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Cameron Bar Association :Tchakounte elected Bar council President, Morfaw Bar GA President
November 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono (Buea-Cameroon)

L-R, Barrister Tchakounte Charles, New Bar President and Barrister Morfaw Evaristus, New Bar GA President

L-R, Barrister Tchakounte Charles, New Bar President and Barrister Morfaw Evaristus, New Bar GA President

Barrister Tchakounte Charles has been elected president of the Cameroon Bar Association. He was appointed this Sunday November 25 by his peers after a stormy general meeting that saw the withdrawal of his predecessor Jackson Ngnie Kamga.

Originally from Nde, Western Region, he was appointed at the end of the Elective General Assembly of the Cameroon Bar Association that took place in the nation’s economic capital Douala.

During the election, Jackson Ngnie Kamga finished tenth with a total of 758 votes far behind Tchakounte Charles who had 1158 votes.

His victory has raised aspirations as many watch to see his reign especially with the huddles lawyers faced in the past two years in connection to the Cameroon Anglophone crisis.

Days to elections, a lawyer had confided in The Sun Newspaper why they saw him as the best choice. “Barrister Tchakounte should be voted as Batonnier because he is level headed and understands the stakes of the profession taking into consideration that he is a blend of both the Common Law and the Civil Law.

He takes over from Ngnie Kamga-the latter who has been in power for some three years. Barrister Tchakounte who ran with the motto “The protection of the Lawyer and the Balance of Cultures” will serve as president for a period of two years.

General Assembly President Elected

Before the election of the president of the Cameroon Bar Association of Sunday, election to the post of president of the General Assembly took place Saturday November 24. Barrister Evaristus Morfaw was then appointed as president replacing Barrister Nico Halle, who had respected his words by stepping aside after serving just one mandate.

Barrister Morfaw is a lawyer with the Cameroon Bar Association with over 17 years standing. As an expert in human rights and humanitarian actions, Barrister Morfaw enjoys doing cases that touch on human rights violations.

Barrister Morfaw was part of the defense counsel for the case against Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor Balla, Fontem Neba and others who were arrested at the height of the Anglophone crisis. They latter (Fontem and Balla) spent some seven months in Kondengui until they were released thanks to a presidential pardon.

The new Bar General Assembly Vice president is Barrister Kless Yves Patrice Kouanou. The duos are all Yaounde-based lawyers.

Some 15 members were elected to the Bar council. They include: Tchakoute Charles, Memong Olivier, Atangana Bikouna, Ngo Daniel, Fojou Piere, Mbah Eric Mbah, Mbuyah Fri, Mohamadou Souleymanou, Ebah Ntoko Justice, Soup Sylvain, Nzoh Divine, Batey Suzanne, Akum Michael, Deugoue Raphael and Enow Agbor Benjamin.

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Nigeria loses $6bn from ‘corrupt’ oil deal linked to fraud
November 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Russell Padmore*

A court in Milan is considering charges of corruption against Eni and Shell in a controversial oil deal that led to Nigeria losing an estimated $6bn.

The campaign group Global Witness has calculated the OPL 245 deal in 2011 deprived Nigeria of double its annual education and healthcare budget.

Eni and Shell are accused of knowing the money they paid to Nigeria would be used for bribes.

The Italian and Anglo-Dutch energy giants deny any wrongdoing.

This unfolding scandal, which is being played out in an Italian court, has involved former MI6 officers, the FBI, a former President of Nigeria, as well as current and former senior executives at the two oil companies.

The former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, was found guilty by a court in France of money laundering and it emerged he used illicit funds to buy a speed boat and a chateau. It is also claimed he had so much cash in $100 bills that it weighed five tonnes.

Global Witness has spent years investigating the deal which gave Shell and Eni the rights to explore OPL 245, an offshore oil field in the Niger Delta.

It has commissioned new analysis of the way the contract was altered in favour of the energy companies and concluded Nigeria’s losses over the lifetime of the project would amount to $5.86bn, compared to terms in place before 2011.

The analysis was carried out by Resources for Development Consulting on behalf of Global Witness, as well as the NGOs HEDA, RE:Common and The Corner. The estimated losses were calculated using an oil price of $70 a barrel as a basis.

Eni has criticised the way it was calculated because it ignores the possibility that Nigeria had the right to revise the deal to claim a 50% share of the production revenues.

Shell is one of the oil firms facing corruption charges

Shell is one of the oil firms facing corruption charges

Deal or no deal

Campaigners say the deal should be cancelled.

