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Ghana:Second lady responds to reports of oversized delegation for WHO conference.
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdalla

Samira Ramadan Bawumia

Samira Ramadan Bawumia

Ghana’s Second lady, Samira Bawumia, is leading a six-member delegation to the first World Health Organization (WHO) Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health and not a 20-man team as being speculated.

Official documents from the Embassy of Switzerland in Accra detailed the full list of those traveling with the second lady on 28 October to November 2, 2018.

A letter from Ghana’s Foreign Affairs Ministry dated 8 October, 2018 to the Embassy said: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana presents its compliments to the Embassy of Switzerland in Accra, and at the instance of the Office of the Second Lady has the honor to request the issuance of appropriate entry visas in favor of Her Excellency Hajia Samira Ramadan Bawumia and the under-named members of her delegation, who are scheduled to participate in the first World Health Organization (WHO) Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, from 28th October to 2nd November, 2018:

Emmanuel Kwame Twum Asiamah, Esq – Projects Coordinator

Zelia Amsat Osman – Aide

Kwame Ofori-Danso – Press Secretary

Joyreen Adubea Gyewu – ADC

Nasiru Salifu – Security.”

A few days ago, Mrs Bawumia came under heavy public backlash when documents surfaced that she was sending a 20-member team to the Geneva conference. The spokesperson of the vice president Dr. Gideon Boako described the documents as “fake”.

Also, another document from State Protocol to the Foreign Minister seeking for Visa arrangement, stressed on the number, saying: “Her Excellency Hajia Samira Ramadan Bawumia will lead a six (6) member delegation to attend the event in this connection, it would be appreciated if arrangements could be made to obtain the appropriate Schengen entry visas for the members of Her Excellency’s delegation who do not have valid Schengen Entry visas.

“Her Excellency Hajia Samira Ramadan Bawumia and her delegation will depart Accra on Sunday 28th October, 2018. Kindly find attached the copy of her invitation and the list of her Excellency’s delegation.”

The Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, 30 October – 1 November 2018 will be organized at WHO headquarters in Geneva, in collaboration with UN Environment, World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and The World Bank.

 

 

 

 

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Ghana:Waive 20% import tax on sanitary pads – CSO
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdalla

The Government of Ghana has been asked to review the 20% import tax on sanitary pads to enhance the health and education of Ghanaian girls.

J Initiative (JI), a child-centred research and advocacy-based non-governmental organization that made the call is worried the classification of sanitary towels as luxury by the Ghana Revenue Authority has pushed under privileged girls to use unhealthy absorbents.

“Due to the increasing cost of sanitary towels, some girls; especially those in rural areas and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds resort to using absorbents such as dirty rags, cotton wool, leaves and paper.

“Aside the fact that the neatness of these absorbents cannot be guaranteed and could cause diseases and infections to girls, most often they leak and soil their uniforms,” JI said in a statement on Thursday to mark International Day of the Girl Child under the theme: “With Her; a skilled GirlForce”.

“Once and for all, a lasting solution must be resorted to by removing or drastically reducing the 20% import tax on sanitary towels in Ghana in order to make that essential product available and affordable for all girls from regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds,” it advocated.

Read full statement below

IMPACT OF BAD MENSTRUAL HYGIENE PRACTICES ON GIRLS’ EDUCATION.

Menstruation is still seen as an embarrassing, shameful, and dirty process in most parts of the world, especially Africa. There are many taboos around this natural phenomenon which leave most adolescent girls unprepared for their periods and misinformed on how to manage them. This promotes the practice of unsafe menstrual hygiene practices which may lead to ill health. There is a need for both men and women to have greater awareness of good menstrual hygiene practices as this is vital to the health, well-being, self-worth, empowerment, mobility and productivity of women and girls.

Sadly, the realization of quality education for both boys and girls is a problem in most developing countries including Ghana. Some barriers to girls’ school attendance, participation, and retention have been identified as cultural expectations, early pregnancy and marriage, household responsibilities and the prioritization of boys’ education.

