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$2bn Chinese loan: Don’t compromise Ghana’s sovereignty – Minority
November 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah.

The Minority in Ghana’s Parliament has cautioned government not to compromise Ghana’s sovereignty to the Chinese government in an attempt to secure loans for infrastructure development.

The caution by the Minority follows the recent agreement signed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Chinese government for a $2 billion barter agreement for projects.

Contributing to a statement on the floor of Parliament, MP for Wa Central, Rashid Pelpuo said government should learn lessons from their Zambian counterparts where reports suggest that the Chinese government has taken over sections of their economy for failing to pay debt owed the Chinese government.

“Recounting all the benefits we have had from China and the fact that we are considering the request that we continue to enhance that relation and strengthen it saddens my heart.

“Mr. Speaker, it shows that one sided relationship in which Ghana seems to the beneficiary all the time, the loans we have taken, the grants and every other time shows that it is not a relation we should continue in the direction we are going.

“It is what defines you, your worth, and your importance that cements your sovereignty as a country that cannot be taken away by another country. I have seen several African countries in which China’s presence have shown that in the end those countries have lost their sovereignty [like] Zambia…in situations where telecommunications and other benefits that are in the country cannot be decided by the country alone without China not coming in to support,” Hon. Pelpuo said.

The Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Frank Annoh-Dompreh said the country should adopt a bipartisan approach in the $2 billion Sinohydro barter agreement with the Chinese government.

“In exchange of the 2 billion dollars, I will urge that we rather entrust our talents in the hands of the skilful than to bury them…Mr Speaker, Ghana has a long standing relationship with China and I believe that this new agreement is another giant step to transform, enhance and fast track our development agenda.

“Mr. Speaker, the Sino-Hydro agreement is a welcome news that needs a Bi-partisan approach with a singular view of raking in the best interest for our dear country.”

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Spotlight on Jammeh Era Abuses As Truth and Reconciliation Committee Gets to Work
November 7, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Alpha Jallow in Banjul

Former President Jammeh  has lived in Equatorial Guinea since he left office

Former President Jammeh has lived in Equatorial Guinea since he left office

One of the darkest chapters in West African recent history is about to be told,for the first time in full in the Republic of Gambia as the Truth Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC)  starts soon.

The small West African country is to hear testimony from survivors,witnesses,as well as perpetrators of alleged abuses under former President Yaya Jammed during the twenty two years he held the mantle of leadership in the country.

Jammeh has been accused of presiding over summary executions,disappearances,torture and rape of Gambian citizens as well as other West African nationals.Ordinary Gambian and Civil society groups have hailed the TRRC as an instrument for national healing.

“The TRRC will be able to unearth the alleged abuses under dictator Jammeh but  will also allow Gambians to forgive each other.Victims of Jammeh regime will also be  adequately compensated for atrocities meted to them” Omar Amadou Jallow a former Minister opined to PAV.

President Jammeh ruled for 22 years,before loosing elections and fleeing into exile in Equatorial Guinea in 2017.
Now the Truth,Reconciliation and Reparations Commission will investigate how the abuses  began ,became systematic, and it’s repercussions.

During to the swearing-in of members of the TRRC,President Adama Barrow  hailed the panel as a vital step towards national healing.He said the commission will be empowered to advise and prosecute perpetrators of such heinous crimes, and recommend financial compensation to victims.

However opinions are divided on the TRRC. While some victims are prepared to forgive Jammeh and his cohorts, others are calling for the ex leader to be arraigned before a special court for abuses committed during his regime.

 

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Nissan To Establish Automotive Manufacturing Industry In Ghana
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

Ghana has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Nissan Group of Africa for the establishment of an automotive manufacturing industry in Ghana, which will make Ghana the hub for sales and marketing of Nissan in West Africa.

This was announced on Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, when the Managing Director of Nissan Group of Africa, Mike Whitfield, paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo.

According to Mr. Whitfield, Nissan aims to be the first carmaker to assemble vehicles in Ghana, building on its market leadership in the country.

Nissan models, he explained, accounted for 32.8% of vehicle sales in Ghana last year, with the company’s cars, pickups and SUVs sold through a national network of six sales and service outlets.

“Nissan is the most popular auto brand in Ghana because the quality of our products and services has won the trust of our customers,” Whitfield said.

