Atiku says he will boost oil investment, cut subsidies in election manifesto
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Teslim Olawore
Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria’s opposition presidential candidate has promised to boost Nigerian upstream oil and gas production and downstream production by attracting more investments, if he is elected president in the February general elections.
Atiku, presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), will run against incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari, under whose watch Nigeria’s economy suffered from the low oil prices that reduced export revenues. Nigeria’s oil industry also suffered from vandalism, and militant attacks on oil infrastructure in most of 2016 and early 2017.
While unveiling his policy plan on Monday, he pledged more transparency and efficiency in the management of the institutions in the oil and gas industry. If elected president, Atiku’s federal government will work to create an incentive regime to grow oil and gas resource bases, re-consider the introduction of bid rounds for marginal fields and bid rounds for blocks.
Inventors will be incentivized to tap unexploited resources in the mature Niger Delta Basin through policies that will encourage infill drilling, enhanced oil recovery, improved oil recovery, pressure maintenance, and full-field delineation and development. Exploration of the frontier areas inland will also be incentivized, Abubakar said.
The candidate will also incentivize the building of modular refineries in the northern parts of Nigeria, and partially privatize the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), according to his plan.
Atiku also pledged to deploy modern technology in pipeline surveillance and other security enhancements. The candidate promises to intensify the government’s dialog with the local communities in the oil-production regions.
Just last week, Atiku said that Niger Delta communities could keep all of the revenues that the oil-rich province produces. In an interview with the Africa Report, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar suggested that a sharing scheme might still be better for everyone.
2019 will be takeoff year for Ghana – Finance Minister
November 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Ghana’s Finance Minister Ken Ofori Atta has promised that 2019 will be a take-off year for the West African nation. He says the government of President Akufo Addo plans to execute projects to lift the nation to the next level. The minister said they would be able to raise enough resources to fund their government’s ambitious programs in the 2019 Budget contrary to doubts by some analysts. Ken Ofori Atta enumerated that Ghana is expecting to raise $2billion from bond issued this year, the Sinohydro deal, the Minerals Act expected to securitize royalties from 500 million to 700 million dollars and Ghc1.8 billion annual GETFUND revenue to complete Education projects.
“One of the issues I’ve heard a lot about is the issue of whether we have the resources for these ambitious programs that we have taken and I just want to assure Honorable Members like we saw in the first three months we were able to one way or the other bring $2.25 billion dollars equivalent in cedis to support the work that we had to do when we came into power in the same vain this year we went to the market we were able to raise $ 2billion dollars which is the highest we’ve raised at the lowest interest rate with longest maturity and it was four times oversubscribed” he said.
“As you know Moodies has upgraded us to B+ so we are in a strong position. I think the Sinohydro deal, you all have seen what we are looking to do and I think the Vice President has negotiated very soundly so that resource envelope would also be available” the minister added.
The Finance Minister said Ghana is similarly fixated on Domestic Revenue mobilization vis-a-vis measures to curb leakages and corruption in the financial sector hence the allocation of Ghc180million to the Special Prosecutor to police the Public purse.
“the area we are going to need your help is the issue of domestic revenue mobilization which means we deal with GRA in a much more positive and aggressive way of profit to taxes and deal with corruption and that is why we put so much money behind Martin Amidu”.
According to him, next year is going to be a serious working year for Ghana’s economic takeoff.
“Next year is going to be a seriously working year with regards to making sure the leakages are out, implementing this roll outs of infrastructure and industrialization which is another billion dollars we are looking to put behind so that we truly take off as a country”.
Ghana’s 2019 budget is anchored on strategic pillars of infrastructure expansion, Agriculture modernization, industrialization, Entrepreneurship, Improving Efficiency in Revenue Mobilization and Protecting the Public Purse as well as Social Interventions.
Cameroon:Significant Course Of Correction Needed To Avoid State Collapse-Dr Chris Fomunyoh
November 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
The president of The Fomunyoh Foundation (TFF), Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh has expressed concerns over the process and outcome of the recent presidential elections in Cameroon. In a strongly worded statement issued today, Dr Fomunyoh, a highly respected expert on democracy and electoral matters in Africa said, while the efforts of the citizens and candidates were commendable, it was regrettable that their hopes for genuine democracy and meaningful change through the ballot box did not materialize, putting the legitimacy of the presidential election in question.
In a previous statement released in July, Fomunyoh had shared concerns on the political and security environment in the country, and categorically stated that the country was ill-prepared for the poll. He had also said the handling of the whole electoral process had left many Cameroonian wondering about the impact of these polls and the future of democracy in the country. This included concerns about the inability to conduct elections in the Anglophone regions of the North West, and South West; the lack of transparency in the tabulation and transmission of election results nationally; the contentious litigation of electoral disputes, and lack of unanimous acceptance of results.
He lamented that the killings in the Anglophone regions continue unabated, and every additional loss of life deepens the pain and suffering and further undermines prospects for national reconciliation. He added that the legitimacy of the presidential election outcome is contested by the main opposition candidate and many Cameroonians.
“Cameroon is more divided, more polarized, more fragile and more insecure than ever before in its modern history. Despite the legal trappings of today’s government, its legitimacy is seriously questioned by millions of our fellow compatriots and friends of Cameroon across the world. The credibility of many of our key institutions, including the newly established Constitutional Council, is at stake. Force, physical violence, hate speech, and ethnic stigmatization have become instruments of choice in public discourse and impact negatively interactions between state authorities and civilian populations,” Fomunyoh said
He however, demanded a significant course of correction to avoid more violence, further disintegration, and eventual state collapse. He concluded his statement by the submission of a ten point recommendations saying,
On Peace and Security: We need a holistic, comprehensive approach to stop the killings.
1) Release all political prisoners and detainees not charged with violent crimes and held solely because of the Anglophone crisis, and create an enabling environment for high-level, genuine dialogue to seek long lasting solutions.
2) Order an immediate ceasefire and lift curfews in the North West and South West regions to restore normalcy, enable youth to resume gainful employment, and facilitate the return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees.
3) Stop immediately the killings and destruction of property in Anglophone regions, and all forms of violence against civilians and security personnel.
On Elections: The contested legitimacy of the electoral outcome cannot be ignored.
4) To dissipate the lingering cloud of illegitimacy over the election results, commit an international reputable auditing firm such as Price Waterhouse Cooper or Deloitte & Touche to conduct a technical audit of ELECAM documents related to the October 2018 presidential poll.
5) Make public the findings of such international audit in order to restore confidence in elections and the institutions in charge of electoral administration and oversight.
6) Launch immediately a high level Ad Hoc Committee on reforms to review the Constitution, election laws and other legal instruments, and propose by a set deadline recommendations on major reforms that must be undertaken in all sectors.
7) Assign the chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Reform Committee to an independent, seasoned, and well respected jurist with an in-depth understanding of democratic governance processes.
8) Commit to implementing the reforms as soon as they are enacted, and prior to any further elections at the local, regional or national levels.
9) Under the new electoral framework to emerge from the Ad Hoc Reform Committee, organize early presidential elections that would allow for more transparent and credible polls whose legitimacy will not be questioned.
10) Avoid the manipulation of security and administrative services and pull back the country from the negative spiral of hate speech, ethnic stigmatization, violence and harassment of independent professionals, notably journalists, lawyers and teachers, who are pillars of every democratic society.
“I call on the government to take concrete measures to regain peace, rebuild the country’s reputation and restore the dignity of Cameroonians. This requires extraordinary steps, including those listed above, to address head-on the multiple crises we confront at this time,” Fomunyoh concluded his statement.
Fomunyoh who also doubles as Senior Associate and Regional Director for Africa and that Washington DC ,based National Democratic Institute is one of the first high profile opinion leaders to share proposals on the way forward for Cameroon as post-election tensions persist. Though he has resisted calls to run for President himself, many in Cameroon today think that he may be one of those with right pedigree to play a mediating role in federating opinions as the country faces unprecedented crisis.
Elections 2019: factors and projections
November 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Edwin Madunagu*
The most important factor in the coming elections is that Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a powerful chief executive of state, is a candidate. He is seeking re-election into the office of President. That this is not a trivial or idle observation can be seen from a recent historical contrast, namely, that in the 2015 general elections, Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent President, was not the most important factor in those contests. He was not the most important factor because he was a weak chief executive of state at the time of the contests and in the period of preparations for them.
To steer clear of mystification I propose that to be powerful in the context of our discussion is to be in relatively firm control of one’s political/electoral platform and the critical institutions of state, especially those of “law and order”; it is to be in power and not be afraid or reluctant to deploy it or sluggish in deploying it. The historical contrast we are sketching is that in the period preceding, and during the 2015 general elections President Jonathan had lost control of both his party and the critical institutions of state. You cannot deploy what you do not control. To attempt to do so is taking a grave risk. But in the current corresponding period President Buhari appears to be in firm control of party and state—at least up to the time of writing this essay. And beyond this, he has demonstrated that he is not afraid to deploy the forces under his control.
Another important factor in Election 2019 was the wisdom or sheer luck of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in electing Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate. All the contestants in the party’s presidential primary election were obviously qualified in the context of the existing social order, political culture and dominant morality in Nigeria. But Atiku’s candidacy—judging by his political antecedents—appeared most likely to attract the widest and largest support possible for the party. Again, to demonstrate that this is not an idle, opportunistic, after-the-fact wisdom it will be enough to recall that in the 2015 presidential election, it was widely appreciated that the PDP candidate and incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, was not the best the party could offer—given both the dominant political culture and the political conjuncture at the time.
On the contrary, in the 2015 presidential election, the newly-formed All Progressives Congress (APC) put forward its best: General Muhammadu Buhari. We must here, as always, not forget that the dominant, if not the sole consideration of the main ruling-class contestants and their platforms was what to do to win. That remains their dominant or sole consideration in the present contest. And should any reader respond that the need to win has always been the dominant or sole aim of all contestants—Right or Left—in all modern elections, I would so No: The Nigerian Left has never, fortunately or unfortunately, consciously put electoral or non-electoral victory as a realizable political objective. And yet, as an interested researcher would discover, committed leaders and cadres of the Nigerian Left had made huge selfless sacrifices in every general election since independence.
A couple of weeks ago, a Nigerian state governor belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported in several media outlets to have predicted that although Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of his party, would defeat Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the latter would not be a “walk-over” in the contest. I found myself reflecting on this statement which must have been made out of frustration with political colleagues and assistants. In the course of my reflection, I brought out from vacation my concepts of “power blocs” and “political forces” in Nigeria’s contemporary political struggle—which, we must not forget, is completely dominated by the ruling class.
Only a number of reminders or explanatory notes need be summarized and inserted here. One: Nigeria’s power blocs and political forces developed from Nigeria’s ruling class, and are of the ruling class. Two: Political forces are “mini” power blocs which—being historically determined—may or may not develop into full-blown power blocs. Three: Power blocs and political forces are different from, and deeper than political parties. Four: There are only two power blocs in Nigeria, and this has been so since the end of the Civil War (1967-1970). Five: The centre of gravity of one of the power blocs is located in the north of the country while that of the other is located in the south. Six: Only an effective political intervention of the Nigerian Left can begin to dissolve these divisions or render them impotent or irrelevant.
We are not now in a position to see and appreciate what exactly led the state governor to make the statement attributed to him. But starting from that statement we may move in different directions to endorse or dismiss it.
