Republic of Congo to vaccinate more than one million people against yellow fever
September 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
The Republic of Congo, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have started a vaccination campaign to control the spread of yellow fever in the port city of Pointe Noire and surrounding areas. More than 1 million people from nine months of age are expected to be vaccinated in this six-day campaign.
The vaccination campaign uses doses from the global emergency Yellow Fever vaccine stockpile managed by the International Coordination Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG) and funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The ICG coordinates the timely and equitable provision of vaccines during outbreaks and maintains an emergency stockpile of six million doses of yellow fever vaccine, which is continually replenished. Gavi will also cover operational costs for this campaign.
The immunization drive is a response to a laboratory-confirmed yellow fever case, which tested positive on 21 August 2018, after visiting a rural area.
Since then, no other case has been confirmed in the country, but more than 200 suspected cases have been reported since the beginning of the year, with most of these notified by the health authority in Pointe Noire. It’s possible that there are also undetected cases as a large proportion of the Pointe Noire population seeks care in the private
system and the national surveillance system may not be receiving notification.
Yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes, which can be deadly, but is prevented by an extremely effective vaccine. Urban outbreaks are of particular concern and Pointe Noire is the country’s economic capital, with a population of more than 1 million. After declining for many years, yellow fever
outbreaks are on the rise globally. The ease and speed of population movements, rapid urbanization and a resurgence of mosquitoes due to global warming have significantly increased the risk of urban outbreaks with international spread.
“Yellow fever has re-emerged as a public health threat in recent years in the African region,” said Dr Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO’s Emergencies Director for Africa. “However, the vaccine is safe and provides life-long immunity. This reactive vaccination campaign is focusing on people who are most at risk and will set up a firewall which will
prevent the virus from spreading further.”
The neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo has shown solidarity with the Republic of Congo by lending more than 700 000 syringes for the vaccination campaign, while Pointe Noire health authorities wait for syringes to arrive from the international stockpile next month.
The response to this outbreak is part of a comprehensive strategy to eliminate yellow fever epidemics (EYE) globally by 2026. WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, and more than fifty partners are supporting the Government of Congo and 39 other high-risk countries to assess epidemic risk, roll out vaccination campaigns, engage with communities and deliver other response activities, including surveillance and laboratory diagnosis.
Nationwide preventive actions are also needed to ensure the protection of the entire population at risk. Rapid outbreak detection and response and long-term prevention are integral to a sustained control of yellow fever.
As part of the EYE Strategy, more than four million additional people are expected to be vaccinated in preventive mass campaigns in the Republic of Congo over the few next years.
South Sudanese president orders to release PoWs, political detainees
September 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Thursday ordered to release all the prisoners of war, and political detainees in line with the revitalized peace agreement signed last month.
President Kiir ordered Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Gabriel Jok Riak to release all prisoners of War and detainees immediately as part of the implementation of the peace agreement, under the supervision of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
In a republican order read on the state-run TV, SSBC last evening, Kiir instructed the Chief of Defense Forces and the commanders of all the regular forces to register and hand over the PoWs and detainees to any third party (the ICRC).
“The President of the republic and commander-in-chief of the SPLA has issued a Republican Order No. 17 for the implementation of the permanent ceasefire and transitional security arrangements as per the provisions of R-ARCISS,” said part of the decree.
The presidential decision comes in line with Chapter II (Permanent Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangements) article 6 of section one dedicated to the permanent ceasefire.
The President further instructed the Chief of Defense Forces to direct all the SPLA forces to refrain from revenge attack or retaliation as well as stop training of any recruits immediately.
Kiir also directed the Chief of Defense Forces to ensure the orders are implemented with immediate effect. He also directed the army forces to cease the training of any recruits immediately.
The release of PoWs and detainees is one most awaited steps by the opposition groups and analyst saying it is a concrete measure that would help to reassure the full commitment to the signed revitalized peace deal, aims to end nearly five years conflict that has killed tenths thousands of the people and displaced 2.5 million people from their homes.
Of recently, the first Vice President Designate, Dr. Machar appealed to President Kiir to release all political detainees and lift the state of emergency if he is to come to Juba to attend peace celebrations. He also calls on Kiir to allow freedom of expression of the citizens and guarantee their safety.
Among the detainees, James Gadet Dak, former spokesperson of Dr. Riek Machar, SPLM-IO senior official, Aggrey Idr Ezbon, a well-known activist, Dong Samuel Luak and Opposition appointed Kapoeta governor, Marko Lokidor and plus the young entrepreneur Mr. Kerbino Wol.
In the related development, President Kiir, earlier on Thursday in SPLA headquarters, before republic ordered, directed the South Sudanese army and other regular forces to abide by the revitalized peace agreement, observe the rule of law and to not commit any attacks on civilians in the country. He said military courts would be established to punish the perpetrators of any aggression on civilians during the pre-transitional period.
President Kiir further concluded that he would issue a presidential decree changing the name of the SPLA to South Sudan People Defence Force (SSPDF) soon.
Kenya in shock over spate of female murders
September 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
The gruesome murder of two young women in less than one month has stunned a majority of Kenyans as personal security becomes a matter of concern.
Sharon Beryl Otieno’s body was found dumped in a thicket bush in Homabay County, western part of the country, while Monica Nyawira Kimani was killed and her body discarded in bathtub in her apartment, Nairobi.
Sharon Otieno, Rongo University student is alleged to have been abducted alongside Nation Media Group journalist Barrack Oduor by Migori Governor Okoth Obado’s Personal Assistant Michael Oyamo on September 3, 2018 and her lifeless body was discovered the following day at Kodera Forest. However, the journalist is said to have cheated death by jumping off the speeding car that they were bundled into and escaped the ordeal.
