taxes and food prices making Ramaphosa unpopular
For the first time in 25 years, South Africa’s VAT increased. According to the Huffington Post SA, “There’s a big gap between the revenue that was budgeted to be collected by government and what was actually collected,” this is in relation to the 2017 fiscal year; however, the same has been happening in recent years too. The gap had been rising gradually year by year and the decision was taken to manage and curtail the rising gap by increasing VAT. While helping the government to balance its books, the decision has had a terrible effect on South Africans especially the poor. Poor South Africans are having to pay more for clothing, medical and even some foodstuffs that are not zero-rated.
In all, Ramaphosa’s first 100 days in office have been alright if popular citizen surveys are anything to go by but he has faced some tough issues especially the land expropriation without compensation issue; however, much is expected in future rather than now, therefore, he has ample time of solidifying his position in the party in preparation for the 2019 presidential elections.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola “often has problems with Africans”, says ex-Blues midfielder Yaya Toure.
The Ivorian, who left City in May after eight years at the club, says he wants to “break the myth” about Guardiola, whom he describes as “jealous”.
“Maybe we Africans are not always treated by some in the same way as others,” said Toure in an interview with France Football.
Premier League champions City have declined to comment on Toure’s views.
Before his departure, the club named one of their training pitches after him and unveiled a mosaic of him at their training complex.
This summer they are set to sign France-born Algeria international Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.
Toure, an Ivory Coast international, played for Guardiola at Barcelona for two seasons until he was sold to City in 2010 for £24m.
He won six major trophies in England but started just one Premier League game in City’s latest title-winning campaign – their final home fixture of the season against Brighton.
Prior to that game, Guardiola said: “Yaya came here at the start of the journey. Where we are now is because of what he has done.
“The Brighton game we will give him what he deserves, one of the most beautiful farewells a player can receive.”
Toure completed 86 minutes against Brighton, having featured for 142 minutes in the league prior to that this season.
He believes that was “not down to physics”, saying he sought data from the club’s trainers to compare himself to younger players.
Guardiola won six league titles as a player at Barcelona and has added a further seven as a manager during spells with the Catalan club, Bayern Munich and City.
Toure said: “I do not know why but I have the impression that he was jealous, he took me for a rival. As if I made him a little shade.
“He was cruel to me. I came to wonder if it was not because of my colour.
“I am not the first to talk about these differences in treatment. In Barca, some have also asked the question.
“When we realise he often has problems with Africans wherever he goes, I ask myself questions.
“I want to be the one who breaks the myth of Guardiola.”
Toure started 22 league games under Guardiola in the 2016-17 season, and says he was asked to stay for another year, but then used sparingly.
By Catherine Byaruhanga*
Uganda’s parliament has passed legislation banning the import of vehicles older than 15 years.
The policy is meant to fight environmental pollution and help reduce road accidents, which have been blamed on older cars.
Curbing pollution and improving road safety have become major points of debate in Uganda.
Uganda observed three days of national mourning this week following a bus accident over the weekend, which killed more than 20 people.
Recent surveys have named the capital, Kampala, as one of the most-polluted cities in Africa.
But car importers warn banning old vehicles will lead to job losses and make it harder for poorer Ugandans to afford a car.
A new car, which is often expensive, incurs taxes of more than 50%.
To encourage Ugandans to buy newer cars, lawmakers removed an environmental levy on cars below eight years of age.
Last year, Ugandans imported an average of 2,500 used cars per month.
Neighbouring Kenya stopped the importation of vehicles older than eight years old earlier this year.
Nigeria may not be favourites for the World Cup, but they seem to have won fans over with their new kit for Russia.
Three million people pre-ordered replica shirts, according to the Nigeria Football Federation, and shoppers queued outside Nike’s flagship store in London on Friday to try to get their hands on the clothing.
The home and away shirts, priced at £64.95, were sold out on the sportswear giant’s website soon after they were released.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi is among the players who modelled the kit, which was first revealed back in February, along with Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi, who wore a branded bucket hat and jacket for the promotional photos.
The makers describe the home kit as a “subtle homage to Nigeria’s ’94 shirt, with its eagle wing-inspired black-and-white sleeve and green torso”.
The away kit, meanwhile, is a “cool, refined vision” of a classic full-green strip.