I have chosen to employ the concepts of power blocs and political forces to endorse a revised version of the governor’s statement. That revised version is simply that neither Buhari nor Atiku would be a “push-over” in the coming presidential election. Further broken down, this revised version means that Buhari and Atiku would be the main presidential candidates and that the contest between them would be tough and tight. And the route I would suggest for endorsing that double statement is through an examination of the ongoing contest between Buhari and Atiku in each of the two power blocs and in the main political forces. We remind ourselves again that these power blocs and political forces are ruling class blocs and forces.
Starting from the last couple of months the most important preludes to Elections 2019 can be listed to include political defections, separations, combinations, re-alignments; governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States; enactment of electoral laws; registration of voters, distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards; compilation of voters’ registers, determination and designation of voting centres; conduct of party primaries to elect candidates; further defections in response to party primaries; maintenance of “law and order” by judicial, armed and unarmed institutions and agents of the state in response to actual breakdowns or in anticipation of breakdowns; and continuous political struggles of different forms and at different levels.
The different forms that the political struggle now assumes and the different levels at which it is waged include intra-party, inter-party, state-civil, intra-state, armed and unarmed, above-ground and underground. Also, to be listed is what is now known as “executive orders” of the president and of the presidency. In all these struggles (waged directly and through “preludes” listed above), money—in immediately usable currencies and in large, very large, volumes—is a primary and powerful weapon, second in overwhelming potency only to state power.
That a party and a candidate can lose an election even with superiority in these two forces—money and state power—proves that there is a limit to what either of them or even a combination of them can be used to do or ordered to do. And that an incumbent government can be effectively challenged in the control and deployment of the two forces is a powerful corollary. Do we need to add that these lessons are more important and useful to the Nigerian Left than to the factions, power blocs and political forces of Nigeria’s ruling class?
*Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
How Ghana made itself the African home for a return of the black diaspora
November 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
In a recently released music video, Fuse ODG and Damian Marley (Bob Marley’s youngest son) explore the themes of slavery, colonialism, black pride and modern day police brutality. ‘Bra Fie’(which translates from the Ghanaian language Akan as “Come Home”) is an Afrobeats tune that harks back to the pan-Africanist themes of some of the older Marley’s anthemic hits. But it could also be a soundtrack for a potential wave of “homecoming” to Ghana for people of African descent.
August 2019 will make it 400 years since the anchoring of an English ship in Jamestown, Virginia carrying a small group of enslaved Africans. While African slaves had been in other parts of the Americas region (including the United States) before 1619, that year is widely regarded as the commencement of the African slave trade to North America.
When Brazil became the last country to abolish the slave trade in 1888, an estimated 17 million African women and men had been seized from the continent and transported to plantations across the Americas—a conservative figure that UNESCO admits excludes the many who died on the way and were thrown into the high seas. Many of the enslaved Africans came from West Africa and the present-day nation of Ghana was a significant place of origin. To mark the landmark anniversary, Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo in October, declared 2019 as “The Year of Return”, launching a series of programs that would seek to encourage people of African ancestry to make the“birthright journey home for the global African family.” The idea of a homecoming of “our brothers and sisters” who were taken away is one that Ghana has long fancied and championed.
Birth of a Nation
Right from the founding of the modern nation, early Ghanaian leaders led by the first president Kwame Nkrumah preached pan-Africanism, one that transcended the shores of continental Africa. As a student in 1930s and 1940s America, Nkrumah saw at first hand the racism black Americans endured and it radicalized his own consciousness about Africanness and blackness. In some ways, it was a driving force for him to return home in 1947 and eventually become the lead architect of Ghana’s independence—the first sub-Saharan African country to break free from European colonialism.
The civil rights movement in the United States was also at its height and many black American leaders at the time felt a connection to this new black African country that had gained self-determination in a largely peaceful manner. Leading civil rights leaders including Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, Ralph Bunche (the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950) and Mordecai Johnson (the first African American president of Howard University) attended Ghana’s Independence Day celebration on Mar. 6, 1957.
Nkrumah and Ghana made a huge impression on Martin Luther King, which later inspired one of his famous sermons “Birth of a Nation’upon his return to the US. Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali also made high profile visits to the country years later. The black star on the national flag is inspired by the Black Star Line shipping company founded by pan-Africanist orator Marcus Garvey, which had the grand ambition of facilitating the return of African Americans to the motherland.
Accra has also been home to black American thinkers and exiles such as Maya Angelou (for three years along with her son Guy), Sylvia Boone (the first tenured black woman professor at Yale University), Julian Mayfield, W.E.B Du Bois and George Padmore, all of whom lived and worked in Ghana. Du Bois and Padmore are buried in the city and their homes are now public libraries.
But even before this period, Accra had long been home to the Tabon people, a group of African slaves in Brazil who returned after a popular slave rebellion. The Tabons arrived in Accra in 1820s and 1830s and their descendants have fully assimilated into Ghanaian social and political life.
Positioning Ghana as the home of global Africa and the place for a spiritual journey of self-discovery has been an idea promoted by governments since Nkrumah. The country has been host to the biennale PANAFEST/Emancipation Day celebration since 1992 and in 2001, the Right of Abode law was passed, giving anybody of African ancestry in the Americas, the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. On the occasion of Ghana’s 50th independence anniversary in 2007, the Joseph Project was launched to also encourage the descendants of enslaved Africans to return. In December 2016, 34 ‘returnees’ became Ghanaians in a naturalization ceremony attended by then president John Mahama. “I have only restored to you what rightfully belongs to you and was painfully taken away,” president Mahama said after handing out the naturalization certificates.
Dr Ọbádélé Kambon was one of the 34 and has lived in Ghana for 10 years. He first came to Ghana for a visit in 1998 with his mother, Dr Mawiyah Kambon who first came to Ghana in 1972 after adopting the Akan traditional spiritual system. “Back in the 1960s, many of us came to understand that we are not white people so why should we have white names? My parents had that level of consciousness before my birth so they decided to give me the name Ọbádélé which translates from Yoruba as ‘the king arrives [or returns] home,’” he says.
After some years teaching in tertiary institutions in Chicago, Kambon moved to Ghana in 2008 and started his doctoral studies in linguisticsin 2009 at the University of Ghana, where he now teaches at its Institute of African Studies. He is a near native speaker of Akan (Ghana and Ivory Coast) and Yoruba (Nigeria, Benin), proficient in Wolof (Senegal, Gambia) and has some level of competency in Kiswahili (East Africa) and Kikôngo (Angola, DR Congo and Congo Republic).
Kambon, 39, puts Ghana’s hegemony as the home of black people, down to better packaging compared to some of its neighbours. Just like the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Ghana has the infrastructure to back its narrative—by way of the well preserved European slave forts and castles on the coast, where captured women and men were loaded onto ships, never to return home. The visibility of the castles have increased following recent high profile, emotional visits by the Obamas, CNN’s Don Lemon and Colin Kaepernick.
“Freedom from fear”
While this is not the first time Ghana is seeking to encourage a return, the rising popularity of ancestry DNA tests coinciding with police brutality and the reawakening of white nationalism have rekindled a desire with some African Americans to more about their roots now more than ever.
Kambon feels there are advantages to moving to Ghana, telling the story of a friend who had also moved to Ghana. “He said, ‘This is what it must feel like to be white in America”. You’re able to walk around freely, nobody is going to do something to you just because you are black because everybody around you is black. In the US, police come around you and your heart skips a beat, here, there is a level of freedom from fear that can’t be purchased.”
The official policy of welcoming returnees has been backed largely by local attitudes. While there is an awareness of the otherness of returnees, Kambon says many ordinary Ghanaians see him as one of them. His ability to speak a local language and his adherence to the Akan traditional spiritual system has particularly endeared him to local chiefs. Kambon (just like famous returnee Rita Marley) has even been enstooled in a chiefdom in eastern Ghana where he bears the title “ruler of the rearguard.”
Aside from sentimental reasons, the return of the African diaspora is economically pragmatic for Ghana. The tourism ministry is coordinating activities for The Year of Return along with private agencies and it hopes the pilgrimages will boost tourism in Ghana. Tourism could add $5 billion to Ghana’s economy by 2027, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council [pdf p.5] and this is a prospect the government is looking to explore. The government is also not losing sight of the investment potential and human capital of the highly educated “returnees” like Kambon, who decide to move permanently to Ghana.
For 21 years, he and his mother have been organizing return tours to give people a feel of life in Ghana. Kambon says he has received about 60 consultations on repatriation to Ghana in recent weeks, however he always advises using an Akan proverb that translates as “A person doesn’t use their two feet to measure the depth of the river” to encourage short visits before making the final decision to move.
*Culled from Quartz Africa
A Year Without Mugabe: Is Zimbabwe Progressing or Regressing?
November 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
On November 14 2017, at sunset, military tanks were seen rolling into Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The first people to catch glimpses of the military tanks quickly took snapshots and went onto their social media platforms to post the news. In less than an hour, the news of the military tanks rolling into the capital had reached most parts of the country. In the following minutes and hours, rumours started to do rounds both online and offline with regards to the military tanks. No one among the civilians and the media knew exactly what was happening.
It was only in the early hours of November 15, 2017, that the whole of Zimbabwe and indeed the world came to know why military tanks had stationed in the capital city when the then Major-General Sibusiso Moyo appeared on national television announcing that President Mugabe was confined to his home but is safe and sound. According to Moyo, the reason why military tanks had rolled into the capital city was to arrest ‘criminals’ surrounding the president (Robert Mugabe).
Soon after the announcement by Major-General Moyo, there was delirium among Zimbabwean citizens. The country was in a state of joy in the aftermath with thousands attending a mass protest on November the 18th demanding Robert Mugabe to resign. A few days later, the unthinkable happened, the 37-year rule of Mugabe came to an end. For the first time since the country’s independence in 1980, Zimbabwe would be having a new president. The man chosen to replace Mugabe was his former aide in Emmerson Mnangagwa who had been in government since 1980 serving different portfolios from the Ministry of Justice to heading the country’s intelligence organization.
Thousands thronged the National Sports Stadium when Mugabe’s replacement, Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as the country’s new president on November 24 2017. Among those who attended were the country’s main opposition leaders in (the late) Morgan Tsvangirai and his then deputy who is now the leader of the opposition Nelson Chamisa. Everyone in the country saw this as a new dawn and as Mnangagwa said on his inauguration, it was a ‘new dispensation’.
One year later after his inauguration, Mnangagwa’s stock has sharply declined (in spite of him winning the presidential election). In many quarters, the fall in Mnangagwa’s stock signifies the regression of the country ever since he took power. Below, let’s explore some of the key factors which played a huge role in Mnangagwa’s decline.
Failure to Foster Unity
When Mnangagwa preached about the start of a new dawn, many people thought that he would start by apologizing for the wrongs he did in the past. During the early years after independence, hundreds if not thousands of people from Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland and Midlands region were butchered by the military and the state security agents. At the time, Mnangagwa was the country’s head of the intelligence sector and as such, was viewed to be part and parcel of those who orchestrated the massacre. However, Mnangagwa has proclaimed his innocence ever since despite overwhelming evidence suggesting he played a key role in the massacre. With everyone expecting him to acknowledge and apologize for his part in the massacre, Mnangagwa decided to preach ‘letting bygones be bygones’. This angered a large section of people from Matabeleland and Midlands who simply see him as a man who cannot reform and as such a man who cannot unify the nation.