The school environment also tends to contribute to these barriers to the education of girls. Some deficits in the school environment that discourage girls from attending and participating in school activities include lack of female teachers, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and gender-based violence. Menstruation has emerged as an additional barrier to school attendance and active participation amongst adolescent girls. Some effects of poor menstrual hygiene management (MHM) on the education of adolescent girls include school absenteeism, distraction and increased school drop-out rates.

For the practice of effective menstrual hygiene , girls require access to clean absorbents (for example, sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups) with facilities that provide them with the needed privacy to change, clean or dispose of these absorbents when necessary, and access to soap and water for cleaning their bodies and reusable absorbents. Unfortunately, studies across low and middle income countries have reported that more than 50% of girls have inadequate MHM, with higher proportions reported in rural areas. More than half of girls in lower- and middle-income countries lack access to basic menstrual hygiene needs such as sanitary pads, soap and water, or lavatories to change, clean, or dispose of these absorbents.

Due to the increasing cost of sanitary towels, some girls; especially those in rural areas and from economically disadvantaged backgrounds resort to using absorbents such as dirty rags, cotton wool, leaves and paper. Aside the fact that the neatness of these absorbents cannot be guaranteed and could cause diseases and infections to girls, most often they leak and soil their uniforms. The embarrassment girls face as a result of soiling their uniforms during their periods causes them to miss school.

Research carried out in Ghana and Kenya, has revealed that interventions providing sanitary pads and education, or materials and education for girls to make their own pads improve school attendance. Kenya has gone ahead to provide free sanitary towels for girls to encourage school attendance during their periods and remove menstruation as a barrier to their girl child education. One may ask; will Ghana go ahead to do same?

Presently 20% tax levy is charged on imported sanitary towels because sanitary pads are categorized as luxury products at the Ghana Revenue Authority guidelines. Is this commodity that is a necessity to a woman’s livelihood, engagement and participation in society really just luxury? It is the right of every girl to be informed and have access to menstruation supplies. Some organizations in Ghana have resorted to pad donations to girls; especially those in deprived societies as a way to encourage girls’ attendance and participation in school activities during their menses. However, statistics have shown that the average woman can use up to 10,500 disposable sanitary pads or more in her lifetime. This reveals then that pad donations are just but a temporal solution to removing this barrier to education.

Call to Action to Ghana

Once and for all, a lasting solution must be resorted to by removing or drastically reducing the 20% import tax on sanitary towels in Ghana in order to make that essential product available and affordable for all girls from regardless of their socio-economic backgrounds. Today is being observed globally as the International Day of the Girl Child under the theme: ‘’With Her; a skilled GirlForce’’. The focus of this year’s theme is on securing viable employment opportunities for adolescent girls set to enter the workforce within the next decade. If girls’ JI’s Happy School Girl Project aims resonates with this theme in this sense that if girls’ participation and retention in school is hindered because of menstruation, it pre-supposes that they cannot acquire the soft skills needed to become a useful workforce to any country. On this special day, it would be most appropriate that the government would consider reviewing tax on sanitary pads to ensure an enhancement in the Ghanaian girls’ health and in the education.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ghana: National Insurance Trust blows over GH¢300k on value for money audit of OBS contract.
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdalla

SSNIT Director General Ernest Thompson

SSNIT Director General Ernest Thompson

It has emerged that Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has engaged the services of auditing firm KPMG to do a value for money audit on the controversial $72million Operational Business Suite (OBS) contract at a staggering cost of ¢337,685.

The value for money audit contract was signed on February 2, 2018 between SSNIT and KPMG after restricted tendering process. The job was expected to have been completed on September 17, 2018.

Some four officials of SSNIT including the Director-General Ernest Thompson are currently  facing charges of willfully causing financial loss to the state in the procurement of the OBS at $72million to digitize the Trust’s operations—but the software reportedly was not fully functional.

It was discovered last year following the change of government that the Trust settled for the procurement of the OBS software at $72million although it received tenders to undertake the project at much cheaper prices including $9 million

A document on the deal indicates that the eventual winner of the contract bid produced a tender price of $27,610,792 but that was reviewed to 34, 011,914.21 after the General Services Manager of SSNIT identified arithmetic errors in the tender of the eventual winner, Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium.

Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium was chosen out of the total of 10 companies and joint venture responded to the tender by the October 19, 2011 deadline.

Perfect Business System’s $34million was almost nine times the amount presented by Persol Systems, about $4million.

Sambus Company Limited presented the second least bid price of $9.8 million.

After the deal between SSNIT and Perfect Business Systems and Silverlake Consortium was sealed in 2012, the cost of the project increased by about $32million.

The increase was attributed to the procurement of additional equipment including servers and flash drivers and headsets.

 

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FG travel ban: Ozekhome tasks affected Nigerians to head to court
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

 

Chief Mike Ozekhome

Chief Mike Ozekhome

Nigeria’s Constitutional lawyer and activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN has tasked affected Nigerians on travel ban to take legal measures.

 

Reacting to the executive order by the Federal government, the lawyer called on any Nigerian affected by the order not to waste time in approaching the court.

 

Ozekhome said: “The recent announcement of the government’s ban on certain Nigerians(yet publicly unnamed) is an extreme panicky measure of desperation and obvious descent into totalitarianism,absolutism and fascism.It is highly condemnable for being absolutely  unconstitutional,illegal,wrongful,immoral,vindictive,dictatorial,panicky and  presumptuous of the victims’ guilt,without any trial or conviction.

 

“The order shows a government wallowing in narcistic  self-righteousness ,brazen glorification and a false sense of redemptive messianism. It will surely boomerang on the government in this electioneering campaign period and strip the government bare of any pretensions towards democratic credentials. “Presumably anchored on Executive Order 6,it made earlier in July,2018,the recent clamp down on opposition elements and persons suspected to be against the desperate attempt by this government to cling to power at all cost is nothing but a draconian Decree,a piece of legislative enactment without a NASS and an unconstitutional  judicial pronouncement outside the orbit of a court of competent jurisdiction. It is a vile coup against Nigerians,democracy and constitutionalism. “The government by the order  turned itself into a court of law to trail citizens,deprive of their freedom of movement and monitor and seize their accounts by fiat,without a valid court lose. The right to freedom of movement is guaranteed by section 41 of the 1999 Constitution,and same is not subject to derogation from by any Executive Order outside the pronouncement of a court of law. “It dresses the Executive branch of government with the despotic garbs of arbitrariness and whimsicality to determine which citizens should be prevented from traveling,l and have their accounts and properties attached.

 

“The Supreme Court of Nigeria,in Director of SSS v Olisa Agbakoba (1999) 3 NWLR (or 595) 340,quoted with approval,the Indian case of Meneka Ghandi v Union of India (1978) AIR 597,(1978) SCC (1) 248,where the Indian Supreme Court held ,on Ghandi’s passport being seized,and he filing a writ of petition under Articles 21 and 32 of the Indian Constitution,that:

“the Indian Constitution safeguards the right to go abroad against executive interference which is not supported by law;law here means enacted law or state law. ..thus,no person can be deprived of his right to go abroad unless there is  law made by the state prescribing the procedure for so depriving him and the deprivation is effected strictly in accordance with such procedure”.Neither the Executive Order no 6,nor the new travel ban and accounts monitoring and property attachment constitute any such law,by any stretch of the imagination,or constitutional imprimatur. In Agbakoba’s case,the apex court made it clear that ownership of a travelling passport was part and parcel of and concomitant to the freedom of movement.

 

” Thus, Executive Order no 6 cannot even enjoy the derogation qualification granted under section 45 of the Constitution,which permits restriction and derogation from the observance of section 41 under a law “reasonably justifiable in a democratic society in the interest of defence,public safety,public order,public morality,or public health,or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons”This is because it is not a law and , but a mere executive order. Nothing more. Those affected should head for the courts immediately and get it struck down.” he said.

 

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2019: Buhari must go Galadima insists
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
* Tasks Nigerians to try Atiku, throw him out if he underperforms
By Olayinka Ajayi
Engineer Buba Galadima

Engineer Buba Galadima

ABUJA Critic of of the the ruling party and President Muhammadu Buhari, Engr. Bubu Galadima has said that Nigerians must all join hands to send the president back home in 2019 general election.

