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ME, FARAGE AND BREXIT…
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Omar Arouna*

I was introduced to Nigel Farage in January 2017 by a friend and a business partner shortly after he pulled off the Brexit win. –For those who don’t know him, Nigel Paul Farage is a British politician, broadcaster, and political analyst serving as Leader of the Brexit Party since 2019 and has served as Member of the European Parliament for South East England since 1999— We will connect at events time permitting whenever he is in Washington DC.

At tonight reception honoring him, Nigel directed my attention to the picture below and asked, “Ambassador do you approve?” I guess Nigel wanted me to reach beyond the noise and grasp a deeper meaning of his fight for Brexit. I read the message on the picture and it got me thinking.  Think about it as well…

It is well documented that EU policies affect Africa’s ability to address its agricultural and food challenges: Tariff escalation; technological innovation and food export preferences are major challenge that the continent needs to overcome. African shouldn’t be viewed simply as raw material exporters. However, adding value to the exports out of the continent continue to be frustrated by existing EU policies.

According to Calestous Juma a professor of the practice of international development at Harvard Kennedy School “EU charges (a tariff) of 30 per cent for processed cocoa products like chocolate bars or cocoa powder, and 60 per cent for some other refined products containing cocoa.” The impact of such charges goes well beyond lost export opportunities. They suppress technological innovation and industrial development among African countries. The practice denies the continent the ability to acquire, adopt and diffuse technologies used in food processing. It explains to some extent the low level of investment in Africa’s food processing enterprises.

Such High import duties keep products from developing countries out of Europe. Highly processed products are taxed more heavily than raw products. Import tariffs increase the more processed a product becomes. This measure ensures that most imports to the EU are raw products like coffee, cocoa or pineapples which cannot be cultivated in Europe.

MAYBE BREXIT MIGHT NOT BE A BAD THING FOR AFRICA AFTER ALL…just a thought

*Omar Arouna is a Cybersecurity Technologist, Diplomat, International Relations and Africa market entry strategist

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With Brand New Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal and a Gas Mega Hub, Equatorial Guinea Drives the African Game
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Rachid Taha leaves us Je Suis Africain
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
Rachid TAHA, Paris, 2004

Rachid TAHA, Paris, 2004

A posthumous record? “Nothing to declare!” as Rachid would have said, leaning on the bar counter, with messy hair, bright eyes, and a raspy voice. He’s there, you can’t miss him. He may be laid to rest in Algeria, but he hasn’t left us. He knew that those who are allegedly missing are well and alive: “Do you really know the others?” the master of rock-Chaâbi once asked, quoting the greats Johnny Cash, Oum Kalthoum, and Andy Warhol in a prophetic song titled Andy Walhoo. He wrote this arabic-punk-electro piece with guitars, balafon, and mouth harp before succumbing to a heart attack on September 12, 2018. “I was there with you last night, you told me to come. Every week you tell me, I’m waiting for you in my slum, there’s a Picasso exhibition, go see him. What a bastard, he had a nice mirror, I saw Jean Cocteau kissing Jean Marais,” he sings, ending with a big laugh. So nobody is gone, they live on in us.

With boundless energy, Taha wrote eleven songs together with Toma Feterman for his eleventh solo album, diving deep into his roots as usual. First, Algerian Chaâbi, so subtle, yet so complex. Then rock, which took the world by storm during the postwar period, and punk, its offshoot, in the style of The Clash. Finally, electronica, the musical revolution of the late twentieth century, as hypnotic as the Gnawas guembris or Sufi trance sounds. Rachid was influenced by all of it.

Youyous, flutes, women’s choirs, metal riffs: the French-Algerian, however weakened by the paralyzing effects of Chiari malformation, which he suffered from, created whirlpools, deluges, torrents. He invited us to dance with Andy Walhoo, and also with Like a Dervish, his “first song in English, I know I’m cheating, my English is not so rich.” His plays on words were irresistible: English, backich, dervish, merlich… The troublemaker of the “alternative Koran” also used to speak francarabe, a mix of French and Arabic, which he used to both celebrate and mock the Jewish masters (Lili Boniche, Reinette l’Oranaise, Line Monty…), humming their oriental boleros, such as Chérie je t’aimechérie je t’adore and Bambino.

