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Namibia: Education minister resigns after convicted of corruption
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa

Education Minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa

APA-Windhoek (Namibia) – Namibia’s education, arts and culture minister Katrina Hanse Himarwa has tendered her resignation from Cabinet after she was convicted of corruption in Windhoek High Court on Monday.

She was charged under the Anti-Corruption Act for corruptly using her office, as the then governor of Hardap region in 2014.

The 52-year old politician has been Hanse-Himarwa has been on trial since October 2018.

She was charged for ordering the removal of two people from the list of beneficiaries for government low-cost housing programme at Mariental and replace them with her relatives.

Judge Christie Liebenberg in her judgement stressed that there was overwhelming evidence from witnesses presented before the court during the trial that proved Hanse-Himarwa used her position to manipulate the original list of the mass housing project to favour her relatives.

After the hearing, Hanse-Himarwa told the media that she is not going to resign despite the guilty verdict. But on Tuesday, she announced her resignation from the ministerial post she held from March 2015.

President Hage Geingob on Tuesday accepted the resignation of the Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, minister of education, arts and culture, following the guilty verdict on Monday on charges of corruptly using her office to obtain gratification, State House announced.

In her media statement, the former minister confirmed her resignation and apologized to President Hage Geingob and the public for her transgression.

 “I apologise to both him (Geingob) and the Namibian people, as I know this Conviction has been a source of disappointment and distress for many who know me. When I was appointed as Minister of Education, Arts and Culture on 20 March 2015, I took a constitutional oath to, inter alia, uphold, defend and protect the constitution and serve the Namibian people to the best of my ability. I have upheld this constitutional oath with the conscientiousness that was required of me. This resignation is within the context of this obligation,” Hanse-Himarwa said.

However, Hanse-Himarwa who is also a member of the central committee and politburo of the ruling SWAPO Party vowed to appeal the verdict in the Supreme Court.

“I strongly believe that all Namibians, including public office bearers, have the right to a fair trial and are innocent until proven guilty. In light of the High Court of Namibia’s verdict yesterday, 08 July 2019, I intend to exercise my full legal rights, through the appropriate legal channels.

“I understand the seriousness of the conviction and I am also mindful of the President’s strong views on transparency and accountability. In this light, I herewith confirm that I have requested to be relieved of my duties as Minister of Education, Arts and Culture, with immediate effect,” Hanse-Himarwa said.

She was released on warning and will return to court for sentencing on July 24, 2019.

She was among presidential nominees to the National Assembly by President Geingob, who appointed her to Cabinet.

Meanwhile, State House announced on Tuesday that President Geingob has accepted the resignation of one of her strong allies in the ruling party.

Presidential spokesman Dr. Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari told media in Windhoek that  Geingob commends Hanse-Himarwa for the decision she has taken, accepting to live up to her responsibility by respecting the rule of law and the institutions of the Republic of Namibia.

“With the guilty verdict by the High Court of the Republic of Namibia, and in line with the expressed commitment by President Geingob to transparency and the fight against corruption, the Head of State would have been left with no option but to relieve honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa of her ministerial responsibilities. It is in this light that President Geingob accepts the resignation of Honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa as Minister of Education, Arts and Culture,” Hengari said.

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Namibia:Africa can benefit from its diamonds if exploited responsibly – Minister Alweendo
July 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Andreas Thomas

From left Minister Tom Alweendo, Edgar Diogo De Carvalho – ADPA’s Executive Secretary and Saadou Nimaga, Deputy Minister of Mines and Geology of Guinea during the official handover of the ADPA Chairmanship by Guinea to Namibia.

From left Minister Tom Alweendo, Edgar Diogo De Carvalho – ADPA’s Executive Secretary and Saadou Nimaga, Deputy Minister of Mines and Geology of Guinea during the official handover of the ADPA Chairmanship by Guinea to Namibia.

Windhoek – The fact that Africa dominate diamond production is an indication that the continent has the potential to capitalise on these natural resources, says Namibian mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo on Tuesday.

Information by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme indicates that African countries such as Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Sierra Leone is in the top ten of diamond producing countries in volume and value globally.

In addition, the most expensive diamonds are produced by Cameroon, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Lesotho, with a value ranging from US$300 to more than US$500 per carat, in comparison to the global average value of US$315 per carat.

This Minister Alweendo said it “indicates that Africa has the opportunity and potential to capitalise on its diamond resources if exploited in a responsible and sustainable manner.