He said that the president has grossly underperformed, asking the people to give the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, former vice president Atiku Abubakar a chance to put the country on a growth pedestal once again.
According to him, the greatest offence of President Buhari was his failure to secure lives, properties and bring food in the homes of Nigerians.
Galadima made the call at the unveiling of a group called Enyimba Progressives Association, EPA in Abuja on Saturday.
Regretting ever marketing Buhari before the world and supporting him to become president in 2015, Galadima said he would tend apology to the people through the world renowned media outfits.
Galadima who is also the chairman of the Reformed All Progressives Congress, R-APC, a breakaway group of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC refuted the insinuations that Buhari clan impacted on his performance.
The Yobe born politician and former ally of the president said that maintained that Buhari was naturally a ‘bad’ man who does care about peoples conditions.
While asking Nigerians to join hands and vote Buhari out next year, he enjoined them to try Atiku who has pledged to perform better, saying that if he(Atiku) fails as well, he should be shown the way out in 2023.
He said: “I stand before you to tell you if there is any body that brought Buhari into politics, it is either me or us. Today, I will stand here to tell you that we should all put our hands together, strengthen ourselves and throw him out through the ballot box. I can tender public apology on BBC or CNN. Of course, if there is any person that promoted him from January 2002 to date, I can hardly be number two if I am not number one.
“Why does he have to go? The answer is simple. He has been accused of so many crimes. Some of them true, some of them may not even be true. I can tell you that. But greatest fault he has is that in my religion, Islam, I am a Muslim, the leader is everybody’s father. During the Kalim Umar reign as the leader if Islam across the world, the man cannot sleep in the night. He would go around in the town, trying to find out who is hungry. And God said that even an animal sleeps with hunger during your reign, you are held responsible let alone people being end, human beings and cannot eat three square meals per day. The responsibility and the whole thing is entirely on his head and he doesn’t give a damn. For me, that is his greatest offence.
“Therefore if there is no compassion, people are being killed, maimed, communities are being wiped out, disasters are happening, he never gave a damn for two and half years. He couldn’t even visit the people to commiserate with them. What kind of a leader is that? So, the man is bad not because he is Hausa or Fulani but he is bad. Mohammadu Buhari is bad. So, he should go and rest. Why I am saying so is that there is a lot of Hausa and Fulani people that are being killed, may be sleeping with hunger. This hunger, poverty, killing knows no bounds.
“What we need in Nigeria is the person that can protect lives and property of individuals. And we should on changing leaders. We should keep on changing them until we get to the best. Buhari is bad. All of you should rise up. He should go in 2019.
“For now, my group has not taken a position as to who to support. I supported Kwamkwaso and I want to assure that all the candidates, forget about the primaries, he is the person that has got tentacles across the country. But the issue is that Any Body But Buhari, ABB, let’s try Atiku. If he doesn’t perform, let’s throw him out. Obasanjo doesn’t like Atiku but he has said he is better than Buhari. So let’s make progress.”
Galadima also advised the gathering graced by Dr. Jamila Tafawa Belewa, son of Nigeria’s former Prime Minister, Alhaji Tafawa Belewa and many Igbo youths to forget the injustices of the past and integrate with all Nigerians for the actualization of the country’s president of Igbo extraction.
He said that the people should see all parts of the country as one rather than clamouring for Igbo president as if they have a parallel country.
“If there is a bomb attack here, it is not only Igbo people that will die. Things that are gone, we shouldn’t reminding ourselves. We should integrate ourselves and become brothers and sisters irrespective of religion and tribe. At least, that is what Nigeria national anthem is promoting.
“When you keep on saying it is Igbo, nobody will trust you with the leadership of Nigeria because the leadership is not for Nigeria not for Igbos. . What we need is a president of Nigeria including Igbos and Hausa’s. When you keep on drumming that it is Igbo, then people become suspicious and they may not give you that chance. What we want is an Igbo man to be President of Nigeria and treat the Yoruba man, Hausa man as his own people. That is what we should be looking towards so that we build a nation.
“The entire population of my village is not more than 500 people but the richest man in that village is an Igbo man. If my village is attacked now, he may be one of the victims because his properties are outstanding. He has made investments. He has a chemist where every sick persons runs to. He is helping to build the community. He has been one of us. He speaks the language”, he said.
Also speaking, Dr. Tarawa Belewa said that Nigeria needed a new set of leadership with different line of thought to revive the country.
He told the people to live as one, saying time for aggressions and animosity against the tribes was over.
“Why can’t we be Nigerians on our own soil? Why can’t we enjoy our diversity? I honestly don’t know. We know what discrimination is and in a federal Republic as Nigeria, we are supposed to be equal. We need to see ourselves as others see us outside. We are disunited. There is something very wrong.”
“We still have people in government who are analogue. We need to think a little big different. This country needs some revival”, he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director-General of EPA, Barrister Ihechi Ike said called on president Buhari to  review his position on the declaration of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB as a terrorist organization.
He said: “We also want to use this opportunity to call on President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to review his stand on the declaration of IPOB as a terrorist organization. We believe that a father does not declare war on a child asking for his right. They are our brothers and sons not outsiders. This is not a call based on sentiment alone but we have investigated both locally and internationally and have come to conclusion that they are not and have never indulged in any act that can be termed ” terrorism “.
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Atiku tasks Buhari not to plunge Nigeria into another recession
October 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Olayinka Ajayi
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar during his campaign for the presidential mandate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party to unseat the Incumbent President at next year’s presidential elections in Lagos / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar during his campaign for the presidential mandate of the opposition People’s Democratic Party to unseat the Incumbent President at next year’s presidential elections in Lagos / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