Reluctance to Be Tough On Corruption
In the last decade, Zimbabwe has become a haven for looters with most of these being government officials. It was therefore expected by many that one of Mnangagwa’s first priorities would be to go tough on corruption to win the love and support of the ordinary man. However, soon after his inauguration, Mnangagwa decided to appoint as ministers some officials who are widely considered to be corrupt. This angered the nation. While he managed to dumb some of them later on when he made his cabinet selection after winning the presidential election in July, the nonexistence of any top government official to be convicted suggests that Mnangagwa does not want or fears imprisoning those that he ‘ate’ with.
One of the things which widened the rift between citizens and Mugabe was that Mugabe was seen as detached from the struggles of the majority. While this on paper would seem to be a simple thing to rectify for Mnangagwa, the opposite has happened to this day. Just to illustrate this, Mnangagwa forked out over a million dollars to hire a private jet to fly in the former first lady when her mother died. However, some weeks later when the nation was facing a deadly cholera crisis, the Mnangagwa administration managed to ‘chip in’ with a paltry $100,000.
Issue of Human Rights
One of the main reasons cited by the US and other western countries and organizations when they slapped Zimbabwe with sanctions was that Robert Mugabe failed to respect human rights. This, therefore, meant Mnangagwa had a perfect chance to paint himself in a positive way by just taking the necessary steps to respect human rights. However, the August 1 events and the subsequent setting up of a farcical commission just dampened his claims of being a reformist and a respecter of human rights.
On the Bright Side
Re-engagements Paying Off
At his inauguration, Mnangagwa said that he will be prioritizing reengagement as he wants Zimbabwe to start building relationships with the countries that it had frosty relations with in the past. True to his word, Mnangagwa went on a diplomatic offensive charming western nations and organizations to start seeing Zimbabwe in a positive way. Countries such as the US, Britain, Australia and others that previously had not sent official delegations to Zimbabwe in years were able to send some top-level delegations.
Eritrea breakthrough as UN sanctions lifted
November 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
The UN Security Council has unanimously agreed to lift sanctions against Eritrea after nine years.
An arms embargo, asset freeze, and travel ban were imposed in 2009 amid claims Eritrea supported al-Shabab militants in Somalia. Eritrea always denied the accusations.
The resolution, drafted by the UK, was backed by the US and its allies.
The UN vote comes amid a thaw in relations between Eritrea and its neighbours following years of conflict.
BBC World Service Africa editor Mary Harper says the politically repressive state had long been a global pariah, and was likened by some commentators to North Korea.
Eritrea agreed a peace deal with Ethiopia in June following two decades of animosity, while the leader of Eritrea and the UN-backed government in Somalia recently signed a joint cooperation agreement.
Why were sanctions imposed?
The resolution, backed by 13 votes in favour, was passed after the UN Security Council accused Eritrea of arming, training and equipping armed groups including al-Shabab.
The UN had frequently expressed concern about the flow of weapons into Somalia, where Islamist militants were battling government forces for control of the capital Mogadishu.
Eritrea has also been criticised for human rights abuses and mandatory national service conscription, which has led to tens of thousands of young Eritreans fleeing the country for Europe.
The asset freezes and travel ban affected individuals and businesses, as well as the Eritrean leadership.
However, the Council members now quote experts as saying there was no proof Eritrea backed al-Shabab.
What does Eritrea say?
The Eritrean government has always denied supporting al-Shabab militants, calling the claim a “fabrication” created by US intelligence officials. Ethiopia is a close ally of the US, especially in the fight against al-Shabab.
When they were imposed, Araya Desta, Eritrea’s ambassador to the UN, dismissed the sanctions as “ludicrous punitive measures”.
Eritrea occupies a strategic location on the Red Sea, which connects Europe, Africa and the East. However, its economy has suffered after years of sanctions.
The Eritrean government now says it wants compensation for the sanctions, which it insists were politically motivated.
How peace has broken out in the Horn of Africa
By Emmanuel Igunza, BBC News, Addis Ababa
Since the sanctions were imposed, Eritrea has lobbied and fought hard against them. But three times over that period, the UN Security Council has always voted to maintain them, claiming the country was a destabilising factor in the Horn of Africa region.
But all that seems to have changed after Eritrea signed a landmark agreement with Ethiopia in June, committing to end a bitter two-decade dispute.
Since then, diplomatic ties have resumed and both air and land transport between the two countries have re-opened.
The bromance between Ethiopian’s new reformist leader Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Aferweki seems to have rubbed on neighbouring leaders.
Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia have now signed a joint agreement of cooperation, and leaders of the three countries have met personally on three different occasions this year – something that hadn’t happened in years.
Relations between Eritrea and Djibouti are also thawing after years of a border dispute. There is now even an ambitious talk of the Horn of Africa countries forming an economic bloc of sorts.
Many analysts believe that there are still many issues like the border disputes to resolve before that can be achieved, but so far leaders of the region are daring to believe.
Africa Investment Forum 2018: a new bold vision tilts capital flows into Africa
November 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Forum highlighted a solid pipeline of projects and wealth of opportunities ready for investors
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 14, 2018/ — “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others,” a saying goes. When African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) President Akinwumi Adesina laid out his vision to tilt the flow of capital into Africa by convening the first transaction-based investment forum, many did not see what was coming ahead.
One year down the road, the verdict is undisputed.
The three-day Africa Investment Forum ended November 9th in the South African capital exceeding the expectations of its conveners – The African Development Bank. Beyond participants’ commendations, a preliminary review of the meeting leaves room for much optimism.
The Forum highlighted a solid pipeline of projects and wealth of opportunities ready for investors. After a final review of all Boardroom projects, investor interest stood at close to US$40 billion, the organizers said Wednesday.
Close to 300 institutional investors from 53 countries, including 23 non-African countries gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa from 7-9 November for the inaugural event.
“Africa is ahead of its time. Business as usual is no longer the norm…from now on it will be Business unusual. All is now set for global and regional investments to make a smooth landing into Africa. The Africa Investment Forum has turned the tide of investment into the continent,” Adesina said.
The value of boardroom projects tabled for discussion during the Forum stood at US$47 billion, up from US$40.4 billion announced on the eve of the closing. The updated figures following a final review indicated that investment interest was secured for 49 projects worth US$38.7 billion, up from US$32 billion
The projects ranged in diversity from infrastructure, Energy, Transport and Utilities, Industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, Water and Sanitation, Funds/financial Services, Health, Education, Hospitality and Tourism, Housing, and Aviation. A total of 169 bilateral meetings took place in the Marketplace boardrooms. In addition, open marketplace B2B conversations went on throughout the three days.
Notable among the deals which secured investor interest are:
In the energy sector, 400 delegates convened for focused deliberations on regulations and policy issues for the construction of the second phase of a 450 MW Power Plant in Tunisia worth US$440 million. Agreements were reached on a number of action plans designed to accelerate regulatory reforms and to unlock bottlenecks that will help facilitate investments in a sector with a potential value of US$70 billion.
In Africa’s transportation and logistics sector, a major milestone was reached with the launch of “THELO DB,” a new partnership between THELO SA (of South Africa) and DEUTSCHE BAHN (of Germany). The partnership intervenes in the critical railway sector of Africa’s economy, which has an annual deficit of around US$62 billion.
A total of 1,914 out of 2,200 registered delegates attended the event, signifying strong interest in the Forum.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa; President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea; President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana attended the Forum. Other officials included the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo; the Prime Ministers of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente and Cameroon, Philémon Yang, as well as ministers representing the Kingdom of Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Niger, and Gabon. In attendance also were Governors and Board members of the African Development Bank.
The main goal of the Africa Investment Forum is to catalyze investments into the continent through a unique marketplace platform designed to advance projects to bankable stages, raise capital, and accelerate the financial closure of deals.
Ringing endorsements came in from investors, multilateral development heads and key stakeholders. When a panel of investors and project sponsors was asked by African Development Bank Communication Director Victor Oladokun what they would change during the next Forum, the consensus was that the event had already achieved what it set out to do. For the first time ever, a platform had brought together all critical players under one roof – investors, project sponsors and government leaders.
According to Basil El Baz, CEO of Carbon Holdings, “I have never seen a conference like this. To the organizers, I say do not change a thing. Keep doing exactly what you are doing.”
Global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank, Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, partnered with the African Development Bank to form a solid and strategic alliance around the new initiative.
The next edition of the Africa Investment Forum will take place in November 2019.
I Ran for President in Cameroon. Here is What I Learnt
November 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Biya won disputed elections on 7 October amidst rising unrest in Cameroon
By Akere T. Muna
On 6 November, Paul Biya was inaugurated for the seventh time. The 85-year-old has already been in power for the last 36 years and will now serve another seven-year term.
President Biya won disputed elections on 7 October amidst rising unrest in Cameroon. The country is divided into the Francophone area – which makes up four-fifths of territory – and the smaller Anglophone area. In the last two years, the latter region has been in a situation just short of civil war.
Over the decades since unification, the Anglophone regions have been increasingly dominated (https://bit.ly/2DDukwx) and felt resentful. This led to a movement that, in 2016, began by holding strikes and peaceful demonstrations. Activists called for the restoration of the English-speaking education and judicial system.
The government responded with furious repression and shut down any discussions about federalism. This led to a spiralling crisis. Today, the talk is about secession, while the conflict has become bloody. There are now over 300,000 internally displaced persons and more than 40,000 refugees in Nigeria. At least 90 villages have been razed, while over 400 civilians have been killed and thousands more wounded. 40% of Cameroon’s revenue derives from the Anglophone regions, but the local economy has been deeply undermined by the insecurity.
This is the context in which Cameroon’s elections were held last month. In theory, this exercise was an opportunity for citizens to shape the direction of the nation. But the reality is very different.
The body that organises Cameroon’s elections is supposedly autonomous, but all its members are appointed by the president and can be removed at will. All electoral disputes are settled by the Constitutional Council, but all its members are also appointed by the president. The Minister of Territorial Administration, another presidential appointee, handles all other administrative issues connected with elections.
In Cameroon, the voting system is first-past-the-post and uses multiple ballots. Voters are given papers for all the candidates and then cast their vote by putting their favoured nominee into the ballot box. This means they can leave the booth with the papers of the other candidates, allowing vote-buyers the ability to check how people voted. Calls to adopt a single ballot paper system have been ignored.
For presidential hopefuls, getting onto the ballot in the first place is challenging. Nominees must pay around $60,000 to submit their candidacies. They must either be endorsed by a party with at least one elected official or, if running as an independent, produce at least 300 signatures from specific kinds of dignitaries from every region.
In the elections themselves, there are close to 25,000 polling stations. What candidate can field representatives in each of these locations? The official campaign period lasts two weeks and it is illegal to campaign before this period. How can one visit 360 districts in just 14 days? The presidential campaign team, which includes ministers and other dignitaries, travels the country at the expense of the state, meaning the playing field is nowhere near level. Meanwhile, the state media turns into the ruling party’s propaganda machine.
Despite the very high hurdles, however, I decided to run for president. I have spent the last 25 years defending good governance and fighting corruption. In 2000, at a time Cameroon was accused of being the most corrupt country in the world, I founded the national chapter of international anti-corruption NGO Transparency International. Needless to say, this earned me the ire of the establishment. I went on to work for bodies such as the African Development Bank and High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa.
