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2018 has been turbulent – Ghanaian Spare parts dealers
November 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Spare parts dealers in Ghana say they are hopeful the 2019 budget will alleviate the hardships in the ensuing year since 2018 has been difficult for them.

According to them, the poor performance of the Cedi has had a major effect on their business since they import with the dollar.

It comes as the finance minister is set to present the 2019 budget on Thursday.

Joseph Paddy, Chairman, Spare parts Dealers Association says the crisis in the banking sector has also affected their business.

“2018 in general, we have experienced some turbulent times. We are looking forward to better times. We clear our goods in dollar and so when the dollar goes up, prices go up and people hardly buy. Some of our members had to travel to Korea for their monies but couldn’t get them. As we speak, some of our members have their monies locked in their banks. They can’t access them.  We’ve written to the Bank of Ghana in this regard but we have not heard from them,” he said.

Also commenting on the upcoming budget statement,  Dr. J.K. Obeng, President of  GUTA, said his association is hoping that procurement processes will be simplified.

“We want pragmatic steps to be taken so that the duty rates will be reduced. We want procurement to be so simplified as well. Ghana as a nation has not done badly in terms of exports and the cash accrued therein. About 70% of countries are import based and are doing very well. The management is what matters,” he noted on the Morning Starr.

For their part, the association of Import and Exporters says government should engage them before taking decisions that affect them.

“Honestly speaking, the cost of doing business in this country is very very expensive. It is important that government engages us before taking some decisions. Taking decisions on our behalf all the time is not the best way to go”.

 

 

 

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Saudi King Salman donates Medical Items to Ghana
November 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

The Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSRELIEF), an Aid and Relief organization belonging to His Royal Highness, King Salman, of Saudi Arabia, has donated seven (7) containers (40) tonnes of medical relief items to the Republic of Ghana, as part of a worldwide humanitarian initiative by the Saudi defacto ruler.

The King has been under international criticism and attack following the murder of Saudi born Washington Post Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last month.

At a brief ceremony held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and attended by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry, Charles Owiredu, and the Charge’ d’ Affaires of the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Abdul Karim Mohammed Alluhidan, the two officials essentially signed documents covering the items that have arrived at the port of Ghana for purposes of the donation.

Charge’ d’ Affaires

Speaking through an interpreter the Charge’ d’ Affaires, Mr. Abdul Karim Mohammed Alluhidan, said the current donation is just the “tip of the iceberg” of a series of donations that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia plans to carry out in Ghana and other parts of the World. He was upbeat about these several other pending donations that Saudi Arabia intends to execute for the benefit of the government and people of Ghana.

Leader of KSRELIEF

Leader of the King Salman Relief Centre, Hamad Abdullah Almajad, on his part said the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is extremely excited to partner with Ghana in her efforts to bring good health care to its citizens. He expressed great delight in the recent visit of the Vice President, Mahamudu Bawumia, to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He assured that King Salman, and the people of Saudi Arabia pledge to stand with Ghana in all its developmental efforts.

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Charles Owiredu registered the sincere thanks of the government and people of Ghana for the kind gesture of the Saudi Kingdom. He urged the Kingdom to consider investing in several other initiatives of government such as the one district, one factory as well as in other policy areas of government.

The KSRELIEF

The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre, is dedicated to coordinating and providing international relief to crisis-afflicted communities, alleviating suffering and providing the essentials to allow people everywhere to live good lives.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at the time of the establishing of KSRELIEF allocated the sum of one billion Saudi Riyals to support the center’s relief and humanitarian efforts. This amount was additional to the one billion Saudi Riyals previously allocated to meet the relief and humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people.

The primary goal of the KSRELIEF is to operate the center solely on the basis of humanitarian need and without any other motive. KSRELIEF believes that it will accomplish this goal through close cooperation with fully-accredited international humanitarian relief organizations and other vital support partners.

 

 

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Akufo-Addo petitioned to remove “incompetent” CJ
November 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been petitioned to initiate the process for the impeachment of the Chief Justice, Sophia Akufo.

The Executive Director of the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability, Mensah Thompson, who petitioned the President cited incompetence as the basis for the removal of the CJ.

According to Mr. Thompson, the conduct of the Chief Justice clearly shows her incompetence in managing the highest office of the judiciary which has a constitutional mandate to be fair, just and equitable in the application of the laws of Ghana.

Mr. Thompson claims that the actions of the Chief Justice caused Ghana a seat at the International Criminal Court.

He alleged that the actions Justice Akufo has also damaged the image of Ghana on the International scene.

Further explaining why he wants the CJ removed, Mr Thompson said the African Court for Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR) last year issued a provisional measure to have all proceedings halted on the Woyome V Republic of Ghana case.