ABUJA- Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 general elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has warned against the implementation of Executive Order 6 (EO6) saying it is capable of triggering capital flight out of the country.

In a statement by his campaign organization said instruments intended to promote good governance must conform with the rule of law and constitutional provisions.: “Under the Buhari administration, Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented capital flight out of the nation to the extent that we are not even listed amongst the top ten recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the latest ranking by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. It is salient to note that we were number one under the last PDP administration.
“We must be unequivocal in saying that we abhor any act of criminality, financially or otherwise, but the rule of law must be our guide at all times or society will descend to anarchy. Thus, we find it most undemocratic that in a nation governed by the rule of law, a President who swore an oath to abide by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, does this.
“If past events are to be the judge, these 50 individuals will conveniently be critics and opponents of the Buhari administration. This is nothing short of intimidation ahead of the 2019 elections.
“This is what the Buhari administration did in Osun where they froze the accounts of the Adeleke family and then illegally and clandestinely paid ₦16.7 billion to the Osun state government to facilitate daylight electoral robbery.
“The Nigerian Constitution guarantees every Nigerian citizen freedom of movement and freedom of association. This Constitutional right cannot be taken away except by a court order.
“If the Buhari administration wants to curtail the rights of Nigerians, then they must go to court and obtain a court order. Anything short of this is unconstitutional and extra-judicial.
“This sudden dictatorial act brings to mind President Buhari’s comments for which he was condemned by the international community and by the generality of Nigerians.
“While delivering an address at the annual general conference of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, on August 26, 2018, President Buhari has said ‘where national security and public interest are threatened or there is a likelihood of their being threatened, the individual rights of those allegedly responsible must take second place, in favour of the greater good of society.’
“That was not only a faulty interpretation of the constitution, the statement also betrays the dictatorial and authoritarian mindset of President Buhari because only he gets to decide who and what threatens national security.”
Atiku likened the issuance of EO6 to a military fiat saying, “It is a throwback to Buhari’s evil Decree Number Two of 1984 which criminalised truth telling if it did not please Buhari, proving that dictators can grow old, but they can’t grow into democrats.”
He described as an irony the failure by the APC government to stop an alleged pension fraudster from leaving the country despite the weighty allegations against him.
“Funny enough, the Buhari administration were unable to stop Abdulrasheed Maina, their financier, from leaving the country after he was illegally brought back by them and reinstated to the federal service with double promotion.
“It is precisely this type of draconian orders that have chased investors away from Nigeria and it is precisely why Nigerians will chase this recession friendly government away from power on February 16, 2019, so we can begin the job of Getting Nigeria Working Again,” it added.
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China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy: Time for Africa to reconsider Its Sino Relations ?
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

At the start of the decolonization period in Africa around the 1960s, Africa (as a whole) and China were facing more or less the same problems economy wise. These two were struggling to sustain themselves; Africa and China were agro-based but an agriculture backbone was proving to be an unsustainable solution not just in keeping the economy stable at the time but also in shaping the future.