Sharon, who was seven months pregnant, was in love triangle with Governor Okoth Obado. According to Barack Oduor, the deceased wanted the story regarding her relationship with the Governor published in the media say he had deserted her. The scribe further divulged that Ms. Otieno had shown him whatsapp conversation between her and the County boss with the latter appealing to her to abort saying he cannot afford to withstand humiliation if the issue becomes public since he is a public figure. She also expressed her disappointment adding that Obado had given her Ksh.100, 000 ($1,000) three days before her death, which was insignificant compared to what he used to provide.
Melida Auma, the slain student’s mother also confirmed her daughter had a romantic relationship with the governor. He argued the relationship was marred with unfulfilled promises. She said Sharon was promised county business tenders although it did not happen.
“Okoth Obado (the governor) knew how the girl was going for medical checkup, “she explained.
The Governor first dismissed the claims of love affair with the student but later admitted through his lawyer after the DNA test revealed that he was the father of Sharon’s unborn baby but denied killing her.
“There are 99.99+ more chances that Okoth Obado is the biological father of the doner of the DNA generated from the foetus, that is Sharon Otieno’s child,” reads the report from the government analyst.A postmortem report indicated that Sharon was raped and stabbed eight times. Governor Obado, his personal aide Michael Oyamo;and two others were arrested, arraigned and charged with murder which they all denied. They are being held in police custody waiting to know their fate in regard to their bail applications which will be heard before Judge Jessie Lesiit.
Sharon parents have vowed not to bury her until investigations surrounding her brutal murder are completed and her killers brought to book.
“We are not carrying out any burial preparations, we cannot talk much unless our lawyer reveals more information,” Her mother, Auma reiterated.
Sharon, 26, and a mother of three, had been married but her marriage broke last year and she went back to her parent.
The family of Monica Nyawira Kimani is also crying for justice after their daughter was murdered in her apartment by unknown people. Joseph Kuria Irungu alias Jowie, Monica’s friend has been arrested as the main suspect and he is helping police with the investigations.
Monica, 29, a business woman in Southern Sudan returned to the country on fateful day and was scheduled to meet her family. He mother had tried to reach her and when she did not pick her calls, requested her brother, George Thiru to go and check on her.
George said they, him, a cousin, security guards knocked on her door several times but there was no response; and then they asked for permission to bring the door. Upon doing that they discovered her body in the bathtub with her hands and legs tied with a white cable and her phone by her side.
He reiterated that she had deep cut on her throat and a knife suspected to have been used by the murderer was put by her side.
Joseph Irungu, her longtime admirer, who was in her company, is being held in police custody.
Six African finalists selected by Arsenal FC and WorldRemit for new “Future Stars” youth coaching programme
September 28, 2018 | 0 Comments
A public vote will determine the coach who will train with Arsenal Soccer Schools in London
LONDON, United Kingdom, September 27, 2018/ —
A panel of judges from Arsenal Football Club (www.Arsenal.com) and its official online money transfer partner, WorldRemit (www.WorldRemit.com), have selected six coaches from across Africa as finalists in their new Future Stars coaching progamme. These final six coaches will now compete in a public vote on FutureStars.WorldRemit.com for the chance to attend an exclusive training programme with Arsenal Soccer Schools in London – fully sponsored by WorldRemit.
The finalists facing a public vote are:
Adegun Shola John from Lagos, Nigeria
Ahmed Ali from Hargeisa, Somaliland
Hamisi Mohamed from Nairobi, Kenya
Innocents Yeboah-Num from Abease, Ghana
Tersia Davids from Cape Town, South Africa
Titus Tongesai Sanangurai from Harare, Zimbabwe
The programme was designed to recognise and reward the valuable contribution of youth coaches to their local community and has already granted Arsenal replica shirts to over 500 kids whose coaches were shortlisted for the programme by the judging panel.
WorldRemit has filmed the finalists during their coaching sessions and the videos will be shown on the Future Stars (FutureStars.WorldRemit.com) website, where members of the public can vote for their preferred candidate. Voting on futurestars.worldremit.com will open on 28th September.
A key part of the successful coach’s training at Arsenal will focus on how they will use the opportunity to build a lasting legacy in their home country. The finalists have therefore been selected based on the strength of their existing contribution to the community as well as their plans and ability to pass on their new skills on their return home.
The six coaches were chosen from a shortlist of 25 individuals who were selected by the judging panel earlier this month. One in six of the 25 shortlisted coaches were women and, as the programme moves into the final selection phase, Tersia Davids from South Africa becomes the one woman amongst the six finalists to face the public vote.
Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools said:
“Arsenal has the most successful women’s side in England and is actively involved in encouraging greater participation from females in the game regardless of age. We were very impressed by the work that all these coaches were already doing in their community and the work of the women coaches further emphasizes the positive impact that encouraging more women to get involved in coaching can have. We hope that their success will encourage more women to follow their lead.”
Andrew Stewart, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at WorldRemit said:
“Our business is all about helping our customers’ financial support for their community to go further. We hope that by shining a spotlight on the way these coaches are using football to benefit their community, we can help their efforts to go even further still.
“The power of sport to bring communities together and create positive social change was one of the key reasons for entering into a partnership with Arsenal. This programme has highlighted just how powerful sport – and our partnership – can be and the immense potential in this area. This is something we are now looking to build on further.”
The judging panel to determine the six finalists of Future Stars consisted of Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Soccer Schools; Marc Thorogood, Business Manager of Arsenal Soccer Schools; Ismail Ahmed, Founder and CEO of WorldRemit; Catherine Wines, Co-Founder of WorldRemit and Hammad Mian, Head of Customer Insight and Strategy for WorldRemit.
Adegun Shola John from Lagos, Nigeria
Combining his love of football and teaching, Adegun has been a community coach for girls and boys for three years. He is motivated to lead fun training sessions, helping young people unlock their passion for football, avoid social vices and appreciate the value of hard work, friendship and respecting one another.
He would use the opportunity to train with Arsenal coaches to build on his football and coaching skills and enrich the programmes that he leads. He would also share his knowledge with other local coaches to improve the standard of training in the community.