“We discovered that Shell had constructed a deal that cut Nigeria out of their share of profit oil from the block,” Ava Lee, a campaigner at Global Witness told the BBC’s World Business Report.

“This amount of money would be enough to educate six million teachers in Nigeria. It really can’t be underestimated just how big a deal this could be for a country that right now has the highest rates of extreme poverty in the world.”

Nigeria is the richest economy in Africa, but despite having large resources of oil and gas millions of people are poor.

Lucrative OPL 245

It is understandable why Eni and Shell wanted to acquire the rights to develop OPL 245, because it is estimated to contain nine billion barrels of oil.

But the process of how they secured the contract is dogged by claims of corruption.

The court in Milan is weighing evidence of how a former Nigerian oil minister, Dan Etete, awarded ownership of OPL 245 to Malabu, a company he secretly controlled.

He is accused of paying bribes to others in the government, such as former President Goodluck Jonathan, to ensure that process went smoothly.

Shell and Eni are accused of knowing the $1.1bn they paid to Nigeria would be used for bribes, claims based on the content of emails which have since emerged.

“Looking at the emails it seems that Shell knew that the deal they were constructing was misleading but they went ahead with it anyway even though a number of Nigerian officials raised concerns about this scandalous, scandalous deal,” says Ava Lee from Global Witness.

Eni HQImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEni’s headquarters in San Donato Milanese, near Milan

No wrongdoing

The Anglo-Dutch and Italian energy giants insist they have done nothing wrong, because they paid the money to secure the exploration rights directly to the Nigerian government.

Shell issued a statement to BBC World Business Report saying: “Since this matter is before the Tribunal of Milan it would not be appropriate for us to comment in detail. Issues that are under consideration as part of a trial process should be adjudicated in court and we do not wish to interfere with this process.

“We maintain that the settlement was a fully legal transaction and we believe the trial judges in Italy will conclude that there is no case against Shell or its former employees.”

Eni has also denied any wrongdoing and told the BBC that it questions the competence of the experts commissioned by Global Witness and its “partners”, as well as raising the possibility that the report by the campaign group is defamatory.

The Italian oil and gas company said “as this matter is currently before the Tribunal of Milan, we are unable to comment in detail”.

In a statement it noted: “Global Witness together with its partners Corner House, HEDA Resource Centre and Re: Common had requested twice to be admitted as aggrieved parties in the Milan proceedings. On both occasions, the request was firmly denied by the Tribunal of Milan.”

Eni also said it “continues to reject any allegation of impropriety or irregularity in connection with this transaction”.

Campaigners say the deal deprived Nigeria of double its annual education and healthcare budget

Campaigners say the deal deprived Nigeria of double its annual education and healthcare budget

Biggest ever corruption case

Campaigners believe this is a landmark case and the outcome of the trial in Milan will cause an earthquake to reverberate through the oil and gas industry.

Nick Hildyard of the Corner House wonders if investors are comfortable. “Fund managers should be alarmed at this brazen dishonesty,” he said.

Nigeria’s leader is being encouraged to intervene by Olanrewaju Suraju, from HEDA. “President Buhari should reject any deal,” he said.

The contrast between the way Italy deals with migrants and the actions of one of the nation’s biggest companies has been raised by Antonio Tricarico of Re;Common.

“The Italian government is discouraging Nigerian migrants trying to reach Italy by claiming that it will help them at home, but Italy’s biggest multi-national, part owned by the state, is accused of scamming billions from the Nigerian people.”

The outcome of the unprecedented court case in Milan could force the oil industry to change how it conducts its business, especially in countries where corruption is rife, because more transparency about contracts and payments made would discourage fraud.

*BBC

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South Africa to Invest $1B in South Sudan Oil Sector
November 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

South Sudan's petroleum minister Ezekiel Gatkuoth welcomes potential investors during the second Africa Oil and Power conference in Juba. AP

South Sudan’s petroleum minister Ezekiel Gatkuoth welcomes potential investors during the second Africa Oil and Power conference in Juba. AP

Juba – South Sudan says South Africa will invest $1 billion in the world youngest  country’s oil sector in what would be the largest investment in the East African country’s history.

Petroleum Minister Ezekiel Lul confirmed Friday’s signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with South Africa’s energy minister, Jeff Radebe.

However, Radebe told state broadcaster SABC that both countries would benefit from the MOU.

South Sudan has Africa’s third-largest oil reserves, at 3.5 billion barrels, and it hopes increasing production will help the country recover in the wake of the signing of a peace deal two months ago, between President Kiir and rebel leader Machar.

One analyst warned that despite the signing, there was no guarantee the South African money would come through, though it would be “incredible” if it did.