“Mr. President, last year when the interim measure was issued on the state, there were several pronouncements by the deputy Attorney General Godfred Dame indicating that Ghana was not bound by the measure…it was a bit worrying to see the deputy attorney general espouse a position that was clearly in contravention with Article 40 under which the treaty derives its powers locally…more worrying was the Supreme Court also came out with a position that it does not share it’s powers with any other body.”

According to Mr. Thompson the petition was received by a staff of the office of the President.

“Today, the petition was received on behalf of the president…the president will have to set up a panel for the panel to look at merits and make recommendation for the removal of Chief Justice,” Mr Thompson said.

Mr Thompson is also demanding the removal of the Attorney General, Ms Gloria Akuffo, and one of her two deputies, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame.

He, however, warned that failure by the president to set up a panel to commence the impeachment process of the Chief Justice will lead to the impeachment of the president.

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I Ran for President in Cameroon. Here is What I Learnt
November 14, 2018 | 0 Comments

President Biya won disputed elections on 7 October amidst rising unrest in Cameroon

By Akere T. Muna

 Akere Muna set standards in his own way by publicly declaring his assets

Akere Muna set standards in his own way by publicly declaring his assets

On 6 November, Paul Biya was inaugurated for the seventh time. The 85-year-old has already been in power for the last 36 years and will now serve another seven-year term.

President Biya won disputed elections on 7 October amidst rising unrest in Cameroon. The country is divided into the Francophone area – which makes up four-fifths of territory – and the smaller Anglophone area. In the last two years, the latter region has been in a situation just short of civil war.

Over the decades since unification, the Anglophone regions have been increasingly dominated (https://bit.ly/2DDukwx) and felt resentful. This led to a movement that, in 2016, began by holding strikes and peaceful demonstrations. Activists called for the restoration of the English-speaking education and judicial system.

The government responded with furious repression and shut down any discussions about federalism. This led to a spiralling crisis. Today, the talk is about secession, while the conflict has become bloody. There are now over 300,000 internally displaced persons and more than 40,000 refugees in Nigeria. At least 90 villages have been razed, while over 400 civilians have been killed and thousands more wounded. 40% of Cameroon’s revenue derives from the Anglophone regions, but the local economy has been deeply undermined by the insecurity.

This is the context in which Cameroon’s elections were held last month. In theory, this exercise was an opportunity for citizens to shape the direction of the nation. But the reality is very different.

The body that organises Cameroon’s elections is supposedly autonomous, but all its members are appointed by the president and can be removed at will.  All electoral disputes are settled by the Constitutional Council, but all its members are also appointed by the president. The Minister of Territorial Administration, another presidential appointee, handles all other administrative issues connected with elections.

In Cameroon, the voting system is first-past-the-post and uses multiple ballots. Voters are given papers for all the candidates and then cast their vote by putting their favoured nominee into the ballot box. This means they can leave the booth with the papers of the other candidates, allowing vote-buyers the ability to check how people voted. Calls to adopt a single ballot paper system have been ignored.

For presidential hopefuls, getting onto the ballot in the first place is challenging. Nominees must pay around $60,000 to submit their candidacies. They must either be endorsed by a party with at least one elected official or, if running as an independent, produce at least 300 signatures from specific kinds of dignitaries from every region.

In the elections themselves, there are close to 25,000 polling stations. What candidate can field representatives in each of these locations? The official campaign period lasts two weeks and it is illegal to campaign before this period. How can one visit 360 districts in just 14 days? The presidential campaign team, which includes ministers and other dignitaries, travels the country at the expense of the state, meaning the playing field is nowhere near level. Meanwhile, the state media turns into the ruling party’s propaganda machine.

Despite the very high hurdles, however, I decided to run for president. I have spent the last 25 years defending good governance and fighting corruption. In 2000, at a time Cameroon was accused of being the most corrupt country in the world, I founded the national chapter of international anti-corruption NGO Transparency International. Needless to say, this earned me the ire of the establishment. I went on to work for bodies such as the African Development Bank and High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa.

In this time, I watched as my country steadily moved in the wrong direction. And with the worsening situation in the Anglophone regions threatening to pull apart the fabric of our nation, a sense of responsibility weighed on my soul. I knew that I had to put my experience at the service of our citizens and attack the issues at their source – the system.

In the end, though, I withdrew my candidacy and backed Maurice Kamto. There is nowhere in African where the opposition has removed a dictator like Biya without presenting a common front. In Cameroon, the remaining eight candidates held some further meetings, but never met once together as a group. This meant that there was no single opposition candidate. This fact discouraged voters who concluded it was a waste of time.

In the final tally, Biya officially won with 71.28%. Kamto came second with 14.23%. But there were reports of massive fraud. The absence of opposition officials at many polling stations allowed the stuffing of ballot boxes. An incomplete biometric system meant that certain people voted multiple times.

The legal challenge against the election results that followed exposed the Constitutional Council as political institution. This all played out on national television and many citizens, for the first time, witnessed the fraud that cripples our electoral process.