That’s why his new record, which he had been working on for two years before he was buried in the Sidi Benziane cemetery, had to be in mandoline-embellished French. One of the songs is called Minouche: “Minouche ma minouche, pourquoi tu te fâches, ne prends pas la mouche, ma jolie peau de vache… Minouche, donne-moi ta bouche” (Minouche, my little Minouche, why are you upset, don’t get into a huff, my pretty vixen… Minouche, let me kiss you). A popular dance tune for sure, with words sculpted by Jean Fauque, who worked closely with Bashung and Erwan Séguillon.

The rough voice and wild blend of styles don’t give an accurate description of this son of immigrants (born near Oran, Algeria, he was raised in eastern France and later settled down in Lyon). Rachid the rebel built bridges, “introducing beautiful people to the world” by singing Charles Trenet’s Douce France with his first band, Carte de séjour (French for “resident permit”), in 1986 to mock French integration while the Marche des Beurs (March of the French Arabs) was being broken up and François Mitterrand was celebrating the creation of SOS-Racisme (a movement of anti-racist NGOs founded in France in 1984). In 1998, he created a transgenerational hit with the album Diwân, which included a cover of Ya Rayah, the anthem of Algerian immigrants composed by the Chaâbi idol Dahmane El-Harrachi (1925-1980).

Throughout these years of experience—which also marked the rise of Oranian Rai music, which Rachid sang the traditional way, following in the footsteps of the great Cheikha Rimitti—he worked with Steve Hillage, whom he met in 1984. The former Gong guitarist was a lover of looped electronic rhythms, and starting in 1997, he infused his energy into the creation of Voilà, voilà, an anti–Front National, anti-xenophobic song that Rachid would never stop singing.

And ever since this sensory overload, Rachid continued to speak to us, and jostle us, in Arabic, French, Franglish, and even Spanish, through the limpid voice of the young Flèche Love (Amina Cadelli, born in Geneva of an Algerian mother), whom he discovered on YouTube after finally being introduced to the digital tablet. This extraordinary tattooed and esoteric artist accompanied him on Wahdi, a song with Gnawa rhythms, to which he added a Mexican trumpet, evoking Ennio Morricone.

The album was produced and co-written by Toma Feterman, a gifted multi-instrumentalist and founder of La Caravane Passe, a band that mixes rap, gypsy jazz, Balkan fanfare, alternative rock, and electro.

Toma and Rachid hung out at the same bars and clubs in the north of Paris (Bellevilloise, Cabaret Sauvage), following their friend Remy Kolpa Kopoul of Radio Nova (a French radio station created in 1981, which played non-mainstream and underground artists of various musical genres), whose death in 2015 left Rachid feeling orphaned.

Toma then asked him to sing Baba, a song that he had just written for Canis Carmina, his band’s next album. Over the course of one night, the two friends recorded a dozen tracks. “I used the recordings from this first session,” Toma said, “without needing to make him sing again, because there was nothing to change.” They improvised, and it was the beginning of a frenetic, productive adventure, of nights partying at Toma’s or Rachid’s, or spent in the studio. Hours of creation and surprises shared with his son Lyes, his friend Toufik, his mandolin player Hakim Hamadouche, and his former keyboard player Yves Fredj Aouizerate, who was also his last manager.

It was a club, a family, a community, a trip. The adventure even passed through studios in Bamako, because Rachid is African, having been born in Algeria, bordering Mali, the Mandingo musical empire. Je suis africain(I am African), the song that gives its name to the album, is an homage to the sounds of this great continent, that weaves together soukouss guitars, an Arab-Andalusian orchestra, Middle Eastern violins, balafon, and talking drums. “I am African, from Paris to Bamako, from New York to Congo”—the magnificent joker is having fun, playing with elegance. He takes the accent of a “fantastical” Africa and quotes Marley and Malcom X, Kateb Yacine, Franz Fanon, Patrice Lumumba, Angela Davis—all of them “African.”

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Technology is the game changer for sports betting, argues ICE Africa speaker, Seun Methowe
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
Seun Methowe, Head of Advertising and Partnership Sales, DAZN

Seun Methowe, Head of Advertising and Partnership Sales, DAZN

Seun Methowe, Head of Advertising and Partnership Sales, at global live sport OTT platform, DAZN, believes that new technologies and in particular streaming will create more demand from upwardly mobile players and lead to a transformation in the way that betting brands and broadcasters engage with the market.