Now, South Africa would join Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and other oil and gas investors’ interests in South Sudan’s oil sector.

Juba government said the South African money would be used for the refining and processing of oil and gas, research and development, and the transfer of technology.

Radebe further said South Sudan had plans to build a refinery with “a capacity of 60,000 barrels of oil per day.”

South Africa, South Sudan’s new deal came shortly after South Sudan’s second Africa Oil & Power Conference, the country’s first major attempt to attract investors since the government and armed opposition signed the fragile peace deal in September. The previous agreements have ended in fresh gunfire.

“This is an enormous show of confidence in South Sudan’s potential,” said Guillaume Doane, CEO of Africa Oil & Power, which organized the conference. “South Sudan needs investment capital and infrastructure. Working with South Africa on this level will give it both,” he added.

On paper the deal looks implausible, according to the country observers and analysts, it’s just an MOU, and agreements like this, the implementation will be very long.

More so, South Sudan’s economy is one of the global’s most dependent on oil revenues. Its oil sector has faced inspection for allegedly using the oil cash to fuel the five-year civil war, but with the Khartoum and Kampala backing peace deal, the country is moving to revive its oil revenues to strength a country’s economy and infrastructure development.

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Rambo’ CAR militia leader charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Rob Picheta

Yekatom (center) is arrested by members of the armed forces on October 29, before being handed over to the International Criminal Court.

Yekatom (center) is arrested by members of the armed forces on October 29, before being handed over to the International Criminal Court.

(CNN)A Central African Republic (CAR) militia leader widely known as “Rambo” has been charged with a number of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and the use of child soldiers, at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Alfred Yekatom is the former commander of a group of 3,000 members of the anti-balaka movement, a group consisting mainly of Christians that opposed a largely Muslim rebel alliance known as Seleka, the ICC said.
His crimes allegedly took place “in various locations within the Central African Republic, including the capital Bangui and Lobaye prefecture,” the court said.
The anti-balaka coalition, which translates to “anti-machete,” was formed after Seleka ousted President François Bozizé and replaced him with the country’s first Muslim President.
The coalition has repeatedly clashed with Seleka groups and led frequent massacres against Muslim populations in the country over the course of its ruinous civil war, according to Amnesty International.
Appearing in court to be informed of the charges leveled against him, Yekatom — who is also a member of Parliament — claimed that upon his arrest he was held in presidential detention for a month and was tortured and beaten with the butts of Kalashnikov rifles.
He was originally arrested by local authorities in late October, and was handed over to a tribunal in The Hague on November 17.
Yekatom appears before the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday.

Yekatom appears before the ICC in The Hague, Netherlands, on Friday.

The court accused Yekatom of crimes against humanity, including murder, imprisonment, torture and enforced disappearance.

Mutilation, intentional attacks against the civilian population and the use of soldiers under the age of 15 are among the war crimes of which he is accused.
A Human Rights Watch report last year said that armed anti-balaka groups in the CAR “have used rape and sexual slavery as a tactic of war across the country during nearly five years of conflict.”
Yekatom will next appear in court in April, when evidence will be examined and discussed.
*Source CNN
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Gyan unhappy with ‘unconstructive criticisms’ from Ghanaians
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Black Stars skipper claims he is being wrongly chastised by Ghanaians despite his sacrifices

The Black Stars skipper claims he is being wrongly chastised by Ghanaians despite his sacrifices

Asamoah Gyan has called on Ghanaians to stop fabricating stories about his career and private life meant to tarnish his image.

The 33-year-old has not played with the Black Stars since September 2017 due to injury concerns and thus has been absent from the team’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign so far.

His recent off-field incidents sparked an angry backlash from a section of Ghanaians who believe time is due for him to leave the team.

“Ghanaians can criticise me but it should be constructive,” Gyan told Adom TV.

“I’m not happy because about 99 per cent of the stories, rumours and other things about me are false and it is unfortunate. People just create their own stories either to promote their media or run me down which is very worrisome. I believe such things must end,” he added.

Gyan is yet to overcome his infamous penalty miss against Uruguay, which could’ve seen Ghana in the semi-finals of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.

“I wish that day could come again for me to retake the penalty differently,” the former Sunderland striker said.

“I am still haunted by that penalty miss but I have to move on and hope to help the country win the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations title to repair the damage. Ghanaians should pray for us,” he added.

Gyan has scored 51 goals for Ghana in 106 appearances since 2003.