Akere eventually threw his weight behind Kamto

Akere eventually threw his weight behind Kamto

The danger that Cameroon now faces is that its elections’ lack of credibility could lead voters to question the need to participate. And if electoral justice becomes captured by politics and hence incapable of addressing issues raised by the proper, the streets will take over. Since the presidential elections, there have been demonstrations against what has been described as a faulted political process. These demonstrations have been relayed to the Diaspora in Europe and America.

Cameroon needs to design an adequate electoral system. It is essential to make reforms so that the individual controlling the process is not also a player in it. This year, Cameroons saw first-hand the effects of a lopsided system. If the electoral playing field is not evened out then the country risks being stuck in an interminable loop created by a government for the government. Cameroonians will only stand for this so long. Till then, Cameroon remains a state captured by a few oligarchs.

 

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Your party PDP, can not fund your presidential campaign – APC tells Atiku
November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

The ruling All Progressives Congress and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday disagreed over the funding of the former vice-president’s campaigns.

 

While the APC claimed that Atiku and his party faced serious difficulties raising funds for his campaigns, the PDP candidate said the forthcoming election would not be won through money or by intimidation.

 

APC’s Deputy National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja alleged that due to the stringent measures put in place by the present administration, the PDP is in a dilemma on how to source funds to run the Atiku Presidential Campaign.

 

Nabena claimed that information available to him showed that the PDP’s hope of sourcing campaign funds from public coffers has been dashed.

 

He said, “The presidential candidate (Atiku) expects the party to provide funds for his campaign. This is the Buhari era, an era of strict accountability and transparency in the use and application of public funds and not the Jonathan era in 2015 when the national treasury was open to PDP leaders to prosecute the presidential campaign.

 

“The party leaders are therefore in serious difficulties and dilemma on how to source funds to run the Atiku Presidential Campaign.

 

“Some financiers of the party expect that the candidate, having bought the ticket with millions of dollars, should have the financial capacity to run his campaign.

 

“With the candidate’s expectation that it is the party that will fund his campaign, it is now clear that they are at a crossroads and the chickens have come home to roost.”

 

Nabena advised the nation’s anti-corruption agencies to ensure that all sources of campaign fund by the political parties are closely monitored.

 

While calling for the recovery of the funds looted during the Jonathan era, he said such recovered funds should be applied for the benefits of the poor masses who he claimed were denied democracy benefits during the 16 years that the PDP was in power.

 

He said Nigerians have a better alternative by sticking to President Muhammadu Buhari who he claimed has done so much to ensure better future for them.

 

But Atiku’s spokesman, Paul Ibe, dismissed Nabena’s claim.

 

Ibe said the forthcoming election would not be about money but the supreme will of Nigerians.

He said, “Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come. Nothing can stop the zeal of Nigerians to elect the President of their choice.

 

“This election will not be won by money or lies or propaganda or intimidation but by the supreme will of the Nigerian people as expressed in their vote.

 

“Atiku Abubakar will be elected as President by Nigerians in February 2019, notwithstanding the machinations of the APC-led administration.”

*Source Vanguard

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A Call For Compassion: An Open Letter To Mrs. Chantal Biya
November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
I write to you today, forced into exile and no longer in Cameroon, nearly twenty-four years later with a heavy heart
YAOUNDE, Cameroon, November 13, 2018/ — It is with greatest concern and respect for the future of women, children and people of Southern Cameroons (Ambazonia) that I greet you in this unusual correspondence. It is my hope and certainly my trust that this letter finds you in the best of health.

I still recall the excitement and joyous day on April 23rd, 1994, when as a young woman you got married and became the First Lady of the Republic of Cameroon. I celebrated that day for two reasons; that the country had as First Lady a younger woman and with the establishment of the Chantal Biya Foundation that same year, you demonstrated your desire to attend to the sufferings of the vulnerable, underprivileged, the sick and weak in Cameroon. I knew that as a woman and a mother, the sanctity of life and the burning desire to protect it was very close to your heart and this has been demonstrated through your philanthropic and humanitarian efforts through the years. With your humanitarian credentials, there was no doubt in my mind that you would protect the best interest of the people of Cameroon as their First Lady.

However, I write to you today, forced into exile and no longer in Cameroon, nearly twenty-four years later with a heavy heart. I hold a heavy heart because of the desperate and horrific situation in Southern Cameroons

The conflict in the Southern Cameroons has taken a terrible toll on the vulnerable community and the stench of death and desolation has engulfed the villages, towns and cities. The depravity and senseless disregard of human life by the security forces of the government of Cameroon is alarming. We are seeing scenes reminiscent of the Ethiopian civil war in the 80s with dead bodies abandoned on the side of our roads, charred bodies of our elderly and vulnerable, burnt alive in their homes and entire villages incinerated from the face of the earth.