That way, we will ensure that diamond generated income is channelled towards the building of educational and health institutions, improving road and network infrastructure and meeting other pressing social-economic needs”.

Alweendo was speaking during the 6th Ordinary Meeting of the African Diamond-Producing Countries Association Council of Ministers in Windhoek. The annual session started on Monday with the meeting of senior officials for countries.

The two-day meeting hosted by the Namibian mines and energy ministry deliberated and formulated policies for the functioning of the African Diamond-Producing Countries Association (ADPA), approve its organic structures and internal regulations as well as approve and direct the work of the executive secretariat.

 Namibia also took over the rotational chair of the association from Guinea. ADPA comprised of 18 members countries of which 12 are the effective members, while six are observers. The effective members are the diamond producing nations, while the observer countries are those that have the geological potential of diamonds

The Association of the Diamond Producing Countries was then established in accordance with the Luanda Declaration of 2006 and the ADPA Statute

Since its establishment, Angola, South Africa, and Guinea have chaired the ADPA’s Council of Ministers meeting, with Namibia taking over the Chairmanship for the year 2019.

“ADPA has played a significant role particularly in consolidating views of African producing countries. For example, ADPA has been instrumental in the restoration of the Republic of Zimbabwe back into the Kimberly Process after economic sanctions were imposed against their exportation of rough diamonds. The same support has been extended to the Central African Republic and is ongoing,” Minister Alweendo said.

In June 2018, ADPA concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Antwerp World Diamond Center, which Alweendo said will benefit ADPA member states throughout the entire diamond value chain, by the provision of necessary support towards ADPA’s implementation of its strategies and work plan just to mention a few.

This MoU is due for adoption and implementation.

He said ADPA has also formulated the concept document on the ‘Establishment of the Diamond Bourse’ to serve as a centre of rough diamond trading and to assist Alluvial Artisanal and Small-Scale miners in getting fair value for their produce, which is currently undervalued.

The Namibian stressed that most of the minerals in Africa is exported in raw form as concentrated ore without significant value-addition.

“It is therefore important for ADPA member states to explore ways to add value to minerals that are economically viable including diamonds, in order to industrialise their economies,” he said.

The minister also commended the African Union for formulating the Africa Mining Vision, a policy framework calling for the promotion of downstream value addition, with a view to establishing beneficiation industries that could provide stock for local manufacturing and industrialisation.

“This is to promote more fiscal space and responsive taxation to allow countries to better capture revenue gains and encourage the use of revenues for value addition and linkages,” he said.

Therefore, he challenged ADPA to drive the beneficiation “agenda by developing the diamond downstream industry through the exchange of relevant information and expertise in the area of beneficiation and mainstreaming of alluvial artisanal and small-scale miners into the formal economies to mention a few”.

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Recipe for African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): New report looks at ‘what’s next’ for the Continental Agreement
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Africa: Sports as a Business and a Brand
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Victor Oladokun*

Victor Oladokun

Victor Oladokun

Fans are choosing not to watch live football events, and instead are opting in increasing numbers for the ‘intimacy’ of their crystal clear digital flat TV screens, or not all

At the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, the visual imagery of  almost empty stadiums is a powerful narrative. But not the kind that African sports, African football, or corporate sponsors deserve.

The empty seat syndrome in suggests that football fans are voting with their feet, or better still with their backsides. Fans are choosing not to watch live football events, and instead are opting in increasing numbers  for the ‘intimacy’ of their crystal clear digital flat TV screens, or not all.

Before Egypt’s stunning 0-1 loss to South Africa in the round of 16, the host country was the only team able to attract 70,000 fans. Other than when Mo Salah and the Pharaohs have been on the field, most stadia across Egypt have at best attracted an average of 5,000 to 7,000 fans.

Official broadcast camera crews have done a creative job minimizing the visual gaps of empty seats. But wide camera angles reveal the obvious … a lack of attendance and public enthusiasm, in spite of the presence of some of the biggest names in world football on the field.

In European football leagues, where many of the stars in Egypt ply their trade, fans pay mega bucks to see the likes of John Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Sadio Mane, Ryahd Mahrez, Nicolas Pépé, Wilfred, Zaha, and Kalidou Koulibaly.

Which is why the empty seats in Egypt are both stunning.

Admittedly, Egypt bailed CAF out and should receive well-deserved credit for coming to the rescue and hosting the African Cup of Nations, with barely 6 months notice, when the original hosts were sanctioned due to shoddy preparations.