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Insurgency; Commercial venture for Nigerian political elites – Dr. Kriz David Presidential Candidate
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Olayinka Ajayi

Following the gruesome killings of Nigerian soldiers by suspected insurgent group in Itele North-eastern Nigeria recently,  the Presidential candidate of Liberation Movement (LM) Dr. Kriz David has described the fight against insurgency in Nigeria as a big commercial venture among the nation’s political elite.

In a statement, Dr. David said: “Insecurity in Nigeria is a conspiracy of the political elite and the commercial gains being made by politicians and their cohort in the security institutions. There are verifiable proofs to validate these assertions. It is now very clear to everyone that we have been fed with lies and still been fed with lies. If the account of one of the soldiers to go by, you know that the fight against Boko Haram has been a big commercial venture for these vocational politicians. Despite the several billions of naira that was voted for the purchase of “intelligence and equipment” as they claimed, our military are ill equipped”

If in 2018, Boko Haram can sack a military base, kill a battalion, what then is the fate of civilians? Life has become endangered in Nigeria. As president of Nigeria, I will solve the insecurity challenge within 60 days of assuming office.”

The Liberation Movement presidential candidate further reiterated that the essence of government is the sustenance and enhancement of the quality of lives of citizens. “I have a well proven strategy and model which I will use to achieve this. These vocational politicians created Boko Haram, therefore they can’t solve the problem they created”

While the situation we find ourselves in is a sad one, Nigerians shouldn’t shift focus from the upcoming elections. It is time we stop electing leaders based on political, tribal and religious sentiments but elect leaders on the bases of meritocracy.” Dr. David said.

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Sierra Leone: Report sexual harassment, ACC boss urges women
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala speaking during MIWGEM symposium at Cabenda Hotel

ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala speaking during MIWGEM symposium at Cabenda Hotel

The Anti –Corruption Commission (ACC) Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala, has encouraged women to come forward to report on sexual harassment to the commission.

Francis Ben Kaifala made the above statement yesterday during the Media Initiative for Women and Girls Empowerment (MIWGEM) symposium on the theme ‘’ Amplifying Voices through Media to End Violence Against women & Girls in the Society’’ at Cabenda, Signal Hill in Freetown.

He said that as a commissioner of the ACC, he was aware of how long women in the university have had trouble with professors taking advantage, with public officers also taking advantage of girls by using their office.

‘’I’m ready to push the boundaries of interpretations in the Anti-corruption Act. I need you to help me, by been willing to come forward, by been willing to spread the message , by been willing to convince other people who are your friend to come forward,’’ he said.

The ACC boss further said that the society should make consciously affirmative actions to protect women and girls adding that this where the media is very strategic as it is a powerful tool of advocate of education as it reach is wide.

‘’As you know institutions like the one I led is an evidence base. We cannot afford to miss it. I want you to understand this, that’s why I want you to come forward and when you’re coming forward come with enough evidences to help me ,help the commission ,help you ‘’,Kaifala Said .

Commissioner Kaifala further said even though society is resisting, in seeing women as equal partner, there is need to double the efforts together to make sure that this message goes across and in doing so, he proffered for both the use of the stick and carrot approach.

He however said the commission was willing to work with all partners in championing women’s issues in the country.

Founder of MIWGEM, Adama Sillah, in her statement said, the Media Initiative for Women and Girls Empowerment was established in 2017 working to provide leadership and empowerment for women and girls through media literacy and advocacy.

‘’It was established in 2017 ,to leverage two important factors that , if well used, could significantly change the narrative for the feminine gender and for the country ,unlocking the untapped power of women and girls through the media,’’ she said .

She said MIWGEM works with young women and girls adding that as a media organization they were very passionate about what must be the media’s role in ending gender and sexual base violence against our women and girls in Sierra Leone.

‘’Today I want us all to take action and make our commitment on what we are all going to do together to help change the narratives to raising our voices through media to ending violence against women and girls in Sierra Leone ,’’Miss Sillah added.

She thanked United Bank for Africa (UBA SL) for supporting there venture through their Each One Reach One Campaign that supports organizations to go into communities and work with children helping them gain the necessary skills to enable them gain the necessary skills such as make up artistry ,graphic designs among others.

Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Solomon Jamiru Esq on his part praised the initiative stating that the initiative is an emerging cross cutting tool that will change the stories of women in the country.

He said MIWGEM is more than a social construct as it is a drive for human dignity adding that he stands in solidarity with them.

The Deputy information Minister said the media and civil society constitute the bedrock of the society highlighting that President Julius Maada Bio values women.

Lawyer Jamiru said the president was concerned about the issue of women adding that the president recently proclaimed that his government will be taking stringent actions on men who perpetrating violence against women and girls in the country .