Faced with almost the same problem, Africa and China at the time (the early 1960s) decided to take different paths. China started diversifying its economy and placed austerity measures to cut government expenditure. Africa on the other hand when it attained independence decided to stick with agriculture, mining and adopted the welfarist ideology which chowed a huge chunk of government revenue subsiding consumer goods and paying for free health and education. The end result was that China moved forward and Africa regressed.

Africa’s regression meant that it had to look for bailouts. Surprisingly, one of the countries that Africa looked to for bailouts is China, the same country which the African continent had the same standing with barely less than 50 years back.

The mere fact that China managed to move forward while Africa regressed is enough for us to conclude that China is intelligent and Africa (as painful as it is to say) is dull. To illustrate China’s intelligence, one only needs to look at its Debt Trap Diplomacy which ensures that China continues to propel further economically while furthering its political interests. To better understand and appreciate China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy, let’s use the zero-sum game theory.

Zero-Sum Game Theory

In general, the zero-sum game theory entails that when two actors enter into a partnership, only one actor is going to gain while the other is going to lose. As such, in the China-Africa relationship, there is one actor who is clearly gaining and another who is clearly losing. Taking, for instance, the case of Zambia.

Since independence, mining (particularly copper mining) has been the backbone of Zambia’s economy. However, around 2011, the price of copper significantly fell thereby affecting the economic standing of the country significantly. The Zambian government was unable to balance its budget, therefore, leading it to look for alternative ways of earning money to be used in covering the budget deficit. The chosen alternative method was borrowing.

The first port of call was to look to the West. Zambia approached the IMF and received a small loan. However, as the prices of copper continued to tumble, it meant Zambia once again had to approach the IMF for another bailout. Unfortunately, the second time around Zambia received a different response from the IMF. Instead of receiving the funds it came looking for, the IMF said “…the latest borrowing plans provided by the authorities continue to compromise the country’s debt sustainability and risk undermining its macroeconomic stability…future program discussions can only take place once Zambian authorities implement credible measures that ensure debt contraction is consistent with a key program objective of stabilizing debt dynamics and putting them on a declining trend in the medium term.”

As has been the case with China in recent times, China was quick to offer Zambia a lifeline by offering quite a substantial loan. The trick however when it comes to Chinese loans under the Debt Trap Diplomacy is that it somehow indirectly influences leaders not to reveal the details of the loan to the prying eyes of the public. With less to no accountability, any staggering clauses inside the loan agreements will not cause any alarm hence no public outcry.

Using this method, China managed to offer Zambia loans in which she added major state assets as collaterals in case Zambia fails to repay back the loan within the agreed timeframe. The collateral that was included in some of the loan agreements includes national broadcaster ZNBC and power utility ZESCO. In one of the loan agreements, Zambia failed to meet the repayment terms and ended up losing ZNBC to the Chinese who now control the state broadcaster. In another loan agreement, Zambia also failed to meet the loan repayment deadline. While by default Zambia was supposed to automatically forfeit its control of ZESCO owing to its failure to meet the repayment deadline, it’s still controlling the power utility but just for the time being.

In the end, one can see that from the so-called relationship established by China and Zambia, only China has managed to win as it now controls the country’s state broadcaster and is likely going to control the country’s power utility. With its controlling stake in ZNBC, China does possess the keys to influencing public opinion and perception as media plays a critical role in how public opinion is shaped. Though we don’t know when (as it’s now looking certain) China will assume full control of ZESCO and any other national assets that we may not know of at this point in time, what we do know is that China is slowly but surely entrenching itself in Africa and placing itself strategically so that it can have access to Africa resources with no questions asked.