Ahmed Ali, Hargeisa, Somaliland
The civil war meant that Ahmed’s opportunities to play were constrained and like many other kids, he ended up playing football in the streets and unsafe areas of Hargeisa. After moving away to the UK and coaching, he returned home to increase the opportunities for both boys and girls to participate in football through the Somaliland Football Academy. Through the academy he has developed the Somaliland Level 1 coaching course and they have trained over 120 male and females coaches in the past year.
Hamisi Mohamed, from Nairobi, Kenya
Hamisi is a founder of Young Talents Soccer Academy, a mixed academy in Embul Bul, Ngong. Together with his friends, Hamisi started the academy over 10 years ago to bring young members of his community together and help them avoid falling into tribalism, drug abuse and crime. He was involved in the Premier Skills programme, a joint venture between the Premier League and the British Council, which further reinforced his belief that football can make a positive impact on society.
If he were to win a coaching session with Arsenal, he would use the opportunity to benefit his local community. He would share the knowledge he gains with others and use it to enrich coaching programs designed to address societal issues.
Innocents Yeboah-Num, from Abease, Pru West District, Ghana
Innocents founded Madonna Sporting Club in Abease in the Pru West District. Passionate about football, he believes that it has the power to lift people out of poverty and is committed to helping children reach their full potential.
He has been teaching under 12, under 15 and under 17 teams for the last seven years. If he won a coaching session with Arsenal FC, he would organise training programmes to share his experience with other coaches and enhance community football across the country.
Tersia Davids from Cape Town, South Africa
Tersia’s love of football developed during her primary school days. She graduated from university with a degree in Sport Conditioning and Personal Training and now coaches at Islamia College in Lansdowne, Cape Town. Her coaching style reflects her passion for the sport and she enjoys creating a fun environment for the children that she trains.
She continues to compete as a player for Santos Ladies F.C. and would use the opportunity to train with Arsenal to help her to achieve her long-term goal of setting up an academy to teach girls and boys the foundations of football.
Titus Tongesai Sanangurai, Harare, Zimbabwe
Titus began coaching during his years as a player attached to the 1st Division side of DStv Rangers. Having secured his CAF ‘A;’ coaching licence, he joined the Rangers’ coaching staff and his passion for developing young talent led him to coach the DStv Rangers Junior Team. When the team was disbanded he went on to secure support from Old Mutual for grounds and equipment enabling him to set up his own team, Big Stuff Youth Soccer Team. The academy-style team has grown from 6 to 60 players in 2 years.
Having benefited from training from volunteers, Titus says he feels a responsibility to give back. 1 in 4 players at Big Stuff Youth are women and Titus expressed an interest in using the Future Stars experience to highlight the opportunities that exist for female players and to help to create new opportunities for both girls and boys. He believes the experience will help him to open doors to exchange ideas and improve communication at an international level.
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About Arsenal Football Club:
Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com) is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.
The club was founded in 1886 in Woolwich, south London, before moving to Highbury in north London in 1913. We moved to Emirates Stadium in 2006.
Arsenal has an impressive roll of honour: English League Champions 13 times, FA Cup winners a record 13 times, League Cup winners twice and European Cup Winners’ Cup (1994) and European Fairs Cup (1970) winners once. In addition, Arsenal Women are the most successful English club in women’s football. They celebrated their 30th season last year.
The Arsenal Foundation uses the power of football and the Arsenal name to inspire and support young people in north London and across the globe. The Arsenal Foundation raises funds each year and works with a number of key partners including Save The Children, Islington Giving, Willow and the Gunners’ Fund. Locally, Arsenal in the Community has delivered programmes to drive positive social outcomes for more than 30 years.
For further information please visit www.Arsenal.com
About Arsenal Soccer Schools:
Arsenal Soccer Schools encourage children to be active whilst learning to play football; with the emphasis placed on passing, movement, creativity and technical development through teamwork.
S. Sudan President Kiir appoints UN blacklisted Army General as Deputy Defense Minister
September 26, 2018 | 0 Comments
Juba – South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has appointed UN blacklisted SPLA General as new country’s deputy defense minister.
Summit of African education and ICT ministers to be hosted in Kigali this week
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
African Ministers of Education and Information Technology will be in Kigali, Rwanda this week for the annual Ministerial Round Table (MRT) meeting at eLearning Africa, the continent’s largest conference on technology assisted learning and training.
The theme of the MRT will be ‘Towards a Knowledge-based Economy’ and the ministers are expected to discuss the possible effects of a global ‘fourth industrial revolution’ on Africa. With machines increasingly likely to replace human workers in a number of key industries, the implications for African governments, businesses and citizens are
However, a ‘fourth industrial revolution’ may offer African economies an opportunity to ‘leapfrog’ their competitors and the ministers will consider what African Governments and businesses need to do to make the most of a new era of rapid technological change.
Rebecca Stromeyer, the founder and organiser of eLearning Africa said today,
“Many African economies are actually in quite a strong position. Unlike the so-called ‘advanced economies,’ they don’t have to waste huge resources trying to restructure tired, old industries. Many of them can start from scratch and they have a great deal to offer potential investors. They are resource rich and they have the world’s most youthful population, which is bound to attract investors and entrepreneurs.
“The key thing now is to focus on giving young people the modern skills they need and creating a climate which encourages innovation and creativity. If African Governments do that, Africa can lead the world.”
At the eLearning Africa Ministerial Round Table, ministers will focus on discussing practical measures, which can be implemented quickly to give Africans a chance to take advantage of what is likely to be a new era of opportunity.