The symposium drew media and civil society groups with speakers drawn from Cameroon, Ghana and Sierra Leone’s Gender Adviser making commitment to using media to end SGBV’s in the country.

The MIWGEM symposium was sponsored by UBA SL and Africell Mobile Company in Sierra Leone .

 

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African Union hit by sexual harassment claims
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
The AUC chairperson formed a special team to investigate sexual harassment claims after he received an anonymous letter alerting him of the abuse

The AUC chairperson formed a special team to investigate sexual harassment claims after he received an anonymous letter alerting him of the abuse

Sexual harassment is a major problem for women who work at the African Union Commission (AUC), an internal investigation has found.

Most of the victims are short-term staff, youth volunteers and interns looking for jobs, the report said.

Those responsible “position themselves as ‘gate-keepers’ and ‘king-makers'”, it added.

The inquiry was launched in May and all staff members who had a complaint were invited for a confidential interview.

The special committee was formed by the AUC Chairperson, Moussa Faki, after an anonymous letter alerted him to the abuse.

The team found 44 cases of alleged sexual harassment and that young women were being “exploited for sex in exchange for jobs”.

The report did not name any of the alleged perpetrators.

Staff behind the harassment made “believable promises to young women that they will be offered contracts,” the report said.

Mr Faki says a policy on sexual harassment at work will be set up

Mr Faki says a policy on sexual harassment at work will be set up

Interviewees said reporting incidents of sexual harassment was often counterproductive as there was no process internally to do so because the AUC does not have a sexual harassment policy.

The team also found incidents of bribery, corruption, bullying, discrimination and intimidation.

South Africa’s Mail & Guardian paper says the inquiry was established after it reported on a petition signed by 37 female members of AU staff complaining about sexual harassment at the commission.

The AU Commission, which has its headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, said that given the findings and serious allegations, it would establish “a comprehensive sexual harassment policy that protects the victims and takes the strongest punitive measures against any perpetrator”.

Mr Faki would also form an internal committee to look into all the reported cases and make recommendations, a statement said.

*BBC

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Ethiopian Airlines Steps up Hunt for African Connections
November 25, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY OMAR MOHAMMED AND Maggie Fick*

Yamlaksira Getachew, a management professor at Loyola Marymount University, warned Zambia's relaunched flag carrier could steal traffic from Ethiopian's existing southern African hub in neighboring Malawi.  Ethiopian has been forced to adopt the piecemeal approach to expansion because full air transport liberalization has failed to materialize, despite several attempts.  In 1999, 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision in Ivory Coast's capital giving airlines freedom to ferry passengers between two foreign countries.  But the agreement was barely implemented as governments moved to protect domestic carriers.  To try to revive the stalled process, 23 African governments signed another deal this year to forge a single aviation market.  So far, Ethiopian's plan appears to be working. It says it has clocked average growth of 25 percent a year since 2010 and expects to carry nearly 10.6 million passengers this year, up from 3.7 million eight years ago.  Unlike many African rivals, it is also making money. Net profit rose 2 percent to $233 million in its 2017-18 fiscal year.  It says Western banks are helping to fund plans to boost its fleet of 108 planes, with 66 more on order.  Highlighting the potential riches at stake, Chinese banks are involved too, partly reflecting Beijing's drive to build a new trade corridor to the Middle East and Africa, bankers said.  (Reporting by Omar Mohammed in Nairobi and Maggie Fick in Addis Ababa; additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Hong Kong; editing by David Clarke)

Yamlaksira Getachew, a management professor at Loyola Marymount University, warned Zambia’s relaunched flag carrier could steal traffic from Ethiopian’s existing southern African hub in neighboring Malawi.
Ethiopian has been forced to adopt the piecemeal approach to expansion because full air transport liberalization has failed to materialize, despite several attempts.
In 1999, 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision in Ivory Coast’s capital giving airlines freedom to ferry passengers between two foreign countries.
But the agreement was barely implemented as governments moved to protect domestic carriers.
To try to revive the stalled process, 23 African governments signed another deal this year to forge a single aviation market.
So far, Ethiopian’s plan appears to be working. It says it has clocked average growth of 25 percent a year since 2010 and expects to carry nearly 10.6 million passengers this year, up from 3.7 million eight years ago.
Unlike many African rivals, it is also making money. Net profit rose 2 percent to $233 million in its 2017-18 fiscal year.
It says Western banks are helping to fund plans to boost its fleet of 108 planes, with 66 more on order.
Highlighting the potential riches at stake, Chinese banks are involved too, partly reflecting Beijing’s drive to build a new trade corridor to the Middle East and Africa, bankers said.
(Reporting by Omar Mohammed in Nairobi and Maggie Fick in Addis Ababa; additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Hong Kong; editing by David Clarke)

NAIROBI/ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopian Airlines is accelerating its strategy of weaving a patchwork of new African routes to soak up traffic on the continent and fly customers towards its more lucrative flights to rapidly expanding Asian markets.