Speaking ahead of his appearance at October’s ICE Africa where he will be one of 65 thought leaders contributing to the event’s learning streams, Methowe, confirmed: “DAZN’s platform Goal.com is the number one football destination on the continent with more than 20m users drawn from throughout the regulated gaming economies.  We are already working with major broadcasters and betting firms across Africa and there’s no doubt that technology will revolutionize the consumption of live and original sports content.”

He added: “New markets in entertainment, including virtual and fantasy football, are trends that experts in the gambling and betting industry will need to explore. Millennials in Africa are upwardly mobile and aspirational with huge numbers digesting information on sports, news and entertainment platforms with social media contributing to the ‘fuelling’ of this information digest.

“Content providers within the gaming industry are looking towards the creation of sustainable models and with a huge population base in excess of 1.3bn the potential in Africa is massive. ICE Africa is a powerful networking platform for stakeholders and therefore invaluable to any operator, decision maker or executive in the industry to garner knowledge and the opportunities that exist to grow their businesses.”

ICE Africa (2-3 October, Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa) provides an invaluable opportunity for operators, regulators and suppliers to meet, network, share best practice and see the very latest gaming products and services from the industry’s leading innovators.  Described by industry observers as ‘A showcase event that Africa can be proud of’ attendees will benefit from a programme of engaging content including Thought Leadership, Training, Regulation, Online vs. Retail, Integrated Resorts, Branding, Marketing, Sports and eSports.  Seun Methowe will be part of the panel entitled: Sports Content: How will the growth of streaming services impact sports betting and horse racing?

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German Expertise is Behind West Africa’s First LNG Storage and Regasification Plant
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
Sebastian Wagner, founder at the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF)

Sebastian Wagner, founder at the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF)

The Akonikien plant will be receiving LNG and distribute it to various industries on the mainland, such as power and cement

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 20, 2019/ — German companies ESC Engineers and Noordtec worked closely with Equatoguinean contractor Elite Construcciones on the design, development and construction of the Akonikien LNG project in Equatorial Guinea. The 14,000 cubic metres storage and regasification plant was inaugurated this week by H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, and is the first such facility in West Africa.

The project is part of Equatorial Guinea’s LNG2AFRICA initiative that seeks to develop small-scale LNG projects to supply African gas to African countries and regions with limited infrastructure. The Akonikien plant will be receiving LNG and distribute it to various industries on the mainland, such as power and cement.

“German companies have once again demonstrated their ability to bring valuable technical expertise and technology to meet Africa’s growing and complex energy needs,” declared Sebastian Wagner, founder at the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF). “More importantly, this project was realized in cooperation with German SMEs, showing the increasing number of private German companies able to work in collaboration with African entities on key energy project. Germany has developed a strong expertise in gas, power and renewables, which have all become central to the African energy agenda.”

Last month and in order to support the growing energy cooperation between Germany and Africa, the GABF launched a multi-million Euro funding commitment to invest in German energy startups that focus on Africa. The funding commitment, which pledges funds to German startups with exposure to African energy projects, is the first such intra-regional initiative. It goes in line with Germany’s renewed focus on Africa, with the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) providing new stimulus to cooperation with the continent through the Marshall Plan with Africa.

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Cameroon: Sisiku Ayuk Tabe, 9 others handed life sentences
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Sisiku Ayuk Tabe

Sisiku Ayuk Tabe

The Yaounde Military court has handed life sentences to leaders of the Ambazonia separatist movement. He and nine others were convicted of charges including “terrorism and secession”, government lawyer Martin Luther Achet told AFP news agency on Tuesday. They were equally ordered to pay in FCFA 250 billion to the court

In a press release from the Communication and Media Committee of the Defense Team of Sessekou Ayuk Julius Tabe and others, Media and Communication Chairman Amungwa Tanyi Nicodemous stated, “Let the entire world be informed that at exactly 5:38 am this Tuesday the 20th day of August 2019, the President of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia and the nine (9) others have been slammed the life sentence by the Yaounde Military Tribunal in gross violation of their rights as accused persons.”

Ayuk Tabe was the first self-proclaimed president of “Ambazonia”, a breakaway state declared in October 2017 in two English-speaking Regions of Cameroon. The verdict brings to an end a case that has been dragging for more than a year now. Observers say this decision has killed all hopes of an effective back to school in the South West and North West Regions.