Nigeria are set to wear their new shirt when they face England in their World Cup warm-up game at Wembley on Saturday (17:15 BST).
By Prince Kurupati
Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the Electoral Amendment Act yesterday (29 May 2018). Among other things, the Electoral Amendment Act sets out the roadmap for the 2018 Harmonised elections i.e. how political parties are to conduct themselves in their campaigns, establishes a code of conduct for all political actors not necessarily political parties, spells out the role of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and it establishes an Electoral Court.
With the Electoral Amendment Act signed and gazetted under the General Notice 307A/2018 of the Extraordinary Government Gazette, it now means that the President can proceed to proclaim the election date widely believed by many legal experts to be either the 28th or 30th day of July this year.
The fact that the Electoral Amendment Act has been signed means that it’s nigh before the 108 political parties in Zimbabwe ‘fight’ each other to win the local councils, House of Parliament, House of Senate and the Presidency elections.
Of all the 108 registered political parties, it seems at this stage (and going forward) that the Presidency race will largely be between two candidates i.e. the incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling ZANU (PF) and Nelson Chamisa of the main opposition political party MDC-T who is running under the MDC Alliance ticket, an alliance of seven political parties.
Emmerson Mnangagwa has managed to win the hearts of many international actors due to his offensive charm in the international arena. However, back home, he hasn’t gained much ground to warrant a landslide victory against other opposition candidates though he remains the favourite to win.
With the odds slightly in favour of Mnangagwa, this piece is going to project the post-2018 election Zimbabwe under Emmerson Mnangagwa. The projections of this piece have been drawn from the ZANU (PF) manifesto, the party’s primary elections and Mnangagwa’s performance in his first 6 months as the president.
There are different classes of people in Zimbabwe (as one would expect in a country of 16+ million people) but this piece targets (and resonates with) the ordinary Zimbabwean.
Who is the ordinary Zimbabwean?
A loose classification will give us three types of Zimbabweans.
The first is the first class citizen. The first class citizen lives in a bubble totally oblivious to the hardships being felt by other people living in the same country sometimes even a few metres or kilometres from him/her. Privileged children of the well-known and wealthy politicians and business people fall into this category.
The second is the second class citizen. This refers to the privileged who also do not feel the hardships of the day to day life but who are aware that the country is not on a right path and that there are many people who are suffering and failing to provide themselves. Some of these from time to time like to associate with the ‘ordinary’ Zimbabweans so as to identify as one i.e. identify as an ordinary Zimbabwean.
The third refers to ordinary Zimbabweans. Ordinary Zimbabweans are the people who have to bear the brunt of all the country’s hardships. These are the people who toil day and night to put food on the table, people who cross borders to make a living, people who have resigned and now live in abject poverty, the youths who have lost hope and turned to alcohol and substance abuse. It is this group of people that constitute the bulk of Zimbabwe’s population (maybe accounting to as high as 90 percent of the population).
If Mnangagwa’s international offensive charm is anything to go by, then the future looks bright for the majority of Zimbabweans. Zimbabwe’s president since his inauguration has attended many international forums including the World Economic Forum and he has paid courtesy calls to most African countries including neighbouring South Africa and Zambia.
The President’s foreign visits have managed to make him a popular man among international actors and investors. This has, in turn, led to the signing of many mega deals and memorandum of agreements (MoU), all of which are set to improve the country’s economic prospects.
Apart from the mega-deals, Mnangagwa has also managed to get over $11 billion in investment commitments. In his own words, President Mnangagwa said investors promised him they will come once the country holds its harmonised elections scheduled later this year. The prerequisite for the flow of the foreign capital is a free, fair and credible election.
Ordinary Zimbabweans at large have a reason to smile at this because the flow of foreign capital means there will be more employment opportunities for the 90+ percent unemployed. With more employment opportunities for the unemployed, ordinary Zimbabweans can expect a better standard of living and a better life for themselves and their children.
Mnangagwa in this short space of time has also shown that he is a better proposition than his predecessor Robert Mugabe when it comes to dealing with rogue elements both in the party and in the government. the dismissal of Webster Shamu recently who had been accused of engaging in vote rigging through ballot stuffing in the party’s primary elections shows Mnangagwa’s tough stance on rogue elements. In a country that has had to grapple with corrupt and arrogant high ranking officials and politicians, this is a step in the right direction.