The security forces are carrying out extra-judicial killings of the population, the lives of our active young men are no longer assured today than it is tomorrow, and our young women are raped with reckless brutality by the security forces of the government of Cameroon. The trauma and scars of death on the desolate eyes of our children seeing their parents savagely bludgeoned by the security forces is leaving a painful impact characterized by nightmares in these young minds. Most of the indigenous population has been forced into the open forest and exposed to the elements. Nursing mothers and women under their period are left with no options, but to use dead vegetation for their basic hygienic needs. It is a terrible sight to behold.

Cash crops like cocoa, coffee, palm kernels have been abandoned to waste in the farms because the farmers have either been forced to flee or are too afraid to even hold their artisanal tools like cutlasses to go to the farms because that is in itself a death sentence from the security forces. Almost 300,000 IDP and about 100,000 refugees living in squalid conditions in neighboring Nigeria, thousands killed, and some buried in mass graves and thousands arrested, abducted and whisked to dangerous dungeons in Cameroon. The economy of Southern Cameroons that have been systematically abandoned for the last 57 years has been completely eviscerated and devastated by the conflict, punitive curfews and road closures that make movement and commerce between villages and towns perniciously impossible and frustrating.

My hearts bleeds for the children and women rendered orphans and widows, my heart bleeds upon the dark clouds circling above Southern Cameroons, My heart bleeds for the painful and horrific burning of elderly men and women in their homes, the pain, the anger, the complete obliteration of entire communities and cultures. I weep for the mothers and wives of the young soldiers whose lives are also being wasted in this senseless war.

It was permissible in the beginning of this crisis that you stayed silent, it was permissible that you remained indifferent, but it is no longer permissible in light of what we know now. It is no longer permissible as a mother of the nation who understands the pain of childbirth to remain indifferent to the plight of the people of Southern Cameroons. It is a travesty that the pain and suffering of mothers and young women who looked up to you, who sang, praised and celebrated you have been abandoned and treated with this level of disdain. How do you sleep at night as a mother knowing that young children have been deprived of education because of the security situation for the past two years, how do you wake up each morning not knowing what may happened to your loved ones in Southern Cameroons and how can you stay mute for this long with the unravelling refugee crisis in Southern Cameroons. What has happened to the humanity in you? Cry My Beloved Country!

As the wife of Sissiku Julius Ayuk-Tabe (leader of Southern Cameroons), I understand the political implication of this crisis. However, there are times when humanity and government come together for a common goal. In this case, the goal is the protection of humanity; the innocent and helpless men, women and children in Southern Cameroons. They are unable to speak or defend themselves. They live in terror because they never know when they hear the sound of guns in their village, if it is their turn to be killed or taken away in the darkness of the early morning. Imagine the terror that overcomes them when they hear the deafening screams of a sister, aunt, cousin, a playmate or a mother being brutally raped. They know then that they are next. It is compared to an execution queue where men are waiting to be taken away for execution, and they hear the deadly sound of the firing squad as they queue in and wait their turn. The torture, taunts and torments are unimaginable, and you could hear grown men crying.

I realize that I may come under criticisms and accusations for writing this letter to you. I have no other motive to write this letter, other than for you to rally the mothers of Cameroon and bring pressure to bear on your husband and the government of Cameroon for an inclusive dialogue and a negotiated solution to this crisis and the immediate release of our leaders including my husband. The deafening silence from you is no longer acceptable. The lives of 8 million Southern Cameroonians and the fate of their leaders in jail is in your hands. Madam First Lady set the example for other women to follow.

It is not too late for you to send the message; that the mothers of Cameroon will no longer tolerate this war. The Southern Cameroons women will applaud you and women around the world will celebrate you.

The Lives of Southern Cameroons children, mothers and fathers also Matter and the continuing silence in the face of these killings is collusion.

I look forward to collaborating with you to look for an inclusive and negotiated solutions to this crisis.

Respectfully,

Lilian Ayuk-Tabe

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Ethiopia avails to all African travelers visa on-line and on-arrival Service
November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Ethiopian Group CEO Mr Tewolde Gebremariam

Ethiopian Group CEO Mr Tewolde Gebremariam

Ethiopia has launched visa on arrival service for all African travelers as of November 1, 2018. The service was launched at a colorful ceremony held at the headquarters of the African Union Commission in the presence of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Ethiopian high government officials, African Ambassadors residing in Addis Ababa, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, invited guests and media.

Addressing the gathering, Ethiopian Group CEO Mr Tewolde Gebremariam said, “It is truly an honor and a special privilege to witness this historical and truly inspirational day. Ethiopian Airlines has been bringing Africa together and closer to the world for over 7 decades. Today, Ethiopian flies to 60 African destinations and connects the continent to over 50 major international cities in 5 continents. Visa on arrival for fellow African brothers and sisters and more importantly, visa online will greatly boost cross-border tourism, trade and investment, further deepening African integration.”