He continued, “We want to build on our leadership by supporting the government to create the environment for a successful automotive manufacturing industry in the country. Building vehicles in Ghana will enable us to further improve the products and services we offer to our customers here and will have significant, long-term benefits for the economy in terms of jobs and growth.”

On his part, President Akufo-Addo welcomed strongly the decision by Nissan to establish an automotive manufacturing industry in Ghana.

The President explained that his administration had embarked on a journey on moving the country away from being mere producers and exporters of raw materials, with a focus on value-addition and industrial activities.

One of the areas of focus, he stressed, was the automotive industry, the reason why his administration has spent the last 22 months strengthening the fundamentals of the Ghanaian economy to attract such investment.

“To have at A+ company like yours in Ghana is positive, and we welcome you strongly. We hope that the MoU that will be signed will not just remain an MoU but will translate into concrete benefits for us all,” President Akufo-Addo said.

The MoU seeks to unlock economic potential, promote development of the automotive sector and promote investor-friendly regulatory frameworks that encourage sustainable car manufacturing. The aim is to promote infrastructure development, job creation and skills development in Ghana.

The Minister for Trade, Alan Kyerematen also praised Nissan’s commitment to Ghana, saying, “we welcome this MOU and commit ourselves in turn to working with Nissan to create the necessary environment for the level of investment that will make Ghana’s automotive sector a reality.”

Industrywide vehicle sales in Ghana have been growing steadily at an annual rate of about 10% and now stand at about 9,150 vehicles a year.

Working closely with the government of Ghana and with other members of the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers, Nissan will provide its global expertise to establish a sustainable auto manufacturing industry in the country.

The agreement builds on Nissan’s investment in Nigeria where, in 2013, the company became the first major automaker to assemble cars.

Nissan is a global full-line vehicle manufacturer that sells more than 60 models under the Nissan, INFINITI and Datsun brands. In fiscal year 2017, the company sold 5.77 million vehicles globally, generating revenue of 11.9 trillion yen.

On April 1, 2017, the company embarked on Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, a six-year plan targeting a 30% increase in annualized revenues to 16.5 trillion yen by the end of fiscal 2022, along with cumulative free cash flow of 2.5 trillion yen.

As part of Nissan M.O.V.E. to 2022, the company plans to extend its leadership in electric vehicles, symbolized by the world’s best-selling all-electric vehicle in history, the Nissan LEAF.

Nissan’s global headquarters in Yokohama, Japan, manages operations in six regions: Asia & Oceania; Africa, the Middle East & India; China; Europe; Latin America; and North America. Nissan has partnered with French manufacturer Renault since 1999 and acquired a 34% stake in Mitsubishi Motors in 2016.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi is today the world’s largest automotive partnership, with combined sales of more than 10.6 million vehicles in calendar year 2017.

*Presidency Ghana

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BOOMPLAY AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP ANNOUNCE LANDMARK DISTRIBUTION PARTNERSHIP IN AFRICA
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

Universal Music Group becomes first music company to partner with leading African music streaming and download service

LAGOS AND SANTA MONICA, November 05, 2018  Boomplay, Africa’s leading music streaming and download service and Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment today announced the signing of a landmark licensing agreement covering multiple markets within Africa.

UMG is the first major music company to license its catalog to Boomplay, which has quickly established itself as the most popular streaming service in Africa. Under the terms of the multi-year agreement and effective immediately, Boomplay will distribute music from UMG’s world-renowned labels through its streaming and download platform in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. Boomplay currently provides more than two million songs and thousands of music videos to more than 36 million users, with nearly two million new users added each month.

Users will now have access to UMG’s extensive catalog of both local and global recording artists including Eminem, Tekno, Post Malone, Nicki Minaj, Lady Zamar, Lil Wayne, Bob Marley, Brenda Fassie, Wurld, J.Cole, Dr. Tumi, Nasty C, 6lack, Diana Ross, Hugh Masekela, Jon Bellion, Larry Gaaga, Tamia, Maroon 5, Aka & Anatii, TJAN, Jah Prayzah, Nonso Bassey, Mafikizolo, Cina Soul, Ella Mai,and Mr. Eazi.