In this time, I watched as my country steadily moved in the wrong direction. And with the worsening situation in the Anglophone regions threatening to pull apart the fabric of our nation, a sense of responsibility weighed on my soul. I knew that I had to put my experience at the service of our citizens and attack the issues at their source – the system.
In the end, though, I withdrew my candidacy and backed Maurice Kamto. There is nowhere in African where the opposition has removed a dictator like Biya without presenting a common front. In Cameroon, the remaining eight candidates held some further meetings, but never met once together as a group. This meant that there was no single opposition candidate. This fact discouraged voters who concluded it was a waste of time.
In the final tally, Biya officially won with 71.28%. Kamto came second with 14.23%. But there were reports of massive fraud. The absence of opposition officials at many polling stations allowed the stuffing of ballot boxes. An incomplete biometric system meant that certain people voted multiple times.
The legal challenge against the election results that followed exposed the Constitutional Council as political institution. This all played out on national television and many citizens, for the first time, witnessed the fraud that cripples our electoral process.
The danger that Cameroon now faces is that its elections’ lack of credibility could lead voters to question the need to participate. And if electoral justice becomes captured by politics and hence incapable of addressing issues raised by the proper, the streets will take over. Since the presidential elections, there have been demonstrations against what has been described as a faulted political process. These demonstrations have been relayed to the Diaspora in Europe and America.
Cameroon needs to design an adequate electoral system. It is essential to make reforms so that the individual controlling the process is not also a player in it. This year, Cameroons saw first-hand the effects of a lopsided system. If the electoral playing field is not evened out then the country risks being stuck in an interminable loop created by a government for the government. Cameroonians will only stand for this so long. Till then, Cameroon remains a state captured by a few oligarchs.
A Call For Compassion: An Open Letter To Mrs. Chantal Biya
November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ethiopia avails to all African travelers visa on-line and on-arrival Service
November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Ethiopia has launched visa on arrival service for all African travelers as of November 1, 2018. The service was launched at a colorful ceremony held at the headquarters of the African Union Commission in the presence of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Ethiopian high government officials, African Ambassadors residing in Addis Ababa, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, invited guests and media.
Addressing the gathering, Ethiopian Group CEO Mr Tewolde Gebremariam said, “It is truly an honor and a special privilege to witness this historical and truly inspirational day. Ethiopian Airlines has been bringing Africa together and closer to the world for over 7 decades. Today, Ethiopian flies to 60 African destinations and connects the continent to over 50 major international cities in 5 continents. Visa on arrival for fellow African brothers and sisters and more importantly, visa online will greatly boost cross-border tourism, trade and investment, further deepening African integration.”
Throughout its seventy plus years of service, the pan-African carrier Ethiopian Airlines has been bringing Africa together and closer to the world. Thanks to its unwavering commitments and efforts to bridge the air connectivity vacuum in the African skies, today Ethiopian serves 59 cities across the continent, commanding the lion’s share of the intra-African network.
It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department, in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines, launched an e-visa service for all international visitors to Ethiopia in June.
“This is a watershed moment for Africa.” Deputy Chairperson shares insights on the ongoing financial reforms of the Union.
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
African Union Headquarters; 12th November 2018: At 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018, a budget of US$681,485,337 was approved for the financial year 2019. The budget covers three components operational, programme and peace support operations. The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Amb. Kwesi Quartey, shares the five key takeaways of the adoption of the 2019 budget in what he describes as a watershed moment for Africa.
1. Give us a brief on the 2019 budget of the Union.
Amb. Kwesi; The Assembly of the Union adopted the 2019 budget for the Union at a total of US$681,485,337 at the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018. This amount reflects a significant decrease of the annual budget by 12%, compared to the 2018 budget. It is also a reflection that the share of AU member states financing the budget has substantially increased compared to the partner funding in previous years. If you look at the 2019 budget, excluding the peace support operations, member states will contribute 66% of the budget while 34% is expected to be secured from our development Partners.
This increase of member states contribution has come about by implementing the decision on financing of the Union to fund the activities and agenda of the Union. Through this mechanism, we can see that the continent is gradually realizing its vision of reliable, predictable and sustainable funding of its agenda. The 2019 budget also demonstrates an enhanced process of domestic resources mobilization but most importantly, stringent measures are now in place to ensure the prudent use of these resources to meet the development needs of our Continent
The breakdown of the 2019 budget is as follows; US$161.4 million will go into financing the operational budget of the Union, US$252.8 million will go into the program budget while US$273.3 million will finance Peace Support operations.
2. The preparation of the 2019 budget is said to be significantly different from the previous budget preparations, why is that?
Amb. Kwesi; Yes, the 2019 budget is different because the Union has adopted new ways of programme planning and budget process, to ensure greater accountability in line with the implementation of the decision of Financing on the Union.
This is the first time we had joint sittings of the AU Commission and organs, the Committee of Finance Ministers (F15) technical experts and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee sub-Committees of General Supervision and Coordination on Budget, Finance and Administrative matters and of Programs and Conferences, to prepare the budget. The preparation took about five weeks consecutively, looking carefully at the budget of each spending unit of the Union to ensure it complied with the nine golden rules.
During the 2019 budget, we also introduced the budget ceilings for departments and organs based on their track record on prudent execution rate, the ability to reach their targets and aligning their programmes strictly, to the priorities of the Union. This will greatly enhance the budget execution and ensure the expenditure is linked to results.
These joint sittings were also held at the ministerial level by the Committee of Ministers of Finance (F15) before the budget was presented to the Executive Council and the Assembly for adoption. The Committee of Ministers of Finance has since assumed responsibility for oversight of the African Union budget and Reserve Fund.
Related article- Financial reforms at the African Union lead to massive cuts of the Union’s Budget. https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20180706/financial-reforms-african-union…
3. You have made reference to the nine golden rules, tell us more about that.
Amb. Kwesi; The nine golden rules are financial management and accountability principles adopted by the Assembly of the Union in January 2018. These rules are meant to ensure financial discipline within the Union to enable us decisively address issues of low execution rates, identify undetected wastages and instances of over-budgeting by departments or organs, as well as ensure full compliance with the African Union financial rules and regulations.
So far, we have fully implemented four of the nine golden rules. There is an interlinking factor on the application of all the nine rules with the progress in the implementation of the decision on financing of the Union and therefore we will soon have the other five rules applied.
The nine golden rules speak to the fact that;
a) Member states’ contributions should cover a minimum threshold of the budget to ensure the Union’s self-sufficiency and sustainability, thereby decreasing dependence on external funding.
b) The rules recognize the need for major changes to be effected to ensure revenues are predictable. This touches on elements such as the full payment of assessed contributions by Member States and partners’ contribution, for the revenue streams to be centrally coordinated.
c) The rules also speak to the credibility of the AU budgeting system which must be based on a fully integrated and automated financial management system.
d) As I mentioned earlier, one of the rules is the annual budget ceiling which is communicated to department and organs before they submit their budget proposals.
e) Also, it is important that expenditure must at all times, be authorized for virements, surplus budgets and spending that exceeds approved budgets.
f) Another key rule, is seeing to it that resource flows and transactions are reliable and efficient. Funds must be provided to departments and organs in the agreed amounts at the agreed times.
g) Institutional accountability is of utmost importance, to ensure the flow of funds is tracked to service delivery units. This requires the harmonization of all the different management systems we use.
h) Reporting is also an integral part of the financial management process. The Financial Rules and Regulations requires that departments and organs report all activities for which funds have been received, as part of the compliance and quarterly performance reports.
i) Finally, there is also the aspect on centralizing the process for engaging partners to avoid unilateral engagements for partner funded programmes.
These rules are currently being translated into AU policy and procedures and will also be reflected in the AU’s updated Financial Rules and Procedures.
4. In regards to the decision on Financing of the Union, what is the progress on that since its adoption in 2016?
Amb. Kwesi; There is commendable progress in the collection of the 0.2% levy by member states. 11 of our member states paid their 2018 assessed contributions to the AU, either partially or in full, through the new financing arrangement. We have 24 States that are at various stages of domesticating the Kigali Decision on Financing the Union and of these, 14 are actually collecting the levy.
Let me also add that there is flexibility built into the implementation of the 0.2%. Member States have the ability to determine the appropriate form and the means they will use to implement the decision in line with their national and international obligations. It is for this reason that Member States that are, for example, members of the World Trade Organization have implemented the 0.2% levy without contravening their international trade obligations.
Also, as I mentioned earlier, the introduction of the golden rules and the joint sittings have provided stronger technical oversight of the AU budget.
Lastly, I think I would highlight the operationalization of the Peace Fund as a remarkable milestone. This year our Member States have contributed over US$55.9 million to the Peace Fund, which is the largest amount of money Member States have ever contributed to the Peace Fund since it was established in 1993.
5. What are your projections in advancing the ongoing financial reforms?
Amb. Kwesi; Looking at the progressive developments in Africa’s self-financing agenda, I believe this is a watershed moment for Africa. Our focus is to gradually move towards funding 100% of the Union’s operational budget, 75% of the programme budget and 25% of peace support operations by 2021, for the full ownership of the Union’s agenda.
We are working on revising the Scale of Assessment as currently, 48% of the Union’s budget is dependent on the contributions of only 5 member states under “Tier 1” of the scale of assessment. This presents clear risks to the stability of the budget. It is for this reason that in a meeting held in August 2017, Ministers of Finance recommended the introduction of ‘caps’ and ‘minima’ to our existing scale of assessment, in order to improve overall burden-sharing and risk reduction.
We also want to strengthen the sanctions regime for non-payment of contributions to ensure AU Member States payments are made on time. Under the current sanctions regimes, Member States non-payment are classified to be in default only if they are in arrears for two full years. This has led to a trend where about 33% of the assessed contributions are regularly held in arrears.
Finally, we are working towards developing a credible medium-term budget framework (2019-2021) based on revenue forecasts and capacity to spend. This will enable the Union to improve the credibility of its budget, strengthen financial management capacity and accountability and demonstrate value for money and results to its Member States. We are committed to ensure the highest standards of finance and budget management as well as seeing to it that we have a credible budget based on capacity to spend and proper revenue forecasts.
For more information, contact:
Ms. Doreen Apollos | Communication Advisor | Bureau of the Deputy Chairperson.
E-mail: ApollosD@africa-union.org | Tel: +251 115182737
Adesina shares vision to transform Africa through investment not aid
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opened the inaugural edition of the Africa Investment Forum on Thursday saying Africa was not only on the rise but Africa is on the move, referring to the continent as a destination for investments.
The Africa Investment Forum is an unprecedented gathering of pension funds, Sovereign wealth funds, capital markets, project sponsors, institutional and financial investors seeking to invest in Africa.
Describing Africa as the “next global frontier for investment,” Ramaphosa said: “May the deals be concluded. May we all be part of the deals that are going to be made here.”
Four African Heads of State – President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea; President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, made the trip to South Africa for the Forum. Other officials included the Vice President of Nigeria; the Prime Ministers of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente and Cameroon, Philémon Yang, as well as ministers representing the Kingdom of Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Niger, and Gabon. In attendance also were Governors and Board members of the African Development Bank.
In his opening remarks, Adesina lauded the “impressive gathering” of stakeholders, indicating that their “presence here shows you care about Africa, and that you have confidence to take up more investments in Africa.”