Throughout its seventy plus years of service, the pan-African carrier Ethiopian Airlines has been bringing Africa together and closer to the world. Thanks to its unwavering commitments and efforts to bridge the air connectivity vacuum in the African skies, today Ethiopian serves 59 cities across the continent, commanding the lion’s share of the intra-African network.

It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department, in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines, launched an e-visa service for all international visitors to Ethiopia in June.

 

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“This is a watershed moment for Africa.” Deputy Chairperson shares insights on the ongoing financial reforms of the Union.
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

African Union Headquarters; 12th November 2018: At 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018, a budget of US$681,485,337 was approved for the financial year 2019. The budget covers three components operational, programme and peace support operations. The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Amb. Kwesi Quartey, shares the five key takeaways of the adoption of the 2019 budget in what he describes as a watershed moment for Africa.

1. Give us a brief on the 2019 budget of the Union.
Amb. Kwesi; The Assembly of the Union adopted the 2019 budget for the Union at a total of US$681,485,337 at the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018. This amount reflects a significant decrease of the annual budget by 12%, compared to the 2018 budget. It is also a reflection that the share of AU member states financing the budget has substantially increased compared to the partner funding in previous years. If you look at the 2019 budget, excluding the peace support operations, member states will contribute 66% of the budget while 34% is expected to be secured from our development Partners.
This increase of member states contribution has come about by implementing the decision on financing of the Union to fund the activities and agenda of the Union. Through this mechanism, we can see that the continent is gradually realizing its vision of reliable, predictable and sustainable funding of its agenda. The 2019 budget also demonstrates an enhanced process of domestic resources mobilization but most importantly, stringent measures are now in place to ensure the prudent use of these resources to meet the development needs of our Continent
The breakdown of the 2019 budget is as follows; US$161.4 million will go into financing the operational budget of the Union, US$252.8 million will go into the program budget while US$273.3 million will finance Peace Support operations.

2. The preparation of the 2019 budget is said to be significantly different from the previous budget preparations, why is that?
Amb. Kwesi; Yes, the 2019 budget is different because the Union has adopted new ways of programme planning and budget process, to ensure greater accountability in line with the implementation of the decision of Financing on the Union.

This is the first time we had joint sittings of the AU Commission and organs, the Committee of Finance Ministers (F15) technical experts and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee sub-Committees of General Supervision and Coordination on Budget, Finance and Administrative matters and of Programs and Conferences, to prepare the budget. The preparation took about five weeks consecutively, looking carefully at the budget of each spending unit of the Union to ensure it complied with the nine golden rules.

During the 2019 budget, we also introduced the budget ceilings for departments and organs based on their track record on prudent execution rate, the ability to reach their targets and aligning their programmes strictly, to the priorities of the Union. This will greatly enhance the budget execution and ensure the expenditure is linked to results.

These joint sittings were also held at the ministerial level by the Committee of Ministers of Finance (F15) before the budget was presented to the Executive Council and the Assembly for adoption. The Committee of Ministers of Finance has since assumed responsibility for oversight of the African Union budget and Reserve Fund.

Related article- Financial reforms at the African Union lead to massive cuts of the Union’s Budget. https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20180706/financial-reforms-african-union…

3. You have made reference to the nine golden rules, tell us more about that.
Amb. Kwesi; The nine golden rules are financial management and accountability principles adopted by the Assembly of the Union in January 2018. These rules are meant to ensure financial discipline within the Union to enable us decisively address issues of low execution rates, identify undetected wastages and instances of over-budgeting by departments or organs, as well as ensure full compliance with the African Union financial rules and regulations.

So far, we have fully implemented four of the nine golden rules. There is an interlinking factor on the application of all the nine rules with the progress in the implementation of the decision on financing of the Union and therefore we will soon have the other five rules applied.

The nine golden rules speak to the fact that;
a) Member states’ contributions should cover a minimum threshold of the budget to ensure the Union’s self-sufficiency and sustainability, thereby decreasing dependence on external funding.
b) The rules recognize the need for major changes to be effected to ensure revenues are predictable. This touches on elements such as the full payment of assessed contributions by Member States and partners’ contribution, for the revenue streams to be centrally coordinated.
c) The rules also speak to the credibility of the AU budgeting system which must be based on a fully integrated and automated financial management system.
d) As I mentioned earlier, one of the rules is the annual budget ceiling which is communicated to department and organs before they submit their budget proposals.
e) Also, it is important that expenditure must at all times, be authorized for virements, surplus budgets and spending that exceeds approved budgets.
f) Another key rule, is seeing to it that resource flows and transactions are reliable and efficient. Funds must be provided to departments and organs in the agreed amounts at the agreed times.
g) Institutional accountability is of utmost importance, to ensure the flow of funds is tracked to service delivery units. This requires the harmonization of all the different management systems we use.
h) Reporting is also an integral part of the financial management process. The Financial Rules and Regulations requires that departments and organs report all activities for which funds have been received, as part of the compliance and quarterly performance reports.
i) Finally, there is also the aspect on centralizing the process for engaging partners to avoid unilateral engagements for partner funded programmes.
These rules are currently being translated into AU policy and procedures and will also be reflected in the AU’s updated Financial Rules and Procedures.