Ministers, deputy ministers and senior officials from the following countries have confirmed their attendance at the MRT, Angola – Secretary of State for Higher Education and Secretary of State for Professional Technical Education, Benin – Minister of Secondary Education and Professional Technical Education, Congo – Minister of Professional Technical Education and Minister for Higher Education, Djibouti – Minister of National Education and Professional Education, Egypt – Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Equatorial Guinea – Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports and Minister of Transport, Post & Telecommunications, Gambia – Minister for Basic & Secondary Education
and Deputy Permanent Secretary of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, Ghana – Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Lesotho – Minister of Communications, Science and Technology, Liberia – Deputy
Minister for Administration, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mali – Minister of Youth, Senegal – Cabinet Director, Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and Uganda – Minister of ICT.
The Status Quo is Unacceptable: It’s time to normalize the narratives on African Migration, Experts Urge
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
Noting that charity begins at home, the experts called on African leaders to reverse the growing global trend towards “securitization of migration,” by acting on commitments to ease travel restrictions and promote regular migration across the African continent
KIGALI, Rwanda, September 25, 2018/ — Technical experts to the High-Level Panel on Migration in Africa (HLPM) concluded a two-day meeting at the headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, with a strong call for a new narrative on African migration based on the notion that migration is normal and inevitable.
Noting that charity begins at home, the experts called on African leaders to reverse the growing global trend towards “securitization of migration,” by acting on commitments to ease travel restrictions and promote regular migration across the African continent.
“The status quo is unacceptable,” emphasized Sibry Tapsoba, Director of the Transition Support Department at African Development Bank in opening remarks, describing the situation in Côte d’Ivoire where migrants make up around 12% of the population and where large numbers of children and adult migrants, including a number of high-profile residents, have no identity papers. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director of Social Development Policy Division at the Economic Commission for Africa, intimated that “The time is now for us to reflect on where we stand and where we need to go in response to migration challenges on the continent.”
The meeting considered key messages from three specially commissioned reports on migration in Africa that addressed, respectively: costs and benefits of migration; demographics and trends; and the changing landscape of migration governance on the continent and globally. A synthesis of the three reports will feed into the final, policy-oriented, HLPM report due to be finalized at the next meeting of the Panel. The meeting is scheduled to take place from 16-17 October 2018 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The numbers do not lie
Highlighting “myths, perceptions and realities” of African migration, Daniel Makina, University of South Africa, noted that Africa accounts for the lowest share of global migration, while making a significant contribution to the GDP of destination countries. He cited projections that at current rates, intra-African migration alone could propel Africa’s per capita GDP from US$2,0008 in 2016 to US$3,249 by 2030. He noted, however, that to harness the “demographic dividend” of its large youth population, Africa requires to make concerted efforts to sustain economic growth and create jobs.
Describing immigration into Africa as a key blind spot in the current discussions, Linguère Mbaye, AfDB, cited data from UNCTAD’s Economic Development in Africa Report 2018, which estimates that around 22% of international migrants residing in Africa were born on another continent. “This is the other side of the coin, and that would help to deconstruct the existing negative narrative and give a more balanced picture of migration in Africa,” she added.
Hein Haas, Migration Professor at the University of Amsterdam, cautioned that ignoring the “undeniable facts” could lead to both sides of the migration debate locking themselves into entrenched positions. Among these, Haas highlighted that: Africa is “the least migratory region in the world”; the overwhelming majority (9 out of 10) of African migrants enter Europe legally; destination societies, and elite groups in particular, benefit most from migration; and African migrants are generally well educated and are not the “poorest of the poor,” which goes against the conventional wisdom that poverty drives migration. He stressed, however, that African migration is bound to continue to increase as more people will have the “aspirations and capabilities” to move. He concluded that these realities call for a more nuanced interpretation of migration trends in order to develop more realistic responses.
“The real question here is not how to stop migration but how to deal with migration as part of a broader sustainable development agenda,” emphasized Loren Landau, Director of the African Center for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He lamented the continuing characterization of migration as a “problem” noting it leads to policy positions that frame economic development as the “solution” to migration. Stressing that governments have sufficient data on overall migration trends, he called for a focus on data analysis to gain insights on specific social/economic impacts – especially at local level.
Landau described the two competing approaches to migration governance on the continent as “facilitation and securitization,” with the latter increasingly seen in bilateral agreements with Europe. On the way forward, he proposed a multi-pronged strategy to “normalize and incentivize inclusion.” Among features of such an approach, he called for “continental resistance to aid conditionality for containment and securitization,” while promoting “welcoming communities” by providing greater support to local and subregional authorities.
Many participants noted the challenge of getting these messages to the ordinary citizen who has to deal with the impacts of migration on a daily basis. The need to demonstrate that migration can be a win-win solution for all was emphasized, as a way to counter mistrust and rising xenophobia in some countries. However, participants also pointed out that this requires having an honest discussion about what is not working. An example was given of the Ecowas region, which has already adopted provisions to facilitate free travel as well as re- establishment of migrants, but where labour mobility across countries remains a key bottleneck.
We agree on the fundamentals, but how do we push these lofty ideas?” asked HLPM member Danisa Baloyi, as she called for clear guidance to the Panel on the way ahead.
Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director, Social Development Policy Division, ECA, stressed the need for the final HLPM report to include “some hard truths,” including challenges in ongoing bilateral negotiations on returnees between some African countries and the EU that make it difficult for Africa to speak with one voice.
The experts called for the HLPM report to promote a new narrative through balanced messaging and practical recommendations that can help countries shift from the current focus on stopping migration towards frameworks that facilitate net benefits from migration. To inspire other countries, one participant called for the report to celebrate the introduction of visa-free travel by a number of countries, including Benin, Rwanda, Seychelles, Mauritius and Senegal.
On effective use of migration data, participants called for greater emphasis on “social remittances” to balance the current focus on financial remittances. Describing Mauritius as a “very good case study” of the benefits of migration, William Muhwava, ECA, stressed that the long-term benefits of visa free travel far outweigh the loss of visa income in the short-term, which include increased tourism and circulation of goods and services. He added that at the continental level, such benefits could account for as much as US$2 billion of the economy and accrue at all levels – from household to national.