Giving an overview of existing opportunities in the power and agriculture sectors, President Adesina said: “we always asked what’s the next China after China? Well, appropriately, China figured it out. It’s Africa.”
He acknowledged that Africa has massive infrastructure deficits, from ports to railways, roads, energy, and information and communication technology infrastructure needed to spur its competitiveness in global markets. The African development bank estimates the continent has a financing gap of $68-108 billion per year for infrastructure.
Adesina said, “But it’s all about how you see it: a glass half empty or a glass half full. Let’s see the challenges as a glass half full. That means Africa has an investment opportunity of $68-108 billion a year for infrastructure alone.”
“Which continent will have consumer and business expenditures that reach $5.6 trillion in just 7 short years,” he added. “Don’t think far: think Africa!”
The power sector alone provides a US$30 billion annual investment opportunity, tapping into Africa’s vast resources of gas, solar, hydro, wind and geothermal. Huge investment opportunities abound to make Africa the leading region on renewable energy in the world.
The African Development Bank is spearheading the development of the Desert to Power to develop 10,000 MW of solar across the entire Sahel region. This will become the largest solar zone in the world.
At the Africa Investment Forum, 306 project transactions valued at US$208.8 billion have been developed. Over the next three days, 60 projects and deals worth US$40.4 billion will be discussed in Boardroom sessions by investors and promoters to fast track closure of deals or to remove policy and regulatory constraints to deal closure. An additional US$28 billion of projects will be showcased in “gallery walks” which have yet to move to boardroom investment conversations.
Over 330 investors will be in the Boardroom investment conversations and “I must say the demand by investors has been overwhelming, so much so that 92% of the investments Boardrooms have been oversubscribed.That’s remarkable for a first inaugural investment forum,” Adesina said.
The Africa Investment Forum is seeking to help reduce intermediation costs, improve the quality of project information and documentation, and increase active and productive engagements between African governments and the private sector.
The Forum will feature projects from various sectors such as energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation, funds and financial services, health, education, hospitality and tourism, housing, and aviation.
Solar Project in Senegal wins Phanes Group’s second Solar Incubator
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
International evaluation panel selected winning project for commercial and technical support from global solar company
Kigali, Rwanda – November 12, 2018: Phanes Group, an international end-to-end solar provider headquartered in Dubai, UAE, has announced Mr. Mbaye Hadj and his Gossas Solar Farm Project (30 MW) as the winner of the second edition of its Solar Incubator. The announcement was made at the “Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa” conference in Kigali, Rwanda, where three finalists presented their proposal to a panel of international industry experts from responsAbility, ECREEE, Hogan Lovells, Phanes Group, RINA, and African Development Bank.
“We are proud to announce Mr. Hadj as the winner of this year’s Solar Incubator. It was a difficult decision as we received a strong response of project proposals with the potential to positively impact their communities. Our experience now in the second year of the incubator encourages us to continue with this initiative because there is a great deal of local talent on the continent who have the potential to benefit from such a platform,” said Andrea Haupts, COO of Phanes Group.
Maintaining a long-term stake in the project, Mr. Hadj and Phanes Group will work collaboratively, aiming to bring the solar energy project to financial close. The Solar Incubator phase will kick off with an intensive face-to-face workshop for Mr. Hadj in Dubai, UAE, where he will work with Phanes Group’s team and its incubator partners to set the foundations to deliver a bankable project. During that phase, Mr. Hadj will gain access to commercial and technical know-how covered by experts from project finance, project development and execution, legal and CSR, followed by further remote mentoring sessions in the succeeding months.
“Ultimately, Mr. Hadj’s project convinced the evaluation panel not only with its strong CSR component but also with his knowledge and commitment to the region where he hails from. We believe in Mr. Hadj’s determination to bring his project to life in a challenging market environment, where our expertise and training can make a difference,” Mrs. Haupts added. “We look forward to welcoming him to Dubai, and want to encourage the other candidates to keep persevering in bringing their proposals to fruition, as everyone would have deserved to win.”
The goal of the Phanes Group Solar Incubator, held under the theme, “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future,” is to provide access to commercial and technical knowledge, and eventually funding, to promising PV projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and to help entrepreneurs overcome obstacles that could prevent solar initiatives from reaching fruition.
More About Phanes Group
Phanes Group is an international solar energy developer, investment and asset manager, strategically headquartered in Dubai with a local footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, through its office in Nigeria, the region’s largest economy. Cumulatively, the company’s global clean power contribution is in excess of 70 MW, with a further 1.5 GW in different development stages – including 227.5 MW of grid connected PV solar in Nigeria across three different projects.
Two of the three Nigerian projects are backed by among the Nigerian government’s 14 first solar PPAs. In addition, the group is developing off-grid solar solutions to ensure communities across the region have access to a stable and clean energy supply.
Established in 2012, Phanes Group’s integrated approach, combining financial and engineering expertise, enables the company to deliver end-to-end solar energy solutions. The group has a growing portfolio of solar investments and developments spanning multiple geographies with a distinct focus on emerging markets, especially Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia (MENA ‘plus’) and sub-Saharan Africa. In the Middle East, Phanes Group is delivering the region’s largest distributed solar project (DP World Solar Power Programme) and completed phase I (33.4 MW) of the largest solar project in the Caribbean (Monte Plata).
More about Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator
Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator, held under the theme of “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future”, is supported by top-tier international partners such as ECREEE, responsAbility, Hogan Lovells, RINA, and Solarplaza. The initiative aims to select and develop PV project opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa that haven’t been able to gain access to funding and necessary know-how. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of this initiative; along with the project details a solid CSR concept must be submitted and will be jointly developed with Phanes Group during the incubator phase, and implemented in parallel with execution of the PV project.
MPs slam report of fresh ICC investigation against Deputy President Ruto
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
A section of Members of Parliament from the ruling party, Jubilee, have dismissed reports of fresh probe by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to revive crimes against humanity case against the deputy president William Ruto.
The leaders claimed that the case is being pursued by Ruto’s adversaries who employ every means to curtail his presidential bid. They labeled such leaders selfish saying they are after derailing country’s development.
“These so-called ICC reports are not coming from heaven but from within; those propagating it are the opponents of the people. But no evil scheme will stop an idea whose time has come,” reiterated Kikuyu Member of Parliament Kimani Ichungwa.
The leaders who accompanied Ruto to a church service in Nyeri County termed the issue as one aimed at distracting both President and Ruto from Big Four agenda of development which include Universal healthcare, food security, house affordability and manufacturing.
On his part, Tetu Member of Parliament James Gichuhi said Ruto had no hand in the allegations which prosecution had taken against him.
“You were taken in the Netherlands with the President, you emerged victorious. You will still emerge a winner in this episodic witch-hunt, and eventually be our president,” said Mr. Gichuhi.
They also lauded the President and his deputy for creating conducive environment for development and peaceful co-existence among Kenyans.
Last week the ICC President Chille Eboe Osuji, one of the judges who listened to the case revealed to the United Nations new information relating to the case have been discovered and the court my consider re-opening it.
“The office of the prosecutor continued to receive information on the commission of crimes against humanity during the post-election violence of 2007-2008,” read the annual report.
The case against Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang was terminated in April 2016 on the ground of insufficient evidence. The prosecutor decry over witness tampering and political peddling.
Fierce chaos that rocked the East African country after 2007 presidential election outcome left 600,000 people homeless and more than 1,300 people lost their lives.
Case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey, former Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura and former police chief Mohamed Hussein Ali was also dropped by the Hague over insufficient evidence.
Novel approach brings African scientists closer to a malaria vaccine
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Malaria is still a major problem in Africa. There are over 200 million clinical cases each year and approximately half a million deaths.
There are different ways in which malaria can be controlled. Preventive measures include use of insecticides in bed nets or indoor spraying programmes. Medicines can also be used to prevent or treat malaria, but resistance often develops and drugs lose their effectiveness.
The World Health Organisation reported that progress in controlling malaria has stalled.
As an immunologist, I dream that one day we will have an effective vaccine that will help eliminate malaria. I think this is possible because for over a century, we have known that humans do become immune to malaria. In places where there is lots of malaria adults don’t succumb to the disease, but their young children do.
In experiments conducted over 50 years ago, researchers showed that blood could be taken from adults who had become immune and used to treat children admitted to hospital with malaria.
Antibodies in the blood were responsible for this effect; in other words, antibodies could treat malaria. Researchers have been trying to isolate the exact antibodies that do this. The challenge is that our bodies make millions of antibodies, so pulling out those with the antimalarial activity has been difficult.
One way to identify these “good” antibodies is to compare the blood samples of people who get malaria with those who don’t with the aim of identifying the differences. This type of research has been going on for about 30 years, but the results have been inconclusive.
Part of the reason is that in almost every study, the investigators do things differently.
It’s like cooking your favourite dish. You may have a particular recipe but if you check in with friends and ask how they prepare the very same dish, you will find that each of them does something slightly differently. In the same way, differences in the way scientists have conducted their experiments have contributed to a lack of clarity in the results.
We’ve embarked on a project that breaks this cycle.
In experiments conducted over 50 years ago, researchers showed that blood could be taken from adults who had become immune and used to treat children admitted to hospital with malaria.
We used the latest technology to analyse our samples. We designed a small glass slide on which we stuck over 100 carefully selected proteins from the malaria parasite. With less than a drop of blood, we were able to simultaneously measure antibodies to all these proteins.
This was a major step-change. When I started this research 14 years ago, I used to measure antibodies to one parasite protein at a time, using a lot more blood, and in samples from one area in Kenya.
Developments in technology now mean that it’s possible to do this much more efficiently. And we’re really excited that we have been able to exploit these new innovations in Africa.
My team analysed antibodies in over 10,000 samples in three months. We are now working through the statistical analysis of this data to understand how people who are immune to malaria do it.
My team is also working on understanding how antibodies kill malariaparasites. It’s still unclear if the antibodies attack the parasite from different angles or whether different antibodies are synergistic in their actions.
We also don’t know how much antibody is necessary.
What we know
So far, our studies suggest that having a bit of one antibody is not good enough, and we may need high concentrations of antibodies against combinations of parasite proteins.
We are also learning that antibodies kill parasites in many ways, and that studying any one of these in isolation may not adequately reflect reality.
I believe the key to making a better malaria vaccine is right here with us. With patience, perseverance and continued hard work, we will find the recipe required to make a really good malaria vaccine.
*Culled from The Conversation
Ali Bongo: Gabon leader ‘seriously ill but recovering’
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Gabonese President Ali Bongo is seriously ill but on the mend, his spokesman says, ending weeks of official silence on his condition.
Speculation has mounted on the health of President Bongo, 59, with some reports saying he suffered a stroke.
He is being treated in Saudi Arabia, with the initial announcement last month saying he was suffering fatigue.
His spokesman Ike Ngouoni said Mr Bongo was “recovering all of his physical abilities”.
No mention was made of a stroke but the president had suffered “bleeding which required medical care”, Mr Ngouoni said.
Ali Bongo succeeded his father Omar Bongo as president in 2009, who governed the western African nation for more than 40 years.
He narrowly won re-election in 2016 in a poll marred by violence and accusations of fraud.
Earlier this month, with President Bongo away in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Gabon’s opposition leader Jean Ping again claimed victory in the poll.