Earlier this year, UMG announced the launch of Universal Music Nigeria, a new division within Western Africa to provide artists with comprehensive opportunities throughout the region and to provide pan-African talent the best possible launch pad for wider international success. UMG is accelerating the company’s focus on growing the entire African music ecosystem including recorded music, music publishing, production, live events, brand partnerships and merchandising efforts.

In making the announcement, Universal Music Group, Executive Vice-President, Market Development Adam Granite said, “We’re looking forward to working with Boomplay as we provide our African artists a range of creative, marketing and promotional resources to accelerate their careers within this vibrant and growing music market. This agreement will help UMG artists to reach new audiences, whilst boosting the African streaming experience to benefit both music fans, artists and songwriters.”

“This partnership extends our reach and makes our artists’ music accessible to millions of African music lovers,” said Ezegozie Eze Jr., General Manager, Universal Music Nigeria, “We are delighted to be the first global music company to partner with Boomplay and look forward to bringing the extraordinary creativity of our artists to as many Africans users as possible.”

Also commenting, Boomplay’s CEO, Joe He, said that Boomplay will continue to forge partnerships that enriches the digital ecosystem and connects music lovers with their favorite songs anytime and anywhere.

“Boomplay is determined to continue meeting the music passion point of Africans in a legitimate way, especially Boomplay users, and teaming up with a major music company in the global music industry like Universal Music Group, offers yet another significant opportunity for us to do so”, he said.

The Boomplay App, which is currently only available for Android users, is scheduled for release via iOS in the coming weeks. In addition, new Boomplay users will be able to obtain a free one-month subscription when they opt in for a monthly auto-renewable subscription plan.

About Boomplay

Boomplay is a music streaming and download service owned by Transsnet Music Limited.  Boomplay houses millions of songs and videos, connecting music lovers with their favourite songs anytime, anywhere. Boomplay currently has over 36 million users, out of which, over 10 million are from Google Play store, and the rest from global pre-installation on TECNO, Infinix & itel devices. The service is currently available for Web and Android use.  The app, which won the Best African App at the 2017 Apps Africa Awards, allows its users to stream and download their favourite songs and videos, as well as subscribe to a plan in order to save music for offline play. Over the years, different payment platforms have been introduced and music lovers are able to pay for music via mobile money, bank cards or Boomcoin cards. Boomplay aims to build the largest and most sustainable digital music ecosystem. Find out more here.

About Universal Music Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more here

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Equatorial Guinea’s energy sector gets $2.4 bln boost -ministry source
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Tanzania government denounces governor’s anti-gay witch-hunt
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments
Anti-gay sentiment has increased since the 2015 election of President John Magufuli who has said that everybody should condemn homosexuality (AFP Photo/STR)

Anti-gay sentiment has increased since the 2015 election of President John Magufuli who has said that everybody should condemn homosexuality (AFP Photo/STR)

Nairobi (AFP) – Tanzania says that a plan to hunt down and arrest suspected homosexuals in the country’s economic capital was not official policy, distancing itself from a citywide crackdown slammed by rights groups.

Dar es Salaam’s powerful governor, Paul Makonda, urged citizens last Monday to begin reporting homosexuals for round-ups in a country where anti-gay rhetoric has soared in recent years.

“The government of the United Republic of Tanzania would like to clarify that these are (Makonda’s) personal views and not the position of the government,” the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement released Sunday evening.

It added that the government would “continue to respect all international human rights conventions which it subscribes to”.

A fervent Christian and loyal ally of President John Magufuli, Makonda had said homosexual behaviour “tramples on the moral values ​​of Tanzanians and our two Christian and Muslim religions”.

His remarks drew strong criticism including from Amnesty International and the United Nations.

Under British colonial-era laws, homosexuality is illegal in Tanzania and same-sex acts between men are punishable by a maximum life sentence.

Anti-gay sentiment has increased since Magufuli’s 2015 election, forcing most gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities to live in secrecy.

Last year, the president said that everybody should condemn homosexuality, “even cows” and soon after his government threatened to arrest or deport gay rights activists.

Three South Africans were subsequently expelled for allegedly advocating for same-sex marriage.

AIDS clinics have also been shut down under Magufuli, accused of “promoting” homosexuality, while he has encouraged women to abandon birth control and have more babies.