4. In regards to the decision on Financing of the Union, what is the progress on that since its adoption in 2016?
Amb. Kwesi; There is commendable progress in the collection of the 0.2% levy by member states. 11 of our member states paid their 2018 assessed contributions to the AU, either partially or in full, through the new financing arrangement. We have 24 States that are at various stages of domesticating the Kigali Decision on Financing the Union and of these, 14 are actually collecting the levy.

Let me also add that there is flexibility built into the implementation of the 0.2%. Member States have the ability to determine the appropriate form and the means they will use to implement the decision in line with their national and international obligations. It is for this reason that Member States that are, for example, members of the World Trade Organization have implemented the 0.2% levy without contravening their international trade obligations.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the introduction of the golden rules and the joint sittings have provided stronger technical oversight of the AU budget.

Lastly, I think I would highlight the operationalization of the Peace Fund as a remarkable milestone. This year our Member States have contributed over US$55.9 million to the Peace Fund, which is the largest amount of money Member States have ever contributed to the Peace Fund since it was established in 1993.

5. What are your projections in advancing the ongoing financial reforms?
Amb. Kwesi; Looking at the progressive developments in Africa’s self-financing agenda, I believe this is a watershed moment for Africa. Our focus is to gradually move towards funding 100% of the Union’s operational budget, 75% of the programme budget and 25% of peace support operations by 2021, for the full ownership of the Union’s agenda.
We are working on revising the Scale of Assessment as currently, 48% of the Union’s budget is dependent on the contributions of only 5 member states under “Tier 1” of the scale of assessment. This presents clear risks to the stability of the budget. It is for this reason that in a meeting held in August 2017, Ministers of Finance recommended the introduction of ‘caps’ and ‘minima’ to our existing scale of assessment, in order to improve overall burden-sharing and risk reduction.

We also want to strengthen the sanctions regime for non-payment of contributions to ensure AU Member States payments are made on time. Under the current sanctions regimes, Member States non-payment are classified to be in default only if they are in arrears for two full years. This has led to a trend where about 33% of the assessed contributions are regularly held in arrears.

Finally, we are working towards developing a credible medium-term budget framework (2019-2021) based on revenue forecasts and capacity to spend. This will enable the Union to improve the credibility of its budget, strengthen financial management capacity and accountability and demonstrate value for money and results to its Member States. We are committed to ensure the highest standards of finance and budget management as well as seeing to it that we have a credible budget based on capacity to spend and proper revenue forecasts.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Doreen Apollos | Communication Advisor | Bureau of the Deputy Chairperson.
E-mail: ApollosD@africa-union.org | Tel: +251 115182737

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PDP Condemns Federal Government’s Attack on Atiku
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Kola Ologbondiyan*

-Says Buhari Presidency is Pushing Nigerians to the Wall

Atiku

Atiku

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns in the strongest terms the unleashing of a special security squad of army, police and paramilitary agencies by the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency to physically harass our Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, at the Abuja airport, upon his return from Dubai.

It was shocking when the deadly squad, in a Gestapo style attack, and acting on ‘orders from above’ rushed our candidate immediately he landed and attempted to physically manhandle him before invading his aircraft with dangerous weapons to conduct a violent search.

While they did not find anything incriminating on our Presidential candidate, this deadly squad, violently tampered with certain personal documents and gadgets belonging to him, including some of his campaign documents.

The PDP completely rejects such violence against the person of our Presidential candidate by the Buhari Presidency, which we know has been jittery over Atiku Abubakar’s soaring popularity since his emergence as our candidate.

We invite the world to note that having failed to drag down our Presidential candidate with spurious allegations and smear campaign, the APC has now resorted to state-backed violence against him and must be held responsible should any harm befall him or any member of his campaign team.

The PDP is for peace, but we will not accept this recourse to violence, which we believe is orchestrated to directly harm our Presidential candidate, foist a siege mentality on the system and set the stage for series of coordinated violence, ostensibly to truncate a peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election.

The Buhari Presidency and the APC should bear in mind that this is an attack on our democracy and the collective sensibility of the overwhelming majority of Nigerians, across board, who have accepted the choice of Atiku Abubakar as Nigeria’s next President and they will vigorously deploy every means available in a democracy to defend him and our democratic process.

Today, Atiku Abubakar, as a Presidential candidate, has the highest demography of supporters and volunteers across our nation and we will not hesitate to call them out in defence of democracy if another such attempt is made against our candidate.