With a long-delayed African “open skies” revolution still mired in red tape, Ethiopian has been snapping up stakes in small carriers around the continent to pre-empt potential rivals and become the dominant pan-African airline.

The carrier is in talks with Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo Republic and Djibouti about either launching airlines or securing landing spots, CEO Tewolde GebreMariam told Reuters.

He also said in May the airline was looking to set up carriers in Equatorial Guinea and Guinea through joint ventures.

“The task of African integrati on is not easy,” Tewolde said in an interview. “The context is the need for air transport. There is huge demand. We are responding to it.”

Ethiopian’s push comes as Middle Eastern rivals who expanded heavily in Africa are feeling some pain from overcapacity, while African carriers such as South African Airways and Kenya Airways are on the back foot after losing money for years.

The success or failure of Ethiopian’s plan is being watched by long-haul competitors such as Turkish Airlines and suppliers led by Boeing and, more recently, Airbus.

Ethiopian’s fortunes are also important for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government, which has said it plans to sell a minority stake in the airline to domestic and foreign investors as part of broad economic reform pledges.

Ethiopian unveiled its 15-year expansion strategy in 2010, and started small. First it helped launch ASKY Airlines in the West African country of Togo and then acquired a 49 percent stake in Malawi’s flag carrier in southern Africa in 2013.

Since May, Ethiopian has announced plans to launch an airline in Mozambique, relaunched Zambia’s flag carrier, established a new airline in Chad to cover West and Central Africa and resumed flights to Somalia after a 41-year hiatus.

REGIONAL HUBS

The prize is growing fast. Air traffic in Africa is forecast to grow 6 percent a year, twice as quickly as mature markets and faster than any other region over the next two decades.

Ethiopian is hoping to snare a greater share of capacity on flights between cities in Africa, which are already 90-percent controlled by African carriers, according to data firm OAG.

In most cases so far, Ethiopian has taken minority stakes in “start-up” airlines and tried to implant its management culture, often in nations haunted by costly failures of state carriers.

Tewolde also wants to claw back market share on routes to and from the continent, dominated by Turkish and Gulf carrier Emirates. This year, 61 percent of capacity to or from Africa has been controlled by non-African carriers, says OAG.

There are big risks.

Ethiopian is spending tens of millions of dollars in some of Africa’s toughest markets and the strategy of buying minority stakes to get a foothold abroad has failed spectacularly for some, such as Abu Dhabi’s Etihad.

Analysts worry accelerated expansion may spread Ethiopian too thinly if traffic doesn’t pick up fast enough at its new hubs in Togo, Malawi and Chad.

The regional hubs are designed partly to channel customers to Ethiopian’s main hub in Addis Ababa and so fill its direct flights to the Middle East and Asia.

OPEN SKIES?

There are also concerns that none is in a major African city. Lome is far smaller than west African cities such as Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos, or Abidjan in Ivory Coast, while Chad’s dusty desert capital is even smaller.

“You want to build (a hub) in a place where you are going to get local traffic and connecting traffic,” said Craig Jenks, president of consultancy Airline/Aircraft Projects Inc http://aap.aero/index.html.

Tewolde said the new airline in Chad would draw in passengers from Cameroon, Central African Republic, Niger, northern Nigeria and Sudan.

Yamlaksira Getachew, a management professor at Loyola Marymount University, warned Zambia’s relaunched flag carrier could steal traffic from Ethiopian’s existing southern African hub in neighboring Malawi.

Ethiopian has been forced to adopt the piecemeal approach to expansion because full air transport liberalization has failed to materialize, despite several attempts.

In 1999, 44 African countries signed the Yamoussoukro Decision in Ivory Coast’s capital giving airlines freedom to ferry passengers between two foreign countries.

But the agreement was barely implemented as governments moved to protect domestic carriers.

To try to revive the stalled process, 23 African governments signed another deal this year to forge a single aviation market.

So far, Ethiopian’s plan appears to be working. It says it has clocked average growth of 25 percent a year since 2010 and expects to carry nearly 10.6 million passengers this year, up from 3.7 million eight years ago.

Unlike many African rivals, it is also making money. Net profit rose 2 percent to $233 million in its 2017-18 fiscal year.