On Friday a Gabonese newspaper was suspended for three months for saying the country was on “autopilot” and that the prime minister should be appointed interim leader.
Africa’s Corruption Burden Costs It US 148 Billion Yet It Needs US 93 Billion For Infrastructural Development
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
Harare—-Corruption continues to prevail despite efforts by several African Governments to come up with Legislation, stringent policies and holistic strategies on stamping it. Africa has the highest number of countries muddled in corrupt activities. Corruption is in two types, grand, of high rankings and petty corruption of low rankings.
A Kenyan Legal Expert Honourable. Dr Otiende Amollo a Legislator, Ombudsman Emeritus, Kenya is currently in Zimbabwe. He is attending a Legal Resources Foundation Human Rights conference titled, enhancing Human Rights and access to Justice in Zimbabwe and Africa. In a two day emotional symposium, He stressed that corruption drives poverty. To extremes it derails Human Rights and degrades the environment. To the worst of everything, it derails development and impedes Government and private sector growth and development.
‘’It is pathetic that corruption still lives in Africa despite legal framework by several Governments of Africa.. African countries are still muddled in sheer poverty because they are derailed efforts by corruption. Where there is corruption, Human Rights are infringed, abused massively.
‘’Let us note that impunity is bred in situations where Human Rights are not fairly exercised. In circumstances where corruption takes centre stage as the story is told in Africa, Human Rights are trodden under the six feet of the country tunnel.
‘’Africa’s most constraint burden reducing economic growth and development, causing extreme poverty is corruption. Africa needs to under- go a screening exercise to eliminate those who do corruption. They make others suffer. They contribute to economic melt-down.
‘’The kind of corruption is worst at its definition. This is Grand corruption which derails Human Rights, derails growth and development. It also impedes private sector development. As long as there is corruption, African countries will get it difficult to achieve on the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations which targets 2030 to reduce extreme poverty, and hunger, achieve Universal Primary Education and gender equality. .
DR Amollo pointed out that corruption has over past decades caused Human Rights violations. This he said, is evidenced by poverty that has been raised from the ground by violation of human rights in Africa, ‘
‘’Corruption is the cause of Human Rights violations which have made Africa become exposed to extreme Absolute poverty. This poverty still lives, but we need to come up with measures meant to eradicate it.
‘’It is sad to note that corruption continues to cause poverty and vulnerability of African children who are the leaders tomorrow. Research concludes, countries with high corruption have high rates of poverty prevalence, lack of Human Rights and poor Governance.
The Legal Expert also pointed that according to the 2014 Corruption Perception Index out of 173 countries ranked at bottom are Somalia, Sudan, and North Korea. He noted that these countries continue to have high rates of Human Rights violations. These abuses of People’s rights culminates in extreme poverty and vulnerability to orphans and disadvantaged people who fail to access Legal Rights resources because of lack of money and low education.
DR Amollo revealed the Goldenberg scandal, the worst corruption which rocked Kenya between 1990 and 1999. It was about smuggled gold from Congo. The Exporters were paid in Kenyan shillings. This had over 35% of foreign currency earning. It cost 10% of Annual Gross Domestic Product. Since then it has come up with the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission of 2012. Later it came with the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission.
Zimbabwe since the early 1980s has been rocked by massive grand corruption by politicians who got protection from Robert Mugabe. Some of them were ill-treated and killed when they attempted to bare all. A good example is of the Willow vale Motor scandal of 1989 which led to Maurice Nyagumbos suicide. The country had exported a big fleet of Japanese Toyota Cressida type of cars to Ghana. The story is still told in the Zimbabwean history. It brought a number of challenges in terms of Gross Domestic Product. Those are some of the Zimbabwean economic challenges with impacts socially and politically on the lives of people pinned in poverty and vulnerability
Giving a key note address Justice Charles Mkandawire , President of the Commonwealth Judges and Magistrate Association and Judge of the High Court of Malawi said the major challenge which impedes development in Africa is that despite some laws enshrined in International protocols and national constitutions , corruption continues to disadvantage majority of Africans .
He said these at last are plunged into muddled conditions of poverty. At last these communities fail to access basic needs because of lack of finance , education and less legal resources at their disposal .Those who engage in grand corruption in decision making positions creates a situation where-by Human Rights are violated at the expense of humanity , well-being and proper administration at Governance levels .
‘’Corruption circumvents wheels of Justice Delivery and the rule of Law. This is the path to Human Rights violated to certain extents which disadvantages the communities at peace. Those whose human rights are violated have no access to Justice because of the poverty created by grand corruption in high offices.
‘’The challenges lies with countries in Africa where those in high rankings if involved in corruption look for legal representation against cases they create. The defence on their side leaves them scot free. The legal battle between the poor affected and the rich of high rankings fails on the side of the poor.
‘’No-wonder why the poor emulates this corruption at their low level causing petty corruption. Most of these cases take long to discover. Even if they get discovered sometimes evidence related to such cases is not found. At most, such cases go undiscovered and unearthed out, this leading to more corruption.
Muchaneta Mundopa Executive Director of Transparency International said although there are International protocols and national laws to combat corruption, many countries are immensely embedded in endless corruption. Some of these International protocols are the United Nations Convention against Transactional Organised Crime [UNCATOC] of the year 2000 which has got 159 Member states. The other one is the Anti-Bribery Convention and the African Union Convention on Protection and combating Crime and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights of 2003.
‘’There are a number of treaties signed by member states which must be followed in terms of their procedures and measures but the challenge still prevails in Africa . Yes, corruption is also a thorny issue in some other countries, but Africa remains the home of massive corruption by people of high rankings. This leads to several violations of human and people’s rights which still need to be addressed.
‘’Civil Society is much worried by these practices which remain unaddressed. The main issue is that, Africa has the history of liberation struggle which gives immunity to some people like leaders who commit such crimes. Although this is lowering down slowly in Africa, the rate of corruption continues to because of abuse of power by politicians and those who follow them. In some instances, corruption rises because of poverty in many communities ‘’
Transparency International Director further cleared the air by urging countries to follow International protocols. She also said constitutions of various countries must spell out on the really definition of corruption by coming up with national laws and policies which do not favour or give immunity to Leaders.
Strengthening measures to prevent corruption, experts suggests need the voices of the people in their constitutions. The need for International co-operation, working together and collective action promotes integrity, dignity and transparency.
Africa agribusiness, a US$1 trillion business by 2030
November 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Agribusiness will become the ‘new oil” on the continent, African Investment Forum participants said|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 9, 2018/ — As project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors gathered at the Africa Investment Forum to make deals on investment opportunities, leaders of the continent’s top agribusiness companies shared their thoughts on the future of the industry. With its vast agricultural potential, Africa’s agribusiness sector is predicted to reach US$1 trillion by 2030. Agribusiness will become the ‘new oil” on the continent, African Investment Forum participants said, fueling the motor of inclusive growth.
“Agriculture is a key priority for the African Development Bank, through our Feed Africa strategy,” said Jennifer Blanke, the African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development. “Understand that by transforming Africa’s agriculture sector it will become the engine that drives Africa’s economic transformation through increased income, better jobs higher on the value chain, improved nutrition, and so on,” she said in her opening remarks at an Africa Investment Forum session titled, Agribusiness: investment conversation with industry leaders.
Some agribusiness leaders said there is a need to invest US$45 billion per year to harness the power of agriculture and move up the value chain to create jobs and wealth. At present, only US$7 billion is invested in the sector. Investments from the private sector, leaders said, will create the adequate environment and enhance the emergence of locally owned agro-processing industries, capable of creating jobs and increasing incomes in rural Africa. The continent could become a net exporter of agricultural commodities, replacing US$110 billion worth of imports, as well as doubling its share of market value for select processed commodities.
The full-capacity session was a highlight of the Africa Investment Forum, organised by the African Development Bank. The event brought representatives from multilateral financial institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, government officials and private investors to Johannesburg, South Africa for three days.
Participants in the agribusiness session discussed the industry’s entire value chain. Leading the ‘fireside chat’ was a roundtable of experts that included Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of the Dangote Group; Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance of Nigeria; William Asiko, CEO, Grow Africa; John George Coumantaros, Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria and TP Nchocho, CEO, Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa
“We need to do the research to produce the right solutions to the issues we might face along the value chain. Youth are particularly involved in this aspect as they know how to develop tools addressing issues such as water management and release”, said Aliko Dangote.
Agribusiness can also promote industrialisation and urban employment, break the ‘productivity gap’ of development, and improve the quality of life for all Africans. Attendees said Africa’s agricultural potential needs to be unlocked.
Session participants said they want to bring African agriculture to the next level. For the small and medium scale farmers, the main challenge remains access to finance. Zainab Shamsuna, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance urged investors and development partners to adapt their policies to accommodate more participants in the agriculture value chain,
“I want us to eat what we grow and consume what we produce”, Shamsuna said.
In closing the session, Edward Mabaya, Manager of Agribusiness Development at the African Development Bank highlighted the vast investment opportunities in Africa’s agribusiness including seed, fertilizer, mechanization, processing and storage.
Peter Pham appointed as Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa
November 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
Secretary Pompeo is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. J. Peter Pham to serve as the United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Dr. Pham will be responsible for coordinating the implementation of U.S. policy on the cross-border security, political, and economic issues in the Great Lakes region, with an emphasis on strengthening democratic institutions and civil society, as well as the safe and voluntary return of the region’s refugees and internally displaced persons.
Dr. Pham serves as Vice President and Director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. He brings to the Department vast Africa experience as the former vice president of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) and editor-in-chief of its quarterly Journal of the Middle East and Africa; an associate professor of Africana studies at James Madison University, where he was director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs; and on the Senior Advisory Group of the U.S. Africa Command.
Dr. Pham will assume the work previously undertaken by Senior Coordinator for the Great Lakes, Ambassador Larry Wohlers. U.S. ambassadors to the countries of the Great Lakes region remain charged with the conduct of bilateral relations. Dr. Pham will work in close coordination with the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs and our ambassadors in the region to further the Department’s work toward lasting peace, stability, and economic prosperity in the Great Lakes region.
*The statement was issued by Heather Nauert, State Department Spokesperson in Washington, DC on November 9, 2018
Africa Enjoys Oil Boom as Drilling Spreads Across Continent
November 8, 2018 | 0 Comments
-Oil and gas rigs across Africa are at a three-year high
-Companies including BP and Total are ramping up projects
Just a year ago Africa’s upstream was a very different story. At the continent’s biggest oil and gas conference, crude seemed like it may just hold at $50 a barrel over the long term. Beyond the activity of Africa-focused explorers like Tullow in Ghana, exploration in most countries was in a rut.
But as Africa Oil Week returns to Cape Town on Tuesday, nations throughout the continent are planning to sell exploration licenses or move ahead with major projects.
And the prize — for both companies and countries — could be huge. There could be at least 41 billion barrels of oil and 319 trillion cubic feet of gas yet to be discovered in sub-Saharan Africa, according to a 2016 U.S. Geological Survey report.
In 2018, the number of oil and gas rigs in Africa reached a three-year high, according to Baker Hughes. There are more prospects to come as the Republic of Congo, the newest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, offers both onshore and offshore blocks.