Nevertheless, the lack of attendance in Egypt speaks volumes high ticket costs; the timing of matches bang in the middle of work days; the difficulties faced by national team supporters in obtaining entry visas to Egypt; and challenges with the Confederation of African Football’s complicated online ticket purchasing system.

It should not be so. This after all, is the most important event in Africa’s sports calendar. At least, it used to be before England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and Germany’s Bundesliga captured our collective imaginations.

The end result is that where once 30,000 to 70,000 fans a week watched highly competitive domestic football leagues across Africa, the empty seat syndrome has been  the norm for almost two decades. It is not unusual to have less than a thousand fans in a stadium that seats 30,000.

The lack of fan attendance has obvious economic and financial implications across the sports value chain for team owners, sports federations and confederations, players, sponsors, advertising and marketing agencies, merchandisers, vendors, and local communities who once counted on fan attendance to boost fledgling economies.

What’s responsible for the increasing slide in fan attendance?

1. Poor facilities

2. High ticket costs

3. A lack of reliable transportation to and from venues. As well as sufficient and secure parking.

4. Increasingly crude behavior and violence at event locations.

5. Technology. Mobile phones and Apps that carry events live as well as a plethora of entertainment alternatives. In other words, once big events are no longer the main gigs in town.

So, what can be done to reverse the trend? Here are 5 quick suggestions.

1. It can no longer be business as usual. Africa must run sports as a professional business. This includes the right infrastructure, training facilities, attractive pay scales for professional athletes who now consider anything less than a European league appearance, a professional failure.

Regrettably, as with Africa’s overall propensity to simply export raw materials instead of adding value to what we produce, we are doing the same with football and many other sports. Africa has a tremendous abundance of potential talent that for the most part (with the exception of South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia) we add little or no value to. Instead, millions of genetically blessed athletes are simply waiting or begging to be ‘found’ on the cheap by European and American sports teams. Why? Simply because we fail to see diamonds in the rough and because we are unable to add value to the potential of what for now seems to be rough stones.

2. Modern and professionally maintained facilities: In sizzling hot Africa, we must invest in covered stadia. When I can sit in front of my big screen TV in my air conditioned living room, why would I want to subject myself to temperatures that I swear have gone up a number of notches in recent years?

3. Sport is a spectacle. This includes everything including pre-event and half time entertainment to keep fans with short attention spans upbeat and engaged.

4. Give back to the fans: Essentially, engagement in the 21st century must change. Its time to give something back to fans rather than fleecing them at every opportunity with sub-standard services and products. It would seem to me that sports teams could offer something as simple as raffle draws that reward fans with extra game tickets, signed player jerseys, visits with select players, or products from local sponsors. Professional marketing firms can come up with an endless list.

5. Make sports big and make it a win-win proposition. 

Real Madrid F.C. and Barcelona F.C. for example, are not owned by a few rich individuals. Instead, they are owned and supported by thousands of shareholders known as ‘socios.’ Across Africa, it’s time to change the numbers game – in ownership, money, and attendance – by giving fans a seat at the table.

These are just a few quick ideas. However, the running of sports in general and football in particular as a business and a brand proposition, will require honest analysis, political and financial will, and a collective approach.

It must be if Africa is to unlock potential and turn millions into billions.

*Dr. Victor Oladokun, is the Director of Communication and External Relations at the African Development Bank www.AfDB.org

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Niger: African Development Bank President attends historic African Union summit, decries child marriage
July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
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AFCON 2019:Host Egypt, Defending champions Cameroon knocked out
July 8, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Mohamed Salah could not get his Egyptian over the line against South Africa-Sumaya Hisham-Reuters

Mohamed Salah could not get his Egyptian over the line against South Africa-Sumaya Hisham-Reuters

The 2019 edition of the Africa cup of nations continues to throw surprises as defending champions and host are all knocked out of the competition on the same day.

The indomitable Lions of Cameroon and the Pharaohs of Egypt all suffered defeats in the round of 16. The Lions lost to bitter rivals Nigeria by 3 goals to 2 in the first match in Alexandria.

China based Odoin Ighalo gave the super eagles the lead in the 19th minute of play but Cameroon hit back with two goals in quick succession. Forward Stephane Bahoken and Clinton Njie all scored before the close of the first half of play.