On Saturday, the European Union said it had recalled its chief representative to Brussels for discussions, following reports he had been asked to leave by the government.

*AFP

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70% of books in Ghanaian libraries obsolete – CEO
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

The Ghana Library Authority has bemoaned the quality of books at various state libraries across the country.

According to the CEO of the Authority, Hayford Siaw about seventy percent of the books in the libraries nationwide are obsolete.

“We have inherited an institution that has been a de-prioritize public sector institution for quite too long and this is because as at 1981 we had one million books on our shelves and as I speak to you we have only 500,000 books,” Mr Siaw said.

“And even now about seventy percent of the books need to be cleared off because they are of no use to present needs of the population,” he stressed.

Mr. Siaw further noted that for the past six years some of the regional libraries haven’t received a dime from the head office to be able to operate.

“Regional directors were living in isolation, operating on their own without any support from the central agency.”

That, however, he said, is changing since he assumed office and that the regions this year received “some amount of money to be able to get them in operation.”

Touching on the conditions of service at the Authority, he said he hasn’t been paid for 11 months.

“I have not started receiving my salary yet. I have been working for about 11 months now but have not been paid yet. It is a process,” revealed.

He noted a huge quantum of the budget for libraries in the country goes into salaries.

Most libraries across the country are also in deplorable state. Experts warn that the nation’s quest to promote reading among children will achieve little results if nothing is done to change the situation.

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Slave Trade was a shameful era – Prince Charles
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

The Heir Apparent to the British Throne and, Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, has described the era of “Slave Trade” as a Shameful period in Ghana’s relations with Europe and in particular with the United Kingdom.

In his Keynote address at the Commonwealth inspired Public Lecture on the theme; “Towards A Common Future”, at the Accra International Conference’s Centre (AICC), the Prince of Wales, described the slave trade as the most painful chapter in the history of Ghana’s relationship with the United Kingdom and the rest of the European Union.

The United Kingdom and the rest of the World he said, ought to ensure that “Slave Trade” does not re-occur in any form or shape in the history of mankind.

“While Britain can be proud that it later led the way in the abolition of this shameful trade, we have a shared responsibility to ensure that the abject horror of slavery is never forgotten, that we uphold the existence of modern slavery and human trafficking and that we robustly promote and defend the values which today make it incomprehensible for most of us that human beings could ever treat each other with such utter inhumanity” head of the Commonwealth said.

Climate Change

On the issues of climate change, the Prince said the impact of global warming and climate change are already been felt by far by many Commonwealth citizens. He further observed that even though there are several examples of real evidence of the impact of climate change such as hurricanes and cyclones, the Commonwealth of Nations can still join hands and share best practices to arrest the situation.

“There is it seems to me, tremendous potential for the Commonwealth to share best practice and coordinate its response to these kind of disasters” Prince Charles said.

The Blue Economy

One of the fundamental challenges that the planet is facing according to Prince Charles is the issues of plastics that are finding their way into the sea. He observes that about “8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year, that soon it will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in the sea and that the dead zones in the oceans now numbering about four hundred are continuing to grow”.

To deal with the threat on the blue economy, Prince Charles said “surely we must find a way to protect and conserve our oceans and develop a truly sustainable secure approach to the blue economy as we must to the rest of our economy activity”

The Exhibition

The event which was attended by President Akufo Addo, Former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings, John Kufour, and John Manama, started with an exhibition that showcased the several projects that the United Kingdom has supported Ghana in executing and those that are still on going. It also showed images of the rich culture of Ghana and excellent memories that are documented between Ghana and the British Royal Family.

The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries.

Thirty-one of her members are small states, many of which are island nations. The shared values and principles of the Commonwealth are inscribed in the Commonwealth Charter. Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organizations.

The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009. The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, supports Commonwealth member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace.

The Vision of the Commonwealth is to help create and sustain a Commonwealth that is mutually respectful, resilient, peaceful and prosperous and that cherishes equality, diversity and shared values. It also has as it’s mission to support member governments, and partner with the broader Commonwealth family and others, to improve the well-being of all Commonwealth citizens and to advance their shared interests globally.

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Ghana’s democracy a shining example – Prince Charles
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Prince Charles

Prince Charles

 

The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, says Ghana has become a leading example to other nations and a force for good in the world. This, he said is evidenced by the strong institutions and democratic successes the Nation has achieved over the last few years.