Cairn Energy Plc is moving forward with its project in Senegal, the largest offshore oil find of 2014, which is expected to produce 100,000 barrels a day. “It has completely changed the potential for Senegal in a very positive way,” CEO Simon Thomson said in an interview. “It shows what can happen through the drillbit, through exploration.”
Exxon Mobil Corp. is targeting western and southern Africa for the world’s next big bonanza and recently bought a stake in a frontier exploration block offshore Namibia. The company is also expected to spend hundreds of millions in Mozambique with partner Rosneft Oil Co. PJSC and other explorers on blocks won in 2015.
Mozambique will see $156 billion in tax revenue from Exxon’s onshore liquefied natural gas project, according to the company. The supermajor is planning the most capacity of any LNG facility planned in the north of the country.
Total and Eni SpA are also nearing production sharing deals for oil and gas in Ivory Coast, two people familiar with the matter said Nov. 1. Both companies signed separate contracts for offshore oil exploration in Algeria last week.
For all the excitement, Sasol’s Yevi did strike some notes of caution. In past booms, the African oil industry has fallen into a number of traps. The first is approving projects quickly enough to ensure they don’t miss out on the benefits of a period of higher prices. “If the cycle is not long, sometimes we only catch the tail end of it in Africa,” he said.
To successfully develop its natural resources, Africa needs to have the capability within governments and regulators to control how the windfall is spent in other sectors, Yevi said.
“Converting volume into value is undoubtedly sub-Saharan Africa’s Achilles heel,” said Adam Pollard, a senior research analyst at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Still, that hasn’t dampened enthusiasm because “the continent has been responsible for some company-making discoveries in the past.”
Kenya:Quack doctor hits again
November 7, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenyans are alert after an investigation by a local media divulged that a fake doctor who had hit news headlines three years ago for operating an illegal clinic and alleged rape of patients is back to his prohibited business.
James Mugo Ndichu alias Mugo Wairimu on Monday, November 5, was exposed operating a new clinic called Millan Medical Center in a different area within Nairobi.
Mr. Mugo is accused of conducting abortions, consuming alcohol inside the clinic as he attends to patients in his new clinic. He was captured extorting Ksh.23, 000 ($230) from a woman whose daughter had just procured an abortion on the ground that she was receiving treatment for an upset stomach.
In a rather shocking scene, he was screened conducting an interview for a new staff as a patient wails in the same room. Then he told the interviewee to remove a stuck swollen swab from the patient’s body.
He was also exposed giving a diagnosis seemingly drunk and then proceeded to demand Ksh.800 ($8) for drugs that cost only Ksh.40 ($0.4).
Mugo was arrested and charged in 2015 by Limuru Magistrate Court with raping sedated women, operating a drug shop not licensed with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board. He was granted Ksh.2 million ($20,000) bond with a surety of the same amount.
He has been further intricated by his former employee who revealed barbaric acts he does to his patients.
“He used to rape patients in his X-ray room which is very dark but nowadays he does this in his theatre room after sedating the patients with drugs,” a patient who sought anonymity reiterated.
The public outcry has made the police to launch a hunt for him. The police have nabbed two men believed to be part of his illegal clinic and are being kept in police custody. During the operation process, the officers recovered materials they believed were used in procurement of abortions at the clinic.
Kenya National Union of Nurses has distanced itself from the quack doctor calling on the authorities to arrest him for masquerading as a medic.
Addressing the media, Kenya National Union of Nurses Secretary General Seth Panyako, dissociate himself from the rape allegations labeling Mugo a quack fellow.
‘We want to say as nurses very categorically and strongly that the person is not a nurse. We dissociate ourselves from the incident and that fellow. We cannot have criminals operating as medical personnel. Members of the public need to be protected from such unscrupulous people.” Panyako said.
Mugo had claimed that he completed his studies as a nurse in 2000 at the University of Nairobi; however, he has no credentials to prove this.
African renewables advocacy coalition calls on AfDB to commit to 100% renewable future
November 7, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
In a bid to have Africa commit to 100% renewable energy and to increase transparency in the continent’s energy sector, Zero – a coalition campaign between climate change volunteers and Non-Profit Organisations (NGOs) around the continent – was launched Tuesday 6 November, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa at the Sandton Convention Centre on the side-lines of the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Africa Investment Forum.
According to Nicole Rodel, African Climate Reality Project Communications Coordinator, the African Climate Change Reality Project (ACRP) – the African branch of Nobel Laureate and former US Vice President Al Gore’s The Climate Reality Project – is leading the campaign. The campaign is driven by Africans for Africans to build a movement towards clean energy from the grassroots up.
“Our ultimate goal is for a low carbon sustainable future for all Africans and the shift from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas to renewable energy is vital as the latter is less costly and will create more jobs, build sustainable infrastructure, and does not contribute to pollution or harmful emissions which cause irreversible damage to our climate.
“We believe the AfDB is moving in the right direction in terms of clean energy finance for the future of Africans, but they continue to invest in new fossil fuel development in Africa and are not as transparent as they should be,” says Nicole Rodel, African Climate Reality Project’s Communications Coordinator.
In 2017 the AfDB’s energy investments portfolio consisted of 100% renewable energy, amounting to 1.4 GW of clean electricity. This indicates the Bank is leading Africa towards the energy of the future. The Bank has approved power generation projects with 1,400 megawatts cumulative specifically from renewables in 2017. Both show its commitment towards achieving the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping the global temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
“We have been tracking the Bank’s progress towards transparency and easy access to information and have noticed that the AfDB is ranked fourth in the 2018 Aid Transparency Index. However, we feel that in an industry where standards are low this could be improved,” says Ahmed Mokgopo, 350Africa.org campaigner.
The Zero coalition calls on the Bank for increased transparency concerning the disclosure of possible and impending investments. This much-needed improvement in transparency gives public citizens a chance to voice their opinions on investments that threaten their well-being and quality of life, and allows the AfDB to explore alternative options to development. Furthermore, the campaign calls on the Bank to disclose and share the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data for the projects and portfolios it supports.
This will send a strong message to potential investors and policymakers of the importance of decoupling Africa’s growth and development from GHG emissions.
All African countries have endorsed the Paris Climate Agreement and the goal to limit global temperature increase to 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. In accordance with international reports, most notable the recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), African countries are among the most vulnerable countries to climate change.
The IPCC report also warns of the devastating impacts of warming beyond 1.5ºC. As temperatures continue rising, Africans will experience catastrophic impacts related to climate change.
“The costs of this damage, including increased civil unrest, migration and destruction of infrastructure, will require significant funding to ensure the wellbeing of African lives – and it becomes the responsibility of the region’s governments and public institutions, like the AfDB, to lead the world by example towards demonstrable and marked reduction in emissions,” says Rodel.
While the AfDB claims to support the shift to renewable energy, it is unfortunate that the Bank’s energy portfolio still consists of more than 45% of fossil fuels investments from coal, oil and gas. This stands in contrast to the 100% renewable energy vision of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, of which many African countries are a member.
“We are sure that AfDB can offer more support for this important endeavour which will lead to rapid advancement and support energy players on the African continent to shift to renewable energy projects. The transformation will inevitably begin by using a robust methodology to comprehensively measure and report emissions from its portfolio, including emissions from non-energy sectors and financial intermediaries,” concludes Michael David Terungwa, Climate Reality Leader and founder of Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem Preservation (GIFSEP).
Spotlight on Jammeh Era Abuses As Truth and Reconciliation Committee Gets to Work
November 7, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Alpha Jallow in Banjul
One of the darkest chapters in West African recent history is about to be told,for the first time in full in the Republic of Gambia as the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC) starts soon.
The small West African country is to hear testimony from survivors,witnesses,as well as perpetrators of alleged abuses under former President Yaya Jammed during the twenty two years he held the mantle of leadership in the country.
Jammeh has been accused of presiding over summary executions,disappearances,torture and rape of Gambian citizens as well as other West African nationals.Ordinary Gambian and Civil society groups have hailed the TRRC as an instrument for national healing.
“The TRRC will be able to unearth the alleged abuses under dictator Jammeh but will also allow Gambians to forgive each other.Victims of Jammeh regime will also be adequately compensated for atrocities meted to them” Omar Amadou Jallow a former Minister opined to PAV.
President Jammeh ruled for 22 years,before loosing elections and fleeing into exile in Equatorial Guinea in 2017.
Now the Truth,Reconciliation and Reparations Commission will investigate how the abuses began ,became systematic, and it’s repercussions.
During to the swearing-in of members of the TRRC,President Adama Barrow hailed the panel as a vital step towards national healing.He said the commission will be empowered to advise and prosecute perpetrators of such heinous crimes, and recommend financial compensation to victims.
However opinions are divided on the TRRC. While some victims are prepared to forgive Jammeh and his cohorts, others are calling for the ex leader to be arraigned before a special court for abuses committed during his regime.
Nissan To Establish Automotive Manufacturing Industry In Ghana
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ghana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nissan Group of Africa for the establishment of an automotive manufacturing industry in Ghana, which will make Ghana the hub for sales and marketing of Nissan in West Africa.
This was announced on Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, when the Managing Director of Nissan Group of Africa, Mike Whitfield, paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo.
According to Mr. Whitfield, Nissan aims to be the first carmaker to assemble vehicles in Ghana, building on its market leadership in the country.
Nissan models, he explained, accounted for 32.8% of vehicle sales in Ghana last year, with the company’s cars, pickups and SUVs sold through a national network of six sales and service outlets.
“Nissan is the most popular auto brand in Ghana because the quality of our products and services has won the trust of our customers,” Whitfield said.
He continued, “We want to build on our leadership by supporting the government to create the environment for a successful automotive manufacturing industry in the country. Building vehicles in Ghana will enable us to further improve the products and services we offer to our customers here and will have significant, long-term benefits for the economy in terms of jobs and growth.”
On his part, President Akufo-Addo welcomed strongly the decision by Nissan to establish an automotive manufacturing industry in Ghana.
The President explained that his administration had embarked on a journey on moving the country away from being mere producers and exporters of raw materials, with a focus on value-addition and industrial activities.
One of the areas of focus, he stressed, was the automotive industry, the reason why his administration has spent the last 22 months strengthening the fundamentals of the Ghanaian economy to attract such investment.
“To have at A+ company like yours in Ghana is positive, and we welcome you strongly. We hope that the MoU that will be signed will not just remain an MoU but will translate into concrete benefits for us all,” President Akufo-Addo said.
The MoU seeks to unlock economic potential, promote development of the automotive sector and promote investor-friendly regulatory frameworks that encourage sustainable car manufacturing. The aim is to promote infrastructure development, job creation and skills development in Ghana.
The Minister for Trade, Alan Kyerematen also praised Nissan’s commitment to Ghana, saying, “we welcome this MOU and commit ourselves in turn to working with Nissan to create the necessary environment for the level of investment that will make Ghana’s automotive sector a reality.”
Industrywide vehicle sales in Ghana have been growing steadily at an annual rate of about 10% and now stand at about 9,150 vehicles a year.
Working closely with the government of Ghana and with other members of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, Nissan will provide its global expertise to establish a sustainable auto manufacturing industry in the country.
The agreement builds on Nissan’s investment in Nigeria where, in 2013, the company became the first major automaker to assemble cars.
Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2017, the company sold 5.77 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.9 trillion yen.
On April 1, 2017, the company embarked on Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, a six-year plan targeting a 30% increase in annualized revenues to 16.5 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2022, along with cumulative free cash flow of 2.5 trillion yen.