Among specific messages for inclusion in the HLPM report, the discussions called for:
African Development Bank Boosts Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy with close to $2 Million
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
|Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), of which the Government of Japan is a major donor, along with the Austrian Government and the African Development Bank, will contribute $923,570 and $988,202 to finance the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab (eLab) programs|
|ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 25, 2018/ — The African Development Bank’s (www.AfDB.org) Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA) (http://bit.ly/2xAJfTU), has provided funds totaling nearly US $2 million to its Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative.
FAPA, of which the Government of Japan is a major donor, along with the Austrian Government and the African Development Bank, will contribute $923,570 and $988,202 to finance the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab (eLab) programs, respectively. Both programs form key components of the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which invests in high-growth sectors with potential to promote youth and women’s empowerment, as well as create 25 million jobs over the next decade.
“Africa hosts the world’s youngest population, which will double to almost one billion by 2050. The continent needs to create jobs much faster, particularly for women and youth,” said Vanessa Moungar, Director of Women, Gender and Civil Society Department at the Bank.
“FAPA’s generous support will go a long way to accelerating the Jobs for Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab and Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace programs that contribute to meeting these needs,” Moungar further remarked on Thursday, 13 September 2018, during the funding announcement event, which was themed “Entrepreneurs 2.0 – When fashion meets technology”.
Attended by Bank staff, dignitaries, public and private sector stakeholders, the event was also graced by fashion designer PatheO’, known for making the distinctive, colorful shirts worn by the late Nelson Mandela and Salimou Bamba, Managing Director of Abidjan-based SME development firm, AGENCE CI PME.
The Fashionomics Africa Digital Marketplace and Entrepreneurship & Innovation Lab (eLab) programs align with FAPA’s vison to create an investment-friendly climate for micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) on the continent. They will also provide platforms for strengthening and promoting entrepreneurship that target women and youth-led businesses.
Launched in 2015, the Bank’s Fashionomics Africa initiative supports its “High 5” (http://bit.ly/2IeAT8x) priorities, in particular, the Jobs for Youth in Africa (http://bit.ly/2OPs9YV) and Industrialization (http://bit.ly/2DvG0ST) agenda. FAPA’s latest support for this initiative will enable the development of the digital platform and application designed to increase and facilitate access to markets and finance; provide access to relevant information, mentorship and networking opportunities as well as develop the skills, competencies and qualifications of African designers and fashion entrepreneurs.
The eLab program will provide innovative young entrepreneurs with financing, technical assistance and broader ecosystem support. With eLab, “We aim to support the next generation of business owners across the continent,” said Babatunde Olumide Omilola, Manager for Public Health, Security and Nutrition at the Bank. “Target beneficiaries are businesses started by young people and intermediaries that support business development, focusing on the three sectors identified as priorities by the Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy, namely agriculture, Information and Communication Technology and industry.”
Addressing Bank staff and guests, Mr. Takuji Yano, the Bank’s Executive Director for Japan, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Austria and Brazil said: “Both projects focus on promoting entrepreneurship and ICT tools as drivers for development. By leveraging technology, African countries can enhance understanding of markets, expand education and employment, and deliver monetary benefits for the informal sector and government alike. We are happy to see this diverse, innovative and creative portfolio of FAPA’s proposals.”
The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance (FAPA), is a multi-donor trust fund that provides grants for technical assistance activities to public and private sector entities domiciled in Africa. FAPA resources are utilized to promote innovative programs that specifically support the development of small and medium-enterprises in Africa. FAPA is one of the components of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance initiative hosted at the African Development Bank.
The African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund and the Nigeria Trust Fund. On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the African Development Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.
South Sudanese surgeon wins UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
For 20 years, Dr. Atar has been committed to providing medical services to people forced to flee conflict and persecution in Sudan and South Sudan
GENEVA, Switzerland, September 25, 2018/ — UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, would like to inform that South Sudanese surgeon Dr. Evan Atar Adaha, as the organization’s 2018 Nansen Refugee Award winner. This annual award, which honors an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help people forcibly displaced from their homes.
For 20 years, Dr. Atar has been committed to providing medical services to people forced to flee conflict and persecution in Sudan and South Sudan, as well as to the communities that welcome them. Based in Bunj, in north-eastern South Sudan, Dr. Atar runs the only functional hospital, serving more than 200,000 people. These include 144,000 refugees from Sudan’s Blue Nile State and the local Maban County population of about 53,000.
His team at Maban hospital carries out an average of 58 operations per week in difficult conditions with limited bed space, supplies and equipment. The hospital serves as a maternity hospital, as well as treating diseases like HIV and TB, and operates on a 24-hour basis.
For Dr. Atar, running the hospital is more than just a job- it’s a calling. His wife and four children live in neighboring Kenya, and he only sees them a few times per year. But every day he is reminded that the personal sacrifices he makes are small compared to saving the lives of displaced people who have nowhere else to turn.
Lourenço’s First Year: Angola’s Transitional Politics
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
João Lourenço’s first year in office has been marked by notable reforms and the consolidation of power. If ordinary Angolans are to benefit this momentum must continue, along with institutional checks that can curb the excesses of the past.
By Alex Vines*
João Lourenço’s first year as Angola’s head of state has seen quicker change than many expected. The former defense minister, who became Angola’s president in September 2017, had two policy priorities for his first year: to stabilise the economy and to take full control of his party, the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA). He has made progress on both fronts.
The MPLA Congress and Consolidation of Power
Over the course of Lourenço’s first year as president, two poles of power emerged: the presidency of the state, headed by João Lourenço—popularly known in Angola as “JLo”—and the ex-head of state and MPLA president, José Eduardo dos Santos. Angola has not experienced anything like this since 1979, as the separation between party and state has long been blurred. The relationship between both men also deteriorated from late 2017 over JLo’s increasingly assertive reforms that impacted dos Santos, his family, and his allies. For a while, they relied on intermediaries to communicate with each other.