It says Western banks are helping to fund plans to boost its fleet of 108 planes, with 66 more on order.

Highlighting the potential riches at stake, Chinese banks are involved too, partly reflecting Beijing’s drive to build a new trade corridor to the Middle East and Africa, bankers said.

(Reporting by Omar Mohammed in Nairobi and Maggie Fick in Addis Ababa; additional reporting by Tim Hepher in Hong Kong; editing by David Clarke)

*Culled from Reuters

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Abdulsalami Charges Nigerians to Vote Out Incompetent Governments
November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.)

former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.)

A former Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar has urged Nigerians to stop criticising failures of government and misrule of bad leaders but should rise up and vote out incompetent government in the fast approaching 2019 general election.

General Abubakar while speaking at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) in Kuru, where he delivered a Distinguished Annual Lecture on ‘Election and Security in Nigeria: Policy Options and Strategies’ to mark the Graduation Ceremony of the Senior Executive Course (SEC) 40 said, “Let me try to conclude by saying that every citizen must do their duty; you must not sell your vote, you must register to vote, and stop criticising the failures of government if you will not go and vote them out if they are not doing their job. You should not allow your children to be used for violence.”

The General identified some of the causes of political violence in Nigeria since independence to include incredible election umpires, militarization of elections by security agents, crowded political parties, poor electoral laws, and delay in judicial system.

He said that the responsibility of security agencies must be defined as their roles were very critical to the success or failure of any election as “Heavy policing and militarization of election as observed in Ekiti was enough to scare voters from coming out to exercise their franchise.”

The General also decried vote-buying, describing it as an ill act that must be urgently addressed before the 2019 elections. He said Boko Haram was certainly a threat to the 2019 elections in the North-east, adding that IPOB, the MEND and others were also a threat.

Abubakar also criticized too many registered political parties for the elections, describing it as an undesirable crowd, especially that “many of the so-called political parties do not have ideological orientation”.

He feared that if quick actions were not taken, political hooliganism was gradually taking over the system, while anarchy steered Nigerians in the face, adding that all these were even complicated by the current abuse of the social media which must be put to stop by all means.

He also blamed Nigeria’s ordeal on colonial historical baggage, noting that “Nigeria’s amalgamation was not scripted to benefit the nation, coupled with the divide and rule practice by the British in Nigeria, and the inordinate greed and ambition of our political elites.

“Absence of check and balances and culture of winner takes it all in Nigeria have made politicians to become desperate to get it by hook-or-crook.”

While appealing to Nigerians to give peace a chance, he said “without peace there will be no Nigeria.”

 

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Most Popular Forms of Online Gambling In Africa
November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

Most countries on the African continent do regulate online gambling. There are however a few countries that do not explicitly legalise online gambling while at the same time they do not explicitly ban online gambling. As such, we can say that most countries on the African continent do allow online gambling either explicitly or implicitly. For many Africans, online gambling is not only a form of entertainment but it’s actually a way of earning a living (this is due to the high unemployment rates in the country). In line with this, we have decided to come up with this article which explores the most popular forms of online gambling in Africa.

Sports Betting

Sports betting is by far the most popular form of online betting in Africa. This is due to the fact that many people across the African continent are sports fanatics hence transitioning to online gambling simply means one thing, adopting what they love the most. A number of African as well as foreign online bookmakers have opened shop so as to provide the African population with a way of earning profits from what they love the most. According to data released by several sportsbooks, a high number of bettors from Africa prefer placing bets on European matches. European leagues such as the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Germany Bundesliga, Italian Serie A and France Ligue 1 as well as continental competitions such as the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa league are highly popular. There are however a few who place bets on African matches with the Nigerian, Ghanaian and the South African leagues being the most popular with bettors.

Playing Casino Games

Casino games rank second as the second most popular form of online gambling on the African continent. Casino games vary with online slots being the most popular casino games that gamers opt for. Presumably, the simplicity of online slots makes them a good proposition for a lot of gamers. Apart from online slots, African gamers also enjoy playing table games such as roulette, poker, blackjack and baccarat. Scratch card games are not as popular but they are slowly gaining traction. A high number of gamers access and play their casino games at international online casinos (online casinos registered in foreign lands mainly the UK, Malta and Gibraltar). However, there are a few African online casinos that are slowly gaining traction.

Novelty Betting

In the third position is novelty betting. Novelty betting is a bit different from the two forms detailed above as it does not involve any sporting activities. Novelty betting entails placing bets on economic and political stories as well as on celebrity stuff among others. Basically, novelty betting is betting on any other thing which is not associated with casino games or sports. In Africa, a high number of people who engage in novelty betting place bets on election outcomes (politics). Bettors will pick the candidate/party which they think will win in the upcoming elections be it local government, House of Assembly or Presidential elections.