As part of Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, the company plans to extend its leadership in electric vehicles, symbolized by the world’s best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF.
Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2016.
Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is today the world’s largest automotive partnership, with combined sales of more than 10.6 million vehicles in calendar year 2017.
BOOMPLAY AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP ANNOUNCE LANDMARK DISTRIBUTION PARTNERSHIP IN AFRICA
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
Universal Music Group becomes first music company to partner with leading African music streaming and download service
LAGOS AND SANTA MONICA, November 05, 2018 – Boomplay, Africa’s leading music streaming and download service and Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment today announced the signing of a landmark licensing agreement covering multiple markets within Africa.
UMG is the first major music company to license its catalog to Boomplay, which has quickly established itself as the most popular streaming service in Africa. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement and effective immediately, Boomplay will distribute music from UMG’s world-renowned labels through its streaming and download platform in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. Boomplay currently provides more than two million songs and thousands of music videos to more than 36 million users, with nearly two million new users added each month.
Users will now have access to UMG’s extensive catalog of both local and global recording artists including Eminem, Tekno, Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, Lady Zamar, Lil Wayne, Bob Marley, Brenda Fassie, Wurld, J.Cole, Dr. Tumi, Nasty C, 6lack, Diana Ross, Hugh Masekela, Jon Bellion, Larry Gaaga, Tamia, Maroon 5, Aka & Anatii, TJAN, Jah Prayzah, Nonso Bassey, Mafikizolo, Cina Soul, Ella Mai,and Mr. Eazi.
Earlier this year, UMG announced the launch of Universal Music Nigeria, a new division within Western Africa to provide artists with comprehensive opportunities throughout the region and to provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success. UMG is accelerating the company’s focus on growing the entire African music ecosystem including recorded music, music publishing, production, live events, brand partnerships and merchandising efforts.
In making the announcement, Universal Music Group, Executive Vice-President, Market Development Adam Granite said, “We’re looking forward to working with Boomplay as we provide our African artists a range of creative, marketing and promotional resources to accelerate their careers within this vibrant and growing music market. This agreement will help UMG artists to reach new audiences, whilst boosting the African streaming experience to benefit both music fans, artists and songwriters.”
“This partnership extends our reach and makes our artists’ music accessible to millions of African music lovers,” said Ezegozie Eze Jr., General Manager, Universal Music Nigeria, “We are delighted to be the first global music company to partner with Boomplay and look forward to bringing the extraordinary creativity of our artists to as many Africans users as possible.”
Also commenting, Boomplay’s CEO, Joe He, said that Boomplay will continue to forge partnerships that enriches the digital ecosystem and connects music lovers with their favorite songs anytime and anywhere.
“Boomplay is determined to continue meeting the music passion point of Africans in a legitimate way, especially Boomplay users, and teaming up with a major music company in the global music industry like Universal Music Group, offers yet another significant opportunity for us to do so”, he said.
The Boomplay App, which is currently only available for Android users, is scheduled for release via iOS in the coming weeks. In addition, new Boomplay users will be able to obtain a free one-month subscription when they opt in for a monthly auto-renewable subscription plan.
Boomplay is a music streaming and download service owned by Transsnet Music Limited. Boomplay houses millions of songs and videos, connecting music lovers with their favourite songs anytime, anywhere. Boomplay currently has over 36 million users, out of which, over 10 million are from Google Play store, and the rest from global pre-installation on TECNO, Infinix & itel devices. The service is currently available for Web and Android use. The app, which won the Best African App at the 2017 Apps Africa Awards, allows its users to stream and download their favourite songs and videos, as well as subscribe to a plan in order to save music for offline play. Over the years, different payment platforms have been introduced and music lovers are able to pay for music via mobile money, bank cards or Boomcoin cards. Boomplay aims to build the largest and most sustainable digital music ecosystem. Find out more here.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more here
Equatorial Guinea’s energy sector gets $2.4 bln boost -ministry source
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
Tanzania government denounces governor’s anti-gay witch-hunt
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
Nairobi (AFP) – Tanzania says that a plan to hunt down and arrest suspected homosexuals in the country’s economic capital was not official policy, distancing itself from a citywide crackdown slammed by rights groups.
Dar es Salaam’s powerful governor, Paul Makonda, urged citizens last Monday to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups in a country where anti-gay rhetoric has soared in recent years.
“The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that these are (Makonda’s) personal views and not the position of the government,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement released Sunday evening.
It added that the government would “continue to respect all international human rights conventions which it subscribes to”.
A fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli, Makonda had said homosexual behaviour “tramples on the moral values of Tanzanians and our two Christian and Muslim religions”.
His remarks drew strong criticism including from Amnesty International and the United Nations.
Under British colonial-era laws, homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania and same-sex acts between men are punishable by a maximum life sentence.
Anti-gay sentiment has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election, forcing most gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities to live in secrecy.
Last year, the president said that everybody should condemn homosexuality, “even cows” and soon after his government threatened to arrest or deport gay rights activists.
Three South Africans were subsequently expelled for allegedly advocating for same-sex marriage.
AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magufuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies.
On Saturday, the European Union said it had recalled its chief representative to Brussels for discussions, following reports he had been asked to leave by the government.
Slave Trade was a shameful era – Prince Charles
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdullah
The Heir Apparent to the British Throne and, Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, has described the era of “Slave Trade” as a Shameful period in Ghana’s relations with Europe and in particular with the United Kingdom.
In his Keynote address at the Commonwealth inspired Public Lecture on the theme; “Towards A Common Future”, at the Accra International Conference’s Centre (AICC), the Prince of Wales, described the slave trade as the most painful chapter in the history of Ghana’s relationship with the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union.
The United Kingdom and the rest of the World he said, ought to ensure that “Slave Trade” does not re-occur in any form or shape in the history of mankind.
“While Britain can be proud that it later led the way in the abolition of this shameful trade, we have a shared responsibility to ensure that the abject horror of slavery is never forgotten, that we uphold the existence of modern slavery and human trafficking and that we robustly promote and defend the values which today make it incomprehensible for most of us that human beings could ever treat each other with such utter inhumanity” head of the Commonwealth said.
On the issues of climate change, the Prince said the impact of global warming and climate change are already been felt by far by many Commonwealth citizens. He further observed that even though there are several examples of real evidence of the impact of climate change such as hurricanes and cyclones, the Commonwealth of Nations can still join hands and share best practices to arrest the situation.
“There is it seems to me, tremendous potential for the Commonwealth to share best practice and coordinate its response to these kind of disasters” Prince Charles said.
The Blue Economy
One of the fundamental challenges that the planet is facing according to Prince Charles is the issues of plastics that are finding their way into the sea. He observes that about “8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year, that soon it will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the sea and that the dead zones in the oceans now numbering about four hundred are continuing to grow”.
To deal with the threat on the blue economy, Prince Charles said “surely we must find a way to protect and conserve our oceans and develop a truly sustainable secure approach to the blue economy as we must to the rest of our economy activity”
The event which was attended by President Akufo Addo, Former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Kufour, and John Manama, started with an exhibition that showcased the several projects that the United Kingdom has supported Ghana in executing and those that are still on going. It also showed images of the rich culture of Ghana and excellent memories that are documented between Ghana and the British Royal Family.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.
Thirty-one of her members are small states, many of which are island nations. The shared values and principles of the Commonwealth are inscribed in the Commonwealth Charter. Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organizations.
The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009. The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, supports Commonwealth member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace.
The Vision of the Commonwealth is to help create and sustain a Commonwealth that is mutually respectful, resilient, peaceful and prosperous and that cherishes equality, diversity and shared values. It also has as it’s mission to support member governments, and partner with the broader Commonwealth family and others, to improve the well-being of all Commonwealth citizens and to advance their shared interests globally.
Africa Investment Forum: All Set to Tilt the Tide of Investments into Africa
November 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Forum to advance projects to bankable stages, raise capital, and accelerate financial closure of deals|
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 5, 2018/ — The Africa Investment Forum kicked off on Monday with a media briefing in the South African capital. The game changing event, aimed at attracting multi-billion-dollar deals across the continent, is set to usher in a new era for Africa’s investment landscape.
Regional and global investors and institutional investors, private sector leaders, prominent government officials, and representatives of State are converging in South Africa, for what is billed as an unprecedented gathering to mobilize and crowd in global investment capital for the continent’s ambitious development agenda.
Dubbed by the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina as the “collective deal of the century for investment in and the development of Africa,” the forum will focus on advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital and accelerating the financial closure of deals.
“This is the beginning of a new conversation, a new way of doing things,” Victor Oladokun, the African Development Bank Director of Communications told reporters, a day before the Forum, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.
South African Deputy Director of the National Treasury Vuyelwa Vumendlini said the Africa Investment Forum provides a continental complement to the country’s recent investment forum which successfully attracted more than 200 billion Rand in investments.
The Government of South Africa, the African Development Bank and several multi-lateral development partners are hosting the Forum expected to become a key springboard for investment and an annual event.
Global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank, Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, have come together to form solid strategic alliances around this new venture.
The Africa Investment Forum, is a unique platform where already curated projects, advanced and de-risked and are brought in front of investors. This innovative partnership of key global and continental players will focus on transactions and deals, Oladokun said.
Between US $130-170 billion a year is needed to finance infrastructure for Africa’s growing population, according to the African Development Bank’s Economic Outlook 2018. While global assets under management amount to an estimated US$131 trillion dollars, most of that is not invested in Africa; even one percent of that could provide the investment gap Africa needs.
“There is an urgent need to close the gap and for that to happen ‘it has to be business unusual. This is the first and biggest African investment market place, nothing like this has even been done before,” Oladokun, told reporters.
Guateng Province officials and government representatives in attendance included Muzi Mathema, of Guateng Growth and Development Agency, Ms Vuli Vumendlini, Deputy Director of the Nationa Treasury and Ayanda Holo, Director of Media engagement for the South African government. African Development Bank Executive Director Mmakgoshi Lekhethe was also in attendance.
Ronnie Ntuli, Executive Chairman Thelo, described the Forum as “a unique opportunity for Africans to partner with global capacity and the private sector. “It is an investor market…where all these partners converge to take advantage of tremendous opportunities,” he said.
Africa Investment Forum moving Africa’s investment agenda forward
African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, presenting excellent investment opportunities with relatively high returns, but the challenge of positioning themselves for consideration in front of institutional investors and global corporates remains.
The Forum has curated a total pipeline of 230 projects worth over US$208 billion spanning several sectors – energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation and health and education.
Twenty-eight boardroom sessions will curate, screen and ensure the projects are bankable and reach financial close. A total of 61 deals estimated at more than US$40 billion will feature in Boardroom Sessions, while another US$28 billion worth of deals will be showcased to investors at a marketplace Gallery Walk.
The Forum also includes a co-guarantee platform that will develop and deploy innovative instruments to de-risk private sector investments at scale, thus boosting investor confidence.
Discussions will focus on specific projects, sectors, investors, and themes. Others will have country or regional focus. Co-financing and collaborations between investors will also be a key focus area at this event.
The inaugural Africa Investment Forum will feature a session on Championing Investments− an investment conversation with African Heads of State to highlight concrete and transformative actions for a new business landscape in Africa, including collective efforts to facilitate private investments.
The Africa Investment Forum takes place from November 7 to 9, 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.