Unsurprisingly, after 38 years of leading Angola, dos Santos was not planning to relinquish all his power rapidly. There was a tug of war over the date for the extraordinary MPLA congress—with dos Santos in March (encouraged by his family and allies) saying that the congress should be in December or April 2019. This initiative failed, and JLo continued to build up his support base—such as appointing a dos Santos “dissident,” General Fernando Garcia Miala, as head of the Serviço de Inteligência e Segurança de Estado (SINSE, the state intelligence and security service). Miala’s appointment locked in intelligence community support and weakened dos Santos further.
JLo was elected president of the MPLA at the party’s sixth extraordinary congress on September 8, 2018, in Luanda. He stood unopposed and secured 98.6 percent of the votes and replaced dos Santos, ending his 39-year tenure as party president. Having secured his grip on the party presidency, JLo immediately overhauled its Bureau Político (BP): close to half its members were replaced by younger people, many of them not linked to dos Santos. Those released from the BP read like a Who’s Who of the dos Santos era, including Francisco Higino Lopes Carneiro, a one-time public works minister; Manuel Vicente, a former chief executive of Sonangol and Angola’s previous vice-president; Juilão Mateus Paulo “Dino Matrosse,” a veteran of the liberation struggle and long-time MPLA secretary-general; and Kundi Paihama, a former defense minister and majority shareholder in Banco Angola de Negócios e Comércio. Some allies of dos Santos were also retained, such as lawyer Carlos Feijó and Rui Luís Falcão Pinto de Andrade, a one-time MPLA spokesman.
In the 12 months since JLo became head of state, several key officials, including family of dos Santos—such as his son José Filomeno (“Zenu”) as head of the sovereign wealth fund, and the head of the state oil company Sonangol, his elder daughter, Isabel—have been charged or investigated in connection with corruption and money-laundering allegations. This played well among Angola’s middle class and weakened resistance to JLo’s tightening grip of the MPLA. A year on, JLo has firmly consolidated his hold on authority and ended the dual centers of power within the party. JLo now controls the party, the executive, and the armed forces and intelligence. He is also responsible for appointing senior members of the judiciary and the leadership of the parastatals. This concentration of power in the presidency could pose a longer-term risk for Angola, particularly if JLo’s reforms fail to deliver. Angola currently lacks credible institutions to place checks and balances on its executive, and the MPLA is more tightly controlled by the President following the party congress.
Looking ahead, a key question is: Will JLo become more equitable in his reform efforts? The last year saw disproportionate action against family and allies of dos Santos. This was unavoidable, as during the final years of the dos Santos administration, allies, confidantes, and the dos Santos family prospered substantially. Any serious reform needed to confront this reality.
Reform should, however, not be just about power consolidation for JLo. Angola is ranked 167th out of 180 countries in the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International and scores poorly in the World Bank’s Doing Business study, ranking 182 out of 190 in 2017. Reform was unavoidable, and Angolan banking needs it as a recent Deloitte assessment concluded.
Some $30 billion of Angolan money is held outside the country, around half in personal accounts.
Legislation approved in May 2018 mandated the return of illicitly exported capital over $100,000. According to the Banco Nacional de Angola (BNA), some $30 billion of Angolan money is held outside the country, around half in personal accounts. Will this be enforced under the law and how much money will be returned? Opposition parties and anti-corruption activists welcomed the initiative but claim people close to JLo have unaccounted-for fortunes too. It is promising that some of these individuals were not reappointed to the MPLA’s BP in September—hopefully signaling that a new phase of reform is starting.
Currently, the economy has fragile growth, high debt, and high inflation. The IMF expects 2.25 percent growth in 2018 (compared with 1 percent in 2017), with the economy experiencing a mild recovery, helped by reforms and a buoyant global debt market. At the same time, inflation is expected to reach 24.75 percent year-on-year for 2018 and formal unemployment is at least 25 percent.
2018 is also a year of debt maturities for Angola. Angola projects its total debt, excluding that of the state oil company Sonangol, to reach $77.3 billion or 71 percent of GDP by end of 2018. The debt service-to-revenue ratio reached 89 percent in 2017. To help, China has opened a new $11 billion credit facility for Angola in 2018 (Angola’s current debt to China is $23 billion, and debt owed to Chinese institutions accounts for 56 percent of Angola’s external debt). In addition to China, Angola has oil-backed loan commitments with Brazil and Israel and currently lacks wiggle room—forcing it to turn to commercial borrowing and reengaging with the IMF.
In May, Angola successfully sold a $1.7 billion, ten-year bond and a 30-year bond worth $1.25 billion. This Eurobond was three times oversubscribed, signaling investor confidence in Angola. Angola’s reengagement with the IMF over a financial service support program (an extended fund facility) has helped investor confidence. The IMF engagement is a positive development, helping Angola’s international reputation and it will encourage a control in expenditures. Long-term debt rescheduling but may also restrict fiscal and monetary policy—and have some social impact in the short term (unemployment and lower purchasing power).
The Angolan currency, the Kwanza, has also fallen over 40 percent since a dollar peg was abandoned in January for a floating foreign exchange regime. This has eased pressure on international reserves, which fell from $28 billion in 2014 to a decade-low $12.8 billion in February 2018. A lack of foreign currency and concerns of corruption had forced foreign companies to pull back operations. This has made nurturing the oil and gas industry a priority until the government can figure out how to sustainably diversify its economy away from over-reliance on hydrocarbons.
Protecting the “Golden Goose”—Oil
JLo has also convinced international oil companies (IOCs) to recommit to Angola and described the oil industry as Angola’s “Golden Goose.” Oil production is set to decline by 36 percent by 2023 according to the Ministry of Finance because Angola’s off-shore oil fields peak quickly and decline sharply. Oil currently represents 95 percent of foreign exchange earnings and more than 40 percent of gross domestic product. In mid-2017, there were only 8 active rigs (compared with 25 in 2014), and seismic activity fell by 80 percent. Over the prior 12 months, crude oil production had declined to an average of 1.632 million barrels per day. The outlook was bleak, and several IOCs were considering an exit.