The second half of play began as the first with both teams looking to score more goals. It was Nigeria who however equalized as Ighalo got his brace for the game making at the 63rd minute to make it 2 all. There was however a suspicion of offside but the referee let it stand. Arsenal player Alex Iwobi then snatched the winner just three minute late to send his side into the quarter finals.

Speaking in a press conference shortly after their defeat, Cameroon’s Head Coach Clarence Seedorf seems to downplay the lost. He said “I feel very sorry. We played well but this is football. I don’t think about my future now and all I want is to evolve this team for the future.

Cameroon’s elimination from the competition may have consequences for the coach and his assistant. The tasked given to Clarence Seedorf when he took over from Hugo Broos was that of defending the title they won in 2017. With their early exit from the competition it is still unclear if the management of football will stick with him heading into 2021 when Cameroon will host the competition-giving the fact that Cameroon is known for hiring and dismissing coaches who don’t meet expectations.

There have even been calls from some football fans and analyst in the country for him to reply. One wrote “If Seedorf is not fired; he should be wise enough to pick home based players and cultivate them for these two years before AFCON 2021 and forget about these so-called professionals”.

Another stated “My opinion is that Seedorf will be fired. It’s not that he did a bad job in Egypt but Cameroon has exceptional skills in sacking coaches especially after competition like this” while another cautioned “this will be the biggest mistake Cameroon will do should we fire Seedorf”.

The day then ended with the host knocked out of the competition by the Bafana Bafana of South Africa. A Thembinkosi Lorch strike at the 85th minute of play was all it took for South Africa to qualify for the quarter finals.

Twitting after the match, JohnBennettBBC said “none of the players stopped in the interview area outside the stadium. Mohamed Salah looked very emotional. He didn’t appear fully fit tonight after being ill this week.”

Egypt’s lost has had wide spread ramification with the coach and President of the Egyptian FA all being liberated. Egyptian President Abou Reidah Hany resigned while the coach Javier Aguirre was dismissed.

Hany while announcing his resignation called on his fellow board members to resign. His resignation stated: “Hani Abu Reidah announced his resignation from the presidency of the Egyptian Football Federation and also invited the members of the Board of Directors of the Union to resign, following the departure of the first national team from the round of 16 of the Africa cup of Nations organized in Egypt”.

The Egyptian side had been seen as one of the favorites to win the competition coupled with the fact that they are hosting the competition. The last time they hosted the competition was backed in 2006 and in that year finished as winners. This year however proved different with star man Mohamed Salah failing to get his team over the line against South Africa.

The defeat is almost something as a revenge for the South Africa. The team lost to Egypt in their bid to replace Cameroon as host for the 2019 edition, which Egypt won with a landslide victory. South Africa received just one in their pursuit to host the sporting jamboree.

Nigeria will thus face South Africa in the quarter finals as both side look to reach the finals in the competition.

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Civil Society Forum meets to launch the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Consultative Dialogue Framework
July 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Kenya Airways Selects GE Aviation for Digital Flight Operations
July 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
Kenya Airways adds to the 15,468 aircraft with GE Aviation’s digital solutions
L-R: Adam Ward (GE Aviation), Sean Moser (GE Aviation), Paul Njoroge (Director Operations, KQ) Andrew Coleman (GE Aviation) Clare Ward (CIO, KQ) & Isam Moursy ( VP, GE Aviation Africa). Seated L-R: John Mansfield (Chief Digital Officer, GE Aviation) & Sebastian Mikosz (CEO, KQ)

L-R: Adam Ward (GE Aviation), Sean Moser (GE Aviation), Paul Njoroge (Director Operations, KQ) Andrew Coleman (GE Aviation) Clare Ward (CIO, KQ) & Isam Moursy ( VP, GE Aviation Africa). Seated L-R: John Mansfield (Chief Digital Officer, GE Aviation) & Sebastian Mikosz (CEO, KQ)

AUSTIN, United States of America, July 3, 2019/ — Maximizing Airline Efficiency with the Most Accurate Data and Analytics; Kenya Airways (www.Kenya-Airways.com) adds to the 15,468 aircraft with GE Aviation’s (www.GEAviation.com) digital solutions.

Kenya Airways has selected GE Aviation for the Flight Operations suite of digital products across the airline’s fleet of Boeing 737, 787 and Embraer E190 airplanes. Kenya Airway’s fleet adds to the 15,468 unique aircraft assets that are connected to GE Aviation’s digital solutions. Implementation is currently underway with completion this year.