In January 2018, Ayuk Tabe was arrested with 46 other separatists in the Nigerian capital Abuja. They were then handed over to Cameroon in a move that was ruled illegal by a Nigerian court in March this year. In late May, Ayuk Tabe said he was willing to take part in talks with the government, provided this took place abroad and the government released all who had been detained since the start of the Anglophone crisis.

Renowned Human Rights Lawyer Barrister Felix Agbor Balla in a Facebook post categorically stated, “The sentencing of Sisiku and Co. to life imprisonment is an affront to due process and the rule of law”. “The right to fai trial is a fundermental human right. The sham process is a reflection of the sham management of the country.”

Is Mancho Bibixy next to get life imprisonment?

Mancho Bibixy addressing a crowd in Bamenda shortly before his arrest

Mancho Bibixy addressing a crowd in Bamenda shortly before his arrest

The Cameroon government is accusing Mancho Bibixy of tampering with the integrity of the nation by “demanding the partition of Cameroon through the creation of the State of Ambazonia.”He is also charged with trying to use violence to demand a return to Federation and for not being in possession of his Identity card

Mancho is being detained at the Kondengui Prison in Yaounde since his arrest in Bamenda on January 19, 2017. The detention of Mancho for thinking about a federal state and at the same time independence of the Southern Cameroons is an indication that he is a prisoner of conscience. “He was abducted and bundled to Yaounde, without being given time to take anything along. It is surprising that he is being accused of not having an identity card,” one of Mancho’s friends explained in anger.

Described as very courageous, ‘liberation spirit’, He is said to have also made close contacts with other Southern Cameroons liberation activists worldwide. “It was so until 21 Nov 2016 when God commanded me to take the struggle to another level,” Mancho is quoted as saying. “I expect Southern Cameroonians to hold on to this struggle as if that’s the only thing they have remaining in this world.

The crisis which has been going on for more than 2 years now has seen many killed, displaced or become refugees in neighboring Nigeria. Attacks by both sides have left 1,850 dead, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, while the UN says 530,000 people have fled their homes. According to UN aid officials, more than one in six people in Cameroon-4.3 million need humanitarian aid, an increase of 30 percent from 2018.

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Equatorial Guinea to build West Africa’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and regas plant
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
The project forms part of Equatorial Guinea’s regional LNG2Africa initiative which seeks to drive gas monetization through in-country gas-to-power projects

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, August 20, 2019/ — Located at the Port of Akonikien, the landmark regasification plant will enable the storage, transportation and distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the country’s mainland; 12 bullet tanks will carry 14,000 cubic meters of storage capacity, supported by a truck loading station and 12-kilometers of ten-inch gas and diesel pipelines; The project will be led by local construction and engineering firm Elite Construcciones; The project forms part of Equatorial Guinea’s regional LNG2Africa initiative which seeks to drive gas monetization through in-country gas-to-power projects.

Equatorial Guinea is set to construct the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification plant in West Africa, advancing efforts to monetize gas resources through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure.

Located at the Port of Akonikien on the country’s mainland, the plant will enable the transportation and storage of LNG from the EG LNG plant at the Punta Europa Gas Complex on Bioko Island, to Akonikien on the southern border of the mainland. It will then be fed into the regasification plant to be distributed to smaller-scale power plants and LNG power stations throughout the country, as well as exported to neighboring countries.

The Akonikien project is the first gas-to-power development in Equatorial Guinea’s LNG2Africa initiative. Launched by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 2018, the initiative seeks to facilitate the production and trade of LNG through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure and intra-African LNG industry.

Spearheaded by local construction and engineering firm Elite Construcciones, the plant will have a storage capacity of 14,000 cubic meters with 12 bullet tanks. The tanks are currently the largest factory-built cryogenic bullet tanks in the world with a capacity of 1,228 cubic meters and dimensions of  31 meters by 9.3 meters  by 8.8 meters. Built by American manufacturer Corban Energy Group, each tank is estimated to require 12 hours to complete the 12,000-meter distance from the port to the new plant. Elite Construcciones is also installing a truck loading station and 12 kilometers of 10-inch gas and diesel pipelines.