The JLo administration over the last year has been working with IOCs to avoid this projected steep decline, removing obstacles to the development of new fields, particularly in blocks 14, 15, 16, 17, 31, and 32, and offering new licensing opportunities. The policy ambition is to steady production around 1.7 million barrels per day and attract renewed exploration and greenfield and marginal field development.
In October 2017, soon after taking office, JLo met with senior officials from Chevron, Total, BP, Eni, Exxon, and Statoil (now Equinor) to discuss the industry’s future. An immediate result was the creation by the presidency of a working group, and six weeks later, the firing of Isabel dos Santos as head of Sonangol and most of her board. Reforms have followed, such as drafting legislation for the rights of companies to explore and produce natural gas in Angola and ensuring that the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the accounts of the oil and gas industry. The end of the fuel import monopoly and incentives for investment in marginal oil fields have also been introduced.
In the longer term, by the end of 2020, a new agency—the Agência Nacional de Petróleos e Gás (ANGP)—has been proposed to take over the role of concessionaire from Sonangol. Sonangol will focus just on hydrocarbon exploration, production, refining, and distribution. It will sell off non-core subsidiaries and its equity in several oil blocks. A few key IOCs have recommitted to Angola in response.
The JLo administration has also started mining sector reforms. In September, mining major Anglo American confirmed it was seeking a prospecting license. Angola also plans to privatize around 74 state companies over the next few years, and some key infrastructure projects have been reviewed. A recent Chatham House study of Angola’s non-oil infrastructure showed significant graft and poor oversight in projects up to 2016.
Security Sector Reform
On paper, at up to 100,000 personnel, Angola’s armed forces (the Forças Armadas Angolanas, FAA) are one of the largest in Africa. Since the civil war ended in 2002, the military has played a key role in facilitating post-conflict elite reconciliation and job creation. Maintaining such a large military is unsustainable in the long term, and in the last budget, 21 percent was allocated for defense, 11.3 percent for education, and 7.4 percent for health.
Since the civil war ended in 2002, the military has played a key role in facilitating post-conflict elite reconciliation and job creation.
Reform of the armed forces was long overdue and in April 2018, the FAA chief of staff, General Geraldo Sachipengo Nunda was fired because of corruption allegations against him, along with the external intelligence chief, André de Oliveira Sango, a long-time dos Santos loyalist. Nunda (an ex-UNITA guerrilla fighter) had been a technocratic appointment but did not have the necessary political support to continue. He was replaced by General António Egídio de Sousa Santos “Disciplina” (previously the FAA’s head of education), an appointment that strengthens JLo’s grip of the military in preparation for structural reform.
Since January 2018, JLo made new appointments of 62 generals and admirals to the defense and security services and retired 58 others. An armed forces reform legislation package of three laws was also approved by the National Assembly in July 2018, which paves the way for significant downsizing. The plan is to halve the size of the armed forces and to professionalize and depoliticize many posts.
With a firm grip on the party and a stabilizing economy, JLo’s priority will be to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and improve government delivery. The reforms are all aimed at ensuring continued MPLA domination by rebuilding support for the party in anticipation of Angola’s first ever municipal elections in 2020, where the party fears it could lose control of some parts of the country. It also represents longer-term preparations for an increased MPLA majority (the party secured just over 61 percent of the vote in legislative elections in August 2017) at the next national elections in 2022 and a João Lourenço second term.
A year on from taking over the Angolan presidency, the pressure to demonstrate measurable progress is increasing. Helped by improved oil prices and a firm grip on power, JLo now has a couple of years to prove that he really is a modernizing reformer that can deliver for all Angolans, rather than just a new face protecting MPLA elite interests.
*Source Africa Center.Dr. Alex Vines is Research Director, Area Studies and International Law; Head, Africa Programme, Chatham House
Member States urged to explore non-traditional sources of financing in Central Africa
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
Mr. Pedro argued if all of these resources were to be properly monetized they could be used as financial assets in the pursuit of resource-driven Industrialisation
N’DJAMENA, Chad, September 20, 2018/ — “Financing industrialization is not only about chasing money,” said Antonio Pedro, Director of the ECA Subregional Office for Central Africa.
“We need to look at the soft and hard infrastructure that will then create the necessary enablers for money to flow,” he stated in N’Djamena on 19 September during a roundtable titled ‘Towards Resource-based Industrialization and Economic Diversification in Central Africa.’
Citing the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where the government plans to establish special economic zones to attract investors to promote the fabrication of batteries and electric cars, Mr. Pedro said: “that’s a good example of how we can utilize our natural resources to industrialize.”
DRC produces 60% (increasing) of the world cobalt, giving it unique bargaining power. Other Central African countries are also endowed with numerous natural resources that can be harnessed in the same manner. These include potash in Congo with an in-situ value of almost US$ trillion dollars, according to SNL ( now S&P Global Market Intelligence) as well as Chad with 96 million heads of cattle.
Mr. Pedro argued if all of these resources were to be properly monetized they could be used as financial assets in the pursuit of resource-driven Industrialisation. He noted that given Africa’s own needs for resources to build its infrastructure, feed its growing population as fuel it’s Industrialisation, it was time to promote an inwards-looking resource exploitation model, whose fundamentals the AfCFTA has strengthened.
Many of these economies, including in Central Africa, however, are largely mono economies dependent on the export of one commodity and are currently facing severe macroeconomic instability as a result of the sharp decline in commodity prices, especially oil.
The roundtable was focused, therefore, on how to utilize the sub region’s wealth of natural resources to quicken its pace of industrialization and economic diversification in order to get on a sure pathway to sustainable development.