In his Public Lecture at a Commonwealth inspired programme on the theme; “Towards A Common Future”, at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC), the Prince of Wales, and Head of the Commonwealth, Prince Charles said even though it’s been over forty years since he last visited Ghana, “he has been following Ghana’s story closely and like so many other people, he has been profoundly impressed by the remarkable cause that Ghana has taken.”

“Over these past years your country ladies and gentlemen, if I may say so, has become an example to other Nations. It has given its citizens stability and security with strong democratic institutions, free and fair elections and the peaceful transition of power in a vibrant multiparty and multi faith democracy,” Prince Charles said.

Role of Civil Society and Chiefs

The Prince added that “at the same time Ghana’s Civil Society has thrived and its NGOs, Unions and Professional Associations are now among the most active and engaged in the region. I know too that Ghana’s traditional leaders some of whom including the Asantehene and Okyehene, I have had a great pleasure of meeting again on this visit, continue to have a vital and influential voice in your national discourse”.

Ghana’s Deeply Held Values

The Heir Apparent to the British Throne, indicated that underlining all of the achievements of Ghana, it seems to him, “are the deeply held values of tolerance and inclusion which are imbedded in your traditional culture and enshrined in your constitution such as Protection of free speech and freedom of religious expression. While elsewhere, diversity has fuelled division and conflict, in Ghana, it has been an enduring source of strength and National pride”.

Tribute to Kofi Annan

Prince Charles in celebrating Ghana’s remarkable achievements, had occasion to eulogise the Late Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations who passed on to eternity last June.

“Here Mr. President, if I may, I would like to paid special tribute to that proud son of Ghana, Mr. Kofi Anann, who’s recent loss has been so keenly felt by people throughout this country and indeed across the World”. He added that “he will be long remembered by all those who knew him and by countless others whose life’s he touched.”

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Nigeria:The Unravelling of President Buhari
November 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Chido Onumah*

President Muhammadu Buhari talking

President Muhammadu Buhari talking

One thing supporters of President Muhammadu Buhari can’t deny is that many of those who oppose him today, almost three and half years after he was sworn in as the fourth president of the Fourth Republic, rooted for him 2015. Many of them are not politicians; they are not angry because Presdient Buhari has blocked their illegal sources of wealth; and they are not people who have cases with anti-corruption agencies. I am one of them.

For this category of Nigerians, it was their belief in Nigeria and hope for an inclusive country and new ways of doing things that made them take that chance. After the Jonathan debacle, very few Nigerians imagined that the country could sink lower in terms of its leader’s capacity to understand and confront its problems. Expectations were high. Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) had made promises.

During the campaign, Candidate Buhari, without prompting, promised to declare his asset publicly on his first day in office and we believed him. The APC promised to address the vexed issue of national unity and integration and we trusted them. Four months after, journalists were still debating with Garba Shehu, the president’s Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, on the meaning of public declaration of asset.

It was in faraway Ghana, in September 2015, that President Buhari told curious journalists: “I have declared my assets and all that I have four times, and you (the media) have the right to go and demand for my declaration. Instead, I am being harassed.” I am sure if the president had made his asset declaration public, as he promised during his campaign, journalists would have saved him the harassment and embarrassment.

In July 2013, my colleague, Godwin Onyeacholem, and I, wrote a piece titled “2015: Why Buhari Matters.” In it, we argued that Mr. Buhari was perhaps the only politician who could defeat former president, Goodluck Jonathan. In another article in May 2015 titled, “President Buhari: Dead end or the rebirth of a nation?” I argued, enthusiastically,  that under Mr. Buhari, Nigerians didn’t expect it to be business as usual and that notwithstanding his foibles—“alleged provincialism and antecedent as a military dictator”—since corruption remains one of Nigeria’s biggest problems, perhaps, “President Buhari, ‘Mr. Anti-corruption’ can deal with corruption and get the Nigerian state to function.”