Nigeria is not a conquered territory and anybody that wants to foist a totalitarian regime on our land will be firmly resisted

We invite President Buhari to recall that as a Presidential candidate, he had occasions to travel out of the country and the government in power never besieged or harassed him in any way. His administration should therefore not introduce such violence in our democratic space.

Finally, the PDP counsels the APC and the Buhari Presidency to know that power belongs to God and that the time has come for Nigerians to choose a new President, for which they have collectively rallied around Atiku Abubakar and that their resort to violence, smear campaign, character assassination and rigging will not change this resolve.

*National Publicity Secretary PDP

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Adesina shares vision to transform Africa through investment not aid
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opened the inaugural edition of the Africa Investment Forum on Thursday saying Africa was not only on the rise but Africa is on the move, referring to the continent as a destination for investments.

The Africa Investment Forum is an unprecedented gathering of pension funds, Sovereign wealth funds, capital markets, project sponsors, institutional and financial investors seeking to invest in Africa.

Describing Africa as the “next global frontier for investment,” Ramaphosa said: “May the deals be concluded. May we all be part of the deals that are going to be made here.”

Four African Heads of State –  President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea; President Macky Sall of Senegal;  President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, made the trip to South Africa for the Forum. Other officials included the Vice President of Nigeria; the Prime Ministers of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente and Cameroon, Philémon Yang, as well as ministers representing the Kingdom of Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Niger, and Gabon. In attendance also were Governors and Board members of the African Development Bank.

In his opening remarks, Adesina lauded the “impressive gathering” of stakeholders, indicating that their “presence here shows you care about Africa, and that you have confidence to take up more investments in Africa.”

Giving an overview of existing opportunities in the power and agriculture sectors, President Adesina said: “we always asked what’s the next China after China? Well, appropriately, China figured it out. It’s Africa.”

He acknowledged that Africa has massive infrastructure deficits, from ports to railways, roads, energy, and information and communication technology infrastructure needed to spur its competitiveness in global markets. The African development bank estimates the continent has a financing gap of $68-108 billion per year for infrastructure.

Adesina said, “But it’s all about how you see it: a glass half empty or a glass half full. Let’s see the challenges as a glass half full. That means Africa has an investment opportunity of $68-108 billion a year for infrastructure alone.”

“Which continent will have consumer and business expenditures that reach $5.6 trillion in just 7 short years,” he added. “Don’t think far: think Africa!”

The power sector alone provides a US$30 billion annual investment opportunity, tapping into Africa’s vast resources of gas, solar, hydro, wind and geothermal. Huge investment opportunities abound to make Africa the leading region on renewable energy in the world.

The African Development Bank is spearheading the development of the Desert to Power to develop 10,000 MW of solar across the entire Sahel region. This will become the largest solar zone in the world.

At the Africa Investment Forum, 306 project transactions valued at US$208.8 billion have been developed.  Over the next three days, 60 projects and deals worth US$40.4 billion will be discussed in Boardroom sessions by investors and promoters to fast track closure of deals or to remove policy and regulatory constraints to deal closure. An additional US$28 billion of projects will be showcased in “gallery walks” which have yet to move to boardroom investment conversations.

Over 330 investors will be in the Boardroom investment conversations and  “I must say the demand by investors has been overwhelming, so much so that 92% of the investments Boardrooms have been oversubscribed.That’s remarkable for a first inaugural investment forum,” Adesina said.

The Africa Investment Forum is seeking to help reduce intermediation costs, improve the quality of project information and documentation, and increase active and productive engagements between African governments and the private sector.
The Forum will feature projects from various sectors such as energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation, funds and financial services, health, education, hospitality and tourism, housing, and aviation.

*AFDB

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Solar Project in Senegal wins Phanes Group’s second Solar Incubator
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

International evaluation panel selected winning project for commercial and technical support from global solar company

Winner of the 2018 Phanes Group Solar Incubator

Winner of the 2018 Phanes Group Solar Incubator

Kigali, Rwanda – November 12, 2018: Phanes Group, an international end-to-end solar provider headquartered in Dubai, UAE, has announced Mr. Mbaye Hadj and his Gossas Solar Farm Project (30 MW) as the winner of the second edition of its Solar Incubator. The announcement was made at the “Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa” conference in Kigali, Rwanda, where three finalists presented their proposal to a panel of international industry experts from responsAbility, ECREEE, Hogan Lovells, Phanes Group, RINA, and African Development Bank.

“We are proud to announce Mr. Hadj as the winner of this year’s Solar Incubator. It was a difficult decision as we received a strong response of project proposals with the potential to positively impact their communities. Our experience now in the second year of the incubator encourages us to continue with this initiative because there is a great deal of local talent on the continent who have the potential to benefit from such a platform,” said Andrea Haupts, COO of Phanes Group.