“Kenya Airways was looking for a way to monitor fleet performance, implement and track fuel saving initiatives across their network and empower their pilots to help drive efficiency,” said John Mansfield, chief digital officer for GE Aviation at the signing ceremony held on June 18th at the Paris Air Show. “The Flight Operations suite provides these insights and is scalable to provide additional functionality.”

The Flight Operations suite integrates GE’s Event Measurement System (EMS), flight analytics, FlightPulse™ and fuel efficiency services. GE’s EMS and FOQA systems are being used on 8,932 aircraft including flight analytics service integrating data sources like flight information, weather, navigation, flight plans, and other operational data to provide valuable insights for airline customers around fuel use and operations. Kenya Airway’s 425 pilots add to the 57,702-airline crew relying on GE Aviation’s Network Crew Optimization.

Paul Njoroge, director of operations, Kenya Airways said, “The partnership with GE Aviation will empower Kenya Airways to optimise its fuel costs and excel in flight operations. GE brings a wealth of knowledge to help the airline fast track efficiencies enabling improvements in operations and customer experience.”

Clare Ward, chief information officer, Kenya Airways, noted that the airline chose GE Aviation because of its leadership and innovation in flight analytics and deep aviation experience. “By partnering with GE, Kenya Airways is accelerating the move to leading edge technologies in analytics and machine learning,” she said.

“Our aim is to help Kenya Airways reduce their multi-million-dollar fuel bill and increase their overall efficiency, said Mansfield. “The fidelity in our flight analytics, together with the team’s experience from analyzing more than 175 million flights, will enable Kenya Airways to better manage operations with data-driven solutions. We are bringing together analytics with physical assets to help significantly reduce cost.”

About Kenya Airways:
Kenya Airways (www.Kenya-Airways.com), a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 55 destinations worldwide, 43 of which are in Africa and carries over four million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 33 aircraft being some of the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways takes pride for being in the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Kenya Airways celebrated 42 years of operations in January 2018 and was named Africa Leading Airline 2018 by the World Travel Awards. For more information, please visit www.Kenya-Airways.com

About GE Aviation:
GE Aviation (www.GEAviation.com), an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of commercial and military jet engines, avionics, digital solutions and electrical power systems for aircraft. GE is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. With people, services, technology and scale, GE delivers better outcomes for customers by speaking the language of industry. www.GEAviation.com/digital

*Source GE

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The Fashion Designer, Alphadi, lends his talents to promote child rights in Niger
July 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Restoring essential health services after Cyclone Idai in Mozambique
July 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Africa working towards delivering credible censuses during 2020 round, says Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Muhwava
July 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Sudan: Agreement must be judged by actions of those in power
July 6, 2019 | 0 Comments
African Union envoy to Sudan Mohammed el-Hassan Labat (L) sits next to Sudan's deputy chief of the ruling military council General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo as he shakes hands with an army general following a press conference in Khartoum (AFP Photo)

African Union envoy to Sudan Mohammed el-Hassan Labat (L) sits next to Sudan’s deputy chief of the ruling military council General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo as he shakes hands with an army general following a press conference in Khartoum (AFP Photo)

Responding to the news that a power-sharing deal has been reached between Sudan’s military leaders and the opposition party, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said:

“The devil will be in the detail of any deal – but we hope this marks a step towards an end of the horrific crimes that have been committed against the people of Sudan for decades. This agreement must be judged by how those in power now live up to their responsibilities to respect people’s fundamental rights – something the Sudanese people have been deprived of for well over three decades.

“There are two crucial steps that those in power must now take to ensure that this is a positive step forward for Sudan. Firstly, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) must be barred from all policing activities. They have no place in law enforcement given their record in committing war crimes in Darfur and the murders, torture and other brutal violence against protestors since former President Omar Al-Bashir stepped down in April.

“Secondly, we need to see an immediate independent investigation into the ruthless violence perpetrated by government forces against protestors. The world has watched in horror at the slaughter of ordinary Sudanese people who have dared to demand their human rights. Those now in power must not believe for a second that we will forget that these atrocities occurred. Nothing less than full accountability is acceptable.

“We know that this agreement is clearly not the end of the terrible ordeal Sudanese people have experienced. But the fact that it has happened at all is a testament to the extraordinary determination and resilience of ordinary people who chose to stand up for their rights.”

*Amnesty

 

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