Friends yesterday , rivals Buhari will have a formidable challenger for the 2019 elections in Atiku Abubarkar

Friends yesterday , rivals Buhari will have a formidable challenger for the 2019 elections in Atiku Abubarkar

That has turned out not to be the case. As we have seen, President Buhari’s foibles are not superficial. They are ingrained. On the issue of corruption, I will allow Senator Shehu Sani speak on Mr. Buhari’s anti-corruption war. A preeminent party man, Senator Sani was in the APC until a few weeks ago when a combination of intrigues and highhandedness forced him to resign and join another party, the People’s Redemption Party (PRP). According to Senator Sani, “When it comes to fighting corruption in the National Assembly and the Judiciary and in the larger Nigerian sectors, the President uses insecticide, but when it comes to fighting corruption within the Presidency, they use deodorants.”

But, as we have noticed, fighting corruption should be the least of our concern under a president who seems to make a mockery of the very essence of our survival as a nation. The clear and present danger in Nigeria today is the existential crisis confronting it. Not since the civil war have Nigerians questioned their citizenship the way they have done in the last three and half years, thanks to a president whose philosophy and politics of exclusion and resentment, of “we vs them,” of “97 and 5 percent,” is redefining what it means to be a Nigerian.

President Buhari has foreclosed the prospect of any kind of meaningful conversation on Nigeria and its existential crisis. It will be an egregious folly to allow this indifference to go on for four more years. If Mr. Buhari wasn’t sworn in on May 29, 2015, he would have remained “the best president Nigeria never had.” Now that we have watched him painfully flounder, not knowing exactly what to do and squandering the goodwill of a nation in search of direction, it would be catastrophic to reward him with another four years.

The 2019 election, therefore, will either be about enabling a tribesman or finding a patriotic alternative. As a people, we should be interested in President Buhari’s capacity—his ability to understand what the country needs—to steer the Nigerian state for four more years as he seeks a second term in the February 2019 general elections.

President Buhari may have good intentions, if you believe those around him. But again, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. For a nation in a hurry, President Buhari’s tardiness goes beyond the pale. It took him six months to appoint some of the same people he campaigned with, as ministers, creating uncertainty and imperiling the economy in the process. The security situation gets worse by the day and you scarcely hear any coherent response from the president.

It seems Mr. Buhari hardly knows what is happening around him. A few months ago, at the height of the murderous herdsmen/farmers crisis in Benue State, the president sent the Inspector General of Police to personally take charge of the situation. When the president finally visited Benue State, after weeks of public outcry, and was confronted by residents who said the police chief was a no-show, he told a bewildered nation that he did not know that his police chief defied his orders. And, of course, he did nothing.

No wonder when asked in February what he would tell President Buhari if they met, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, replied: “I will say to him, Mr. President I think you are under a trance.” There couldn’t have been a more apt description of a president we elected almost four years to take charge and pull the country from the brink. I don’t think President Buhari has woken up from that dream. What we have in place of an elected president is a space holder surrounded by a bunch of nefarious enablers.

President Buhari’s listlessness and nonchalance is only matched by his parochialism. Take his handling of the crisis at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) or the appointment of a new head for Nigeria’s internal security agency, the Department of State Security (DSS). In August 2018, while President Buhari was away on medical vacation in the UK, the acting president, Yemi Osinbajo, sacked Lawal Daura the notorious director general of the DSS and Mr. Buhari’s kinsman after a botched DSS invasion of the National Assembly. He was replaced by Matthew Seiyefa, from Bayelsa State, the most senior director at the DSS. Mr. Seiyefa appeared, at least from media reports, to be doing a good job at his new post, clearing a backlog of unpaid allowances and repositioning the institution in accordance with equity, fairness and respect for the rule of law.

Senate President Saraki is one of the most high profile politicians who has left Buhari's camp

Senate President Saraki is one of the most high profile politicians who has left Buhari’s camp

For someone who had been assailed for his manifest nepotism and utter disregard for the country’s diversity, it was expected that the president would allow the appointment to stand. Not President Buhari. A month later, the president, predictably, had to recall “one of his own”, Yusuf Magaji Bichi, from retirement, to replace the acting president’s appointee.

It is an understatement to say President Buhari is stuck in the past. But if that alone was the problem, then it wouldn’t matter. The president has no notion of nationhood. He certainly needs a lot of lesson in running a modern, diverse and multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria. Unfortunately, it is too late.

The beauty of democracy—if we follow its tenets—is the prospect of peaceful and periodic transfer of political power. As a nation, let’s not be afraid to take our chances, to