Zambia’s fate has also befallen Djibouti (which lost one of its ports to the Chinese) while other African countries are likely to face the same eventuality as they are all relying on Chinese loans to service their foreign and local debts while at the same time covering budget deficits with borrowings.

Reconsidering Sino-Africa Relations

The mere fact that Africa has already seen two countries cede some of their national assets to China should be a wakeup call for Africa. Now is the time for all African countries to start reconsidering Sino-Africa relations. There are different ways in which African countries can do this and below, we share some of these methods. Only with a reformed mindset will Africa start moving forward and this change in the mindset is needed right now.

  • Revising Previous (Loan and Investment) Agreements

During his campaigns, the leader of the opposition party in Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa said that if he won, he would revise all Chinese deals that the country is part of. At the time, many media outlets, Chinese investors, economists and the general public viewed the remarks with contempt thinking that he wanted to boot out Chinese investors on the continent. That was not the case, however, all that Chamisa wanted was to revise all deals so as to find out if there are any glaring clauses which benefit China solely while inconveniencing Africa. Though he lost the election, his solution to the China Debt Trap Diplomacy is what Africa needs to do. Africa needs to revise all deals that it entered with the Chinese. All deals that threaten the sovereignty of Africa (such as the taking of key national assets) should be revoked as was done by Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar.

  • Need For The Emergence of an Active Citizenry

African leaders have been able to get away with some scandalous deals because they have not been subjected to intense scrutiny. As such, it’s important that the African population becomes active in the affairs of the country. Each deal that the country enters should be scrutinized, if there are any suspicious and glaring clauses, they should be pointed out. Once there is accountability, African leaders will be forced to stop entering into unfavourable deals.

  • Time Nigh For Africa to Depend On Itself

Africa has for so long depended on foreign aid to finance different government services as well as cover budget deficits. This despite the fact that Africa is one of the richest continents on the planet owing to the endowment of numerous natural resources. Therefore, there is a need for Africa to stop relying on foreign aid but to come up with measures which will enable the continent to feed itself. While relying on natural resources is alright, Africa no longer needs to export unprocessed raw materials but rather, it needs to focus on value addition and beneficiation.

  • Need to Stamp Out Corruption

It’s not always the case that China puts clauses that disadvantage Africa. Sometimes it’s Africans who disadvantage Africa through engaging in malpractices such as corruption. There are times when Africa receives aid or loans but rather than channelling the funds to the purposes that they are meant to address, high ranking officials in the government syphon the funds and divert them to personal use. In the end, it’s the ordinary folks and the state which is left to bear the effects of corruption. Therefore, public servants ought to serve and not to profiteer at the expense of the country. Also, the ordinary folks ought to take measures to force the public officials to be accountable so that loans and aid money is used to address the goals it is supposed to address.

  • Take Heed of Advice

Earlier on, we discussed how Zambia failed to take heed of advice offered by the IMF and decided to look elsewhere for support. Many countries on the African continent have taken the same stance, instead of listening to advice given by some economic think tanks to implement necessary reforms, they look the other way. Its high time, that African leaders start taking heed of the advice given by reputable authorities so that they remove their countries from the quagmire they find themselves in. the general public has a role to play in forcing the government to listen to advice and also to abide by the advice offered by reputable think tanks. Only a concerted effort between the leadership and the people can take Africa from its current predicament.

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The Third Edition Of The Africa Forum To Take Place In Sharm El-Sheikh On The 8-9 December, Held Under The High Patronage Of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President Of The Arab Republic Of Egypt.
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

Over 2,000 Participants Expected During The Two-Day Forum To Advance Trade And Investment Across Africa.

– Confirmations Received From 5 Heads Of State

– Forum Will Also Focus On Issues Relating To Entrepreneurship And Giving A Stronger Voice To Women At The Decision Making Table


 

Cairo, 3rd September, 2018 – The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and COMESA Regional Investment Agency today confirmed dates for the Africa 2018, a high-level forum offering participants an unparalleled platform for promoting trade and investment within the continent. The Forum will be held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt on 8-9 December 2018, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The Forum will be the biggest business-to-business and government-to-business gathering bringing together leading policy makers with captains of industry, financiers, major industrialists and young entrepreneurs from across Africa and beyond.