Maintaining a long-term stake in the project, Mr. Hadj and Phanes Group will work collaboratively, aiming to bring the solar energy project to financial close. The Solar Incubator phase will kick off with an intensive face-to-face workshop for Mr. Hadj in Dubai, UAE, where he will work with Phanes Group’s team and its incubator partners to set the foundations to deliver a bankable project. During that phase,  Mr. Hadj will gain access to commercial and technical know-how covered by experts from project finance, project development and execution, legal and CSR, followed by further remote mentoring sessions in the succeeding months.

“Ultimately, Mr. Hadj’s project convinced the evaluation panel not only with its strong CSR component but also with his knowledge and commitment to the region where he hails from. We believe in Mr. Hadj’s determination to bring his project to life in a challenging market environment, where our expertise and training can make a difference,” Mrs. Haupts added. “We look forward to welcoming him to Dubai, and want to encourage the other candidates to keep persevering in bringing their proposals to fruition, as everyone would have deserved to win.”

The goal of the Phanes Group Solar Incubator, held under the theme, “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future,” is to provide access to commercial and technical knowledge, and eventually funding, to promising PV projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and to help entrepreneurs overcome obstacles that could prevent solar initiatives from reaching fruition.

More About Phanes Group

Phanes Group is an international solar energy developer, investment and asset manager, strategically headquartered in Dubai with a local footprint in sub-Saharan Africa, through its office in Nigeria, the region’s largest economy. Cumulatively, the company’s global clean power contribution is in excess of 70 MW, with a further 1.5 GW in different development stages – including 227.5 MW of grid connected PV solar in Nigeria across three different projects.

Two of the three Nigerian projects are backed by among the Nigerian government’s 14 first solar PPAs. In addition, the group is developing off-grid solar solutions to ensure communities across the region have access to a stable and clean energy supply.

Established in 2012, Phanes Group’s integrated approach, combining financial and engineering expertise, enables the company to deliver end-to-end solar energy solutions. The group has a growing portfolio of solar investments and developments spanning multiple geographies with a distinct focus on emerging markets, especially Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia (MENA ‘plus’) and sub-Saharan Africa. In the Middle East, Phanes Group is delivering the region’s largest distributed solar project (DP World Solar Power Programme) and completed phase I (33.4 MW) of the largest solar project in the Caribbean (Monte Plata).

More about Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator

Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator, held under the theme of “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future”, is supported by top-tier international partners such as ECREEE, responsAbility, Hogan Lovells, RINA, and Solarplaza. The initiative aims to select and develop PV project opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa that haven’t been able to gain access to funding and necessary know-how. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of this initiative; along with the project details a solid CSR concept must be submitted and will be jointly developed with Phanes Group during the incubator phase, and implemented in parallel with execution of the PV project.

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MPs slam report of fresh ICC investigation against Deputy President Ruto
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

William Ruto

William Ruto

A section of Members of Parliament from the ruling party, Jubilee, have dismissed reports of fresh probe by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to revive crimes against humanity case against the deputy president William Ruto.

The leaders claimed that the case is being pursued by Ruto’s adversaries who employ every means to curtail his presidential bid.  They labeled such leaders selfish saying they are after derailing country’s development.

“These so-called ICC reports are not coming from heaven but from within; those propagating it are the opponents of the people. But no evil scheme will stop an idea whose time has come,” reiterated Kikuyu Member of Parliament Kimani Ichungwa.

The leaders who accompanied Ruto to a church service in Nyeri County termed the issue as one aimed at distracting both President and Ruto from Big Four agenda of development which include Universal healthcare, food security, house affordability and manufacturing.

On his part, Tetu Member of Parliament James Gichuhi said Ruto had no hand in the allegations which prosecution had taken against him.

“You were taken in the Netherlands with the President, you emerged victorious. You will still emerge a winner in this episodic witch-hunt, and eventually be our president,” said Mr. Gichuhi.

They also lauded the President and his deputy for creating conducive environment for development and peaceful co-existence among Kenyans.

Last week the ICC President Chille Eboe Osuji, one of the judges who listened to the case revealed to the United Nations new information relating to the case have been discovered and the court my consider re-opening it.

“The office of the prosecutor continued to receive information on the commission of crimes against humanity during the post-election violence of 2007-2008,” read the annual report.

The case against Ruto and journalist Joshua Sang was terminated in April 2016 on the ground of insufficient evidence. The prosecutor decry over witness tampering and political peddling.

Fierce chaos that rocked the East African country after 2007 presidential election outcome left 600,000 people homeless and more than 1,300 people lost their lives.

Case against President Uhuru Kenyatta, former Industrialization Minister Henry Kosgey, former Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Muthaura and former police chief Mohamed Hussein Ali was also dropped by the Hague over insufficient evidence.

 

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