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3 Joint Winners of Million Dollar 2018 Al Sumait Prize for Health Announced
November 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
The prize amount of one million US dollars, offered by the State of Kuwait, is awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of the three fields of Food Security, Health and Education
KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, November 21, 2018/ — Three joint winners of the 2018 cycle of Al Sumait Prize for African Development in the field of Health have been endorsed by the award’s Board of Trustees, in recognition of their exemplary work in health improvement on the African continent. 

Following consideration of the jury and selection committees’ reports, the Board of Trustees has decided to award half of the Prize to Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim, Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Professor at Columbia University. The second half of the prize is to be shared equally between Professor Sheila K. West Vice Chair for Research Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Rakai Health Sciences Program, which is a nonprofit independent research center based in Rakai, Uganda.

Professor Abdool Karim has been jointly awarded the prize for his recognised contributions to science in HIV treatment and prevention over the past three decades, which have led to significant changes in health policy and practices worldwide. He has published more than 350 papers in world-class medical journals and his efforts in research on prevention and treatment of AIDS patients has been a major factor in the decline in HIV/AIDS and mortality rates in Africa and the world.

His findings on HIV-TB, a leading cause of death in Africa, are specifically mentioned in many country treatment policies and guidelines, and are being implemented worldwide. The impact is highly tangible (eg. HIV-TB deaths have halved in South Africa since 2012).

Professor West has been jointly awarded the prize in recognition for her dedicated research focused in Africa on ways to improve trichiasis surgery outcomes and eliminate blinding trachoma. Her work has contributed to the control of blindness for both children and adults.

She has been instrumental in the development of the World Health Organization SAFE strategy for Trachoma prevention and control, a sustainable strategy that is now widely used throughout the world and is preventing blindness among both children and adults. Professor West continues her work on neglected tropical diseases in the poorest communities with partners across the globe.

The third joint winner of the 2018 prize is the Rakai Health Sciences Program (RHSP) in recognition for its important role in improving public health in the African continent by fighting against HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, and for discovering -three decades ago- the first clinical symptoms of what was then a new medical phenomenon called “slim disease” on the African continent.

The program also succeeded in documenting the importance of male circumcision and its positive impact as an effective means of reducing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, while the publications of the program in prestigious medical journals have had a significant impact on health policies in Africa and the world.

RHSP employs 350 full-time Ugandan research and clinical staff that include epidemiologists, demographers, clinical and basic science researchers, behavioral, laboratory scientists, and research support staff.  Additional RHSP staff, about 370, provide HIV treatment and prevention services resulting from RHSP research.

H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of Al Sumait’s Board of Trustees said: “Our goal with this prize is to promote positive change across Africa, and these newly announced laureates of the Al-Sumait Prize for African Development have been working tirelessly in their field of Health to create a positive and sustainable difference across Africa and the world.”

Dr. Kwaku Aning, Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) and Member of Al Sumait Prize Board,  said: “The achievements of all the winners for the award this year represent a high level of commitment to the challenges facing the African continent in ​​health care. The efforts of two of the three winners are focused on ways to treat and prevent HIV/AIDS, which is the leading cause of death in Africa.

“The third winner focuses on the treatment of blinding trachoma, which is not a direct cause of high mortality, but a disease that is described as an “orphan” affecting members of the poorest communities in developing countries. The decision to award the prize to three winners is a testament to the dedication of all candidates to efforts to improve health in the African continent.”

Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin, Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), said: “Our Laureates for the 2018 Al Sumait Prize are responsible for measurable improvements to the lives and life expectancy of millions of those suffering from HIV and Trachoma and decreasing death rates of AIDS, through innovative research on treatment and prevention and in championing sustainable changes in health polices across Africa and the world.”

The prize amount of one million US dollars, offered by the State of Kuwait, is awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of the three fields of Food Security, Health and Education. The Board of Trustees (BOT), which  oversees the prize,  is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and its members include:  Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Chairman of the Governing Board of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Chairman of Ghana Nuclear Energy Institute and Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Abdulatif Alhamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Tareq Al-Mutawa, Executive Member of the Board of Public Gathering Charity Committee and Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa, The World Bank. The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) provides all the administrative and logistic support.

An initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait, which provides the annual million dollar, the Prize honors the late Dr. Abdulrahman Al Sumait, a Kuwaiti doctor who dedicated his life to addressing the health challenges confronting Africa.

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