In addition, Mnangagwa has made considerable strides in uniting the nation and if he is to carry forward this positive message, then the country is likely to heal from injustices of the past such as Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina. While leading on the front in terms of letting bygones be bygones, Mnangagwa also established a National Peace and Reconciliation Commission that aims at healing the wounds of the past. If the Zimbabwean nation can heal, there is no telling what a unified Zimbabwe can achieve both at home.
Additionally, one cannot forget the work that Mnangagwa has done thus far and will do in the future pertaining to luring back Zimbabweans in the diaspora who have acquired the skills and knowledge to put Zimbabwe back on the world map.
Another bumpy and gruelling 5 years await
Ordinary Zimbabweans have suffered for quite some time now. In fact, most millennials in Zimbabwe have never experienced how it feels to live in an economically and politically stable country except for those who have crossed the country’s borders.
If anything is to go by, the future remains bleak if Emmerson Mnangagwa wins the upcoming elections because of the following:
State media describes the ZANU (PF) manifesto as “modest, realistic and pragmatic,” this is a fair reflection in comparison to past manifestos though the claim that ZANU (PF) is going to build 1.5 million houses (i.e. 822 houses built per day!) in the next 5 years does no favours to the description that the manifesto is modest and realistic.
The biggest shortcoming of ZANU (PF)’s manifesto is that it fails to articulate ‘how’ it is going to fulfil its promises and claims (such as the absurd one above) when it is the main if not sole purpose of a manifesto to explain in detail the ‘how’ part. In its manifesto, ZANU (PF) lists all the promises it intends to fulfil including but not limited to uplifting the country’s education, providing quality healthcare for all, housing for all, supporting indigenisation and economic empowerment, creating jobs and eradicating poverty.
However, it’s just a mere listing without the important ‘how’ part therefore there is a huge probability that the country will witness a repeat of the past where the ruling party would give reasons for poor implementation of government policies and justifications for the non-fulfilment of election promises as was the case with ZIMASSET which the government blamed climate change for its poor implementation.
Chaotic primary elections
The ZANU (PF) primary elections left a lot to be desired if anything they left the electorate with more questions than answers. The first port of call was the poor if not disastrous project planning on show. Voting in most constituencies started late due to the late arrival of ballot papers. In some constituencies, it was a stop-start process as there were allegations of vote rigging and errors of omission of some of the candidates’ names on the ballot papers. Al this showed how poorly planned the primaries were and considering that it is this same administration which will be tasked with implementing government’s policies and projects, it’s certainly not inspiring.
The primary elections also showed another dark side of ZANU (PF) as the party once again proved that it sees no difference between itself and the government. The police were deployed across the whole country as polling agents this in spite of the fact that it was a party business and not a government business. Seeing such things during the campaigns, one cannot envisage a different outcome if ZANU (PF) wins as the government officials will be used as party people and vice versa.
If he wins, the president is going to pick his team, i.e. ministers and other key people of his administration from the winning candidates. It’s not really inspiring when the bulk of the people who won the primaries are known as corrupt in their society and vultures who have been waiting for their turn to eat. While the few stalwarts who returned their places will likely continue on the same path of self-enrichment at the expense of others, the new faces are also likely to join the self-enriching bandwagon to the detriment of the ordinary Zimbabwean.
An indifferent six months in the hot seat
Much can be taken from Mnangagwa’s first six months as the president and not much of it is positive to the ordinary Zimbabwean. The black-market which showed its ugly face during the hyperinflationary period of 2008 is once again starting to show its ugly face as fuel is now becoming scarce at service stations but abundant with the backdoor dealers. Not only that but in his first six months Mnangagwa has done nothing to ease the unemployment challenge but rather making the already overtaxed ordinary Zimbabwean pay more tax as he signed the ZISCO Debt Assumption Bill and gave in to the demands of most civil servants to increase their salaries when most of the government revenue is already going towards servicing the government payroll rather than capital projects.
All this will ultimately lead to the worsening of ordinary Zimbabweans’ daily life as these moves will raise the cost of living.
If Mnangagwa is to win and if he carries on the same path as he is with his domestic policies, then ordinary Zimbabweans will have to brace for the worst as a tough road awaits.