Maria Laura Barreto, a specialist in Mining and Sustainable Development Strategies stressed that an integrated and collaborative approach to mining was necessary for the subregion.
“We must strive to connect our mineral policy to our industrial policy frameworks. We need regional collaboration to overcome the problems that we face in terms of linkages.”
Ms. Barreto said there’s need for a thorough study that will give countries a clear sense of what minerals to focus on, given the rate or returns and also given each country’s peculiarity. “That way we are actually adding value.”
Chad’s Director General for mining, industrial development, and trade – Djedoubou Emmanuel Ambroise – concurred that natural resource-based industrialization is a sustainable path for Central Africa, given the plethora or resources it harbors.
He also noted that an in-depth mineral inventory is needed to know the mineral potential of each country “because without reliable geological information you are not able to define on which basis to pursue a natural resource-based industrialization.”
Mr. Djedoubou stated that Chad has made significant strides by creating a national oil refinery, aligning its mineral policy to the Africa Mining Vision, putting in place mechanisms to curb illegal export of cattle and ensure that home production and consumption are not undermined.
Mr. Pedro deplored the fact that Africa harbors about 30% of the natural resources in the world but only attracts14% of global expenditure on mineral exploration.
He emphasized that improving the policy environment is key to attracting more money to Africa’s extractive sector, stating, “Many African countries have good visions and policies but implementation remains the key to translating these visions and policies into transformational change on the ground.”
The roundtable was a feature at the 34th Meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts of Central Africa taking place in from 18 to 21 September 2018.
Roadmap for Angola: 2019 and Beyond
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
The government revised the growth forecast to 2.2% in August, compared to 4.9% in the previous forecast, and the IMF forecast 2.3% of economic growth
ARNHEM, Netherlands, September 24, 2018/ — Angola can in the short term anticipate strong economic headwinds. This week. Fitch Solutions forecasted Angola’s GDP real growth at 1.5% down from 2.8%. Fitch anticipates a growth of 2.3% for 2019 and 2.6% in 2020 (Up from an anticipated 2.2%).
According to Lusa Portuguese news agency economic recovery will be weaker than previously anticipated due to the declining trend in oil production. The government revised the growth forecast to 2.2% in August, compared to 4.9% in the previous forecast, and the IMF forecast 2.3% of economic growth.
What can we anticipate in Angola for 2019 and beyond? While optimism is in the air there is also a high degree of impatience. The strategy for determining the direction of Angola’s oil and gas industry—which is the piggy bank for economic diversification be that for basic education, housing, drink water and santitation, and stimulating the agricultural sector—must still be taken and implemented.
Oil and Gas Authority
The newly minted Oil and Gas Authority, now responsible for determining the strategic direction of the sector, is now busy determining the scenarios to follow…this concessionaire role previously the sole monopoly of Sonangol. There is immense pressure for the Oil and Gas Authority to move ahead quickly and with a sharp sense of pragmatism ensuring and sending the message that Angola is open for business.
The New Authority can be expected to be transparent and follow best practices of other like-minded oil theatres, i.e. Offshore Morocco and Senegal, to ensure that they continue to attract the investment monies of the majors, and possibly new companies. The opportunities are many:
Offshore in Blocks 15 and 17 mature projects have been started but innovation is needed to ensure that the life cycle of these projects can be extended. The majors involved here—BP, Chevron, Eni, ExxonMobil, Statoil and Total are interested in further developing their businesses and open to innovative ideas and business propositions. Varying from enhanced oil recovery to natural gas production. All options are on the table. The message is with higher oil prices and a new oil and gas regime in place…we must make hay while the sun shines!
New Exploration Offshore
While exploration has been done in the pre-salt basins …to date the results have been left wanting…yet there is optimism that with additional geological modeling and exploration hydrocarbons can be found…look to the example of Brazil, which shares the same geological structure…it took a number of years before the huge presalt fields were discovered…and in hind-sight it is the pre-salt that is now the backbone of the Brazalian oil and gas industry. Up to 2010 average Petrobras production was approx.. 40 000 bpd ; as of 2016 because of the pre-salt this has increased 24-fold to 1 million mbpd. There is no guarantee that the results will be the same, but the downside is that: nothing ventured nothing gained!
Imagine that hydrocarbons are found…certainly a new horizon could be the start of a gas industry which could help become the fuel of choice for future industrialization. Also for the hydro-power sector and industrial and residential sectors.
National Gas Company
A key question is : would it be necessary to set up a separate national Gas Company? Such a National Gas Company could be instrumental in setting up a national gas strategy. Parallel to such a company it is necessary to have a regulatory regime in place. Ensuring that the National Gas Authority will be even busier!
The notion that Angola can have a budding gas industry is not far-fetched…Given the new gas legislation that is now in place, allowing the industry to monetize the natural gas it now finds. Previously natural gas remained the property of the state (Sonangol) and there was no incentive to prospect for natural gas.
The black sheep in Angola’s oil and sector has been the petro-chemical sector. Deadlines to expand or build additional refining capacity have in the past come and gone. There are now plans to expand the Luanda refinery which meets 20% of domestic demand. The Lobito Refinery has a long history of planned deadlines…and a new date(2022) has been set when it will be up and running.
It is of utmost importance that the National Oil and Gas Authority prioritize the establishment of the petro-chemical and refining sector,thereby reducing the huge import costs of shipping hydrocarbon products from abroad.
Expanded and new projects for Blocks 15 and 17;
Establishment of a National Gas Company to implement a national gas strategy;
Expanded projects on existing fields and exploration on new fields will guarantee Angolan production to rise to at least 1.5 mbpd by 2020.
The strategy to further develop Angola’s oil and gas industry is also the key to economic diversification: oil and gas are literally the black gold of how the country can move ahead and at the same time diversify the economy allowing Angola’s to find it’s place in the sun.