This year’s edition takes place against an important backdrop with Egypt taking over the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, making it a platform to help shape private sector priorities for the coming year. The theme for this year; ‘Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: The third edition of the Africa Forum to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh on the 8-9 December, held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

Advancing Intra-African Investments’ reflects the need for policy makers and the private sector to collaborate more closely and take tough decisions to advance and fast-track development across the continent.

The organisers have confirmed that already five African heads of State had confirmed their participation including the newly elected Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and also President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, who has been leading the drive to get commitment from other African heads of State to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

This year, the Forum will have a day focusing on the role of women in helping them define the continental priorities in a gathering called Women Empowering Africa. The organisers will convene women driving change across the continent and give them a platform to get together and agree on clear action points to ensure they have a stronger voice and more significant presence at the decision making table, as much in government as in the boardroom. A communiqué will be presented to the heads of state present highlighting their priority concerns and aspirations.

Building on last year’s success, the organisers will be hosting their Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) offering the continent’s rising stars the opportunity to meet a diverse set of investors as well as to hone their skills in some workshops tailored by specialist consultancies and leaders in their field.

Speaking about the Forum, H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, reiterated her country’s commitment to working towards a unified vision for promoting economic co-operation among African nations: “The Forum aims to improve intra-African trade and investment for the benefit for all citizens on this continent. Egypt’s comprehensive socio-economic reform programme to transform our country continues to progress alongside efforts to advancing Africa’s sustainable development through greater cross-border business among our nations.” Echoing this commitment was Heba Salama, COMESA Regional Investment Agency CEO, welcoming this important community to the third edition of the Forum: “COMESA, now consisting of 21 countries following the admission of Tunisia and Somalia this year, continues to play a lead role in advancing Africa’s economic integration. As one of the most influential regional economic communities in Africa we have a pivotal role to play in engaging with business leaders and investors.”

The Forum is by invitation only. Interested parties can apply for an invitation through the event website www.businessforafricaforum.com .


Media inquiries:

CAIRO: Engy AbdelHady (eabdelhady@comesaria.org)

LONDON: Ishara Callan (i.callan@icpublications.com)


About Africa 2018

Africa 2018 Forum will be held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 8th and 9th December 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organised by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

The 2018 edition builds on the success of the previous editions, which have seen the participation of 11 Heads of State and more than 3,000 delegates from 80+ countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with a Women Empowering Africa day as well as our exclusive Presidential Roundtables with African leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.

Africa 2018 has established itself as the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.

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Ivory Coast’s Ouattara Won’t Seek Third Term, Spokesman Says
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

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  • Ouattara suggested earlier this year he may run in 2020
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Ouattara

Ouattara

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara will step down after serving two terms and won’t run for a third term in elections due 2020, according to a government spokesman.

 “It’s clear, there’s no speculation, no ambiguity,” deputy government spokesman Mamadou Toure said by phone Friday from the commercial capital, Abidjan.

Ouattara, 76, told the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique earlier this year that he’s still deciding whether to run again, saying a constitution adopted in 2016 allows him to extend his time in office. While Ivory Coast has a limit of two presidential terms, Ouattara’s Rally of the Republicans party says the new charter has reset the clock.

The interview came after Ouattara first appeared to reconsider earlier pledges to stick to two terms by saying “we’ll see what happens’’ when asked last year whether he would step down. In previous years, he was firm in saying he’d quit by 2020.

*Bloomberg

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October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ali Mohammed, Ethiopian Airlines area manager Gulf, receives the award.

Ali Mohammed, Ethiopian Airlines area manager Gulf, receives the award.

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The Aviation 100 awards recognize aviation’s most outstanding performers, as well as the most innovative and successful finance and leasing deals closed in the last 12 months. Winners of the Aviation 100 awards are decided by an industry-wide survey, a rigorous vetting process and editorial consideration.

Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said: “We are happy to receive this award from Airline Economics. It’s for the first time that the Japanese financing system, JOLCO, financed an aircraft deal with an African airline. JOLCO availed financing for our A350 aircraft. The deal shows the strong confidence of reputed global financiers in Ethiopian balance sheet and business plan.”

*Arab News

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