Other major suppliers include pipe supplier PFF Group, who manufactured 12,400 meters of pipes, shipping agents D&B Shipping Ltd. who facilitated the shipment of 22 40-foot open-top containers, and Meakin Logistics UK. Elite Construcciones also worked closely with German companies Noorwerk and ESC on the design and construction of the plant.

 

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Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator returns in search of promising sub-Saharan Africa solar projects
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
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AFRICOM, Ghana Armed Forces Commence Africa Endeavor 2019
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Ministerial gathering to shape Africa’s health agenda opens in Brazzaville
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
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“I encourage you to go HOME”, American Comedian Steve Harvey says while commemorating Year of Return in Ghana
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

In commemoration of 400 years since the first black slaves landed in Jamestown, Virginia, American comedian and actor, Steve Harvey, is in Ghana for the ‘Year of Return”, an initiative by the government of Ghana.

The famous comedian and host of The Steve Harvey Show, alongside his family, have visited some selected tourist sites including castles where slaves were kept as he embarked on the tour to expose himself and learn more about Ghanaian history and culture.

“It’s so wonderful to see our brothers and sisters from the African diaspora making the journey to the continent. He is in town with his family and taking in the sights and sounds of Ghana. He even got a brand-new outfit made by a local designer,” organizers of the “year of return” said on a social media post.

Launched last year in Washington, D.C., by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, for Africans in the diaspora to visit the West African country as part of the commemoration 400th year since the first African slaves landed in Virginia, the initiative has gain commendation with several celebrities and Africans in across the globe make their way into Ghana to learn more about their root.

Steve Harvey and his family were welcomed to Ghana by the Minister of Tourism, Babara Oteng Gyasi and the Year of Return committee who met them at the W.E.B DuBois Center in Accra.

Steve’s family had an emotional day after visiting the Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle in Ghana.

“This was real pain I felt going back to Ghana’s slave castles…I could feel my ancestors on me… Powerful beyond words that I can explain. I encourage as many of you as possible to go HOME for your ancestors. Their strength is in each of us and we must honor their ultimate sacrifice in all that we do,” Steve wrote after visiting the Slave Castles.

Note that Steve Harvey is not the only American celebrity to visit Ghana in recent months. In December last year, actor Boris Kodjoe and some of his Hollywood friends and family including; Nicole Ari Parker, Diggy Simmons, Micheal Jai White, Anthony Anderson (of Blackish), Rosario Dawson, Jidenna, Cynthia Bailey, Bozoma Saint John spent a significant part of their month in Ghana.

Another Hollywood actor who came to Ghana was Samuel L. Jackson who had earlier traced his roots to Gabon. His adventures in the country included a documentary shoot and visits to local markets in Accra and fish markets in Cape Coast.

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Kenya:Billionaire appears to court, charged with tax evasions
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Humphrey Kariuki

Humphrey Kariuki

A Nairobi court on Monday charged a businessman with US$410 million tax evasion. Tycoon Humphrey Kariuki appeared to court two weeks after the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji ordered him to be arrested and persecuted for failing to pay taxes.

The investigations revealed Africa Spirits and Wines of the World Beverages, companies in which he holds major shares have dodged paying taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority between 2014 and 2019. The arrest warrant was also issued against three co-directors at WoW Beverages and four from Africa Spirits Ltd.

Other than tax evasion, they are also accused of fraud and being in possession of fake revenue stamps. The investigative officials early this year invaded the premises and confiscated over a million alcohol bottles and 24,000 counterfeit excise stamps.

“Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) audit has revealed that Africa Spirits/WoW Beverage had evaded payment of tax in the amount of over US$410 million between the period of 2014 and 2019. In addition, the audit revealed that there was evidence of tampering with the production system at the Africa Spirits factory that led to the submission of false declaring to KRA,” Haji said.

Haji was forced to take action after the period he gave the companies and KRA to settle out the issue out of court elapsed and the two parties did not come to an agreement. Appearing before the court’s Judge, Kariuki denied the charges and was freed on US$11,000 cash bail. He also refuted claims that he is a director at Africa Spirits noting that he is an investor through a corporate body.

He was required to surrender his two passports as evidence that he will not leave the country until the case is heard and verdict issued. He was told to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for formal processing.

His lawyer denied allegations that his client has been hiding since the arrest warrant was issued instead he disclosed that he was away and jetted back into the country on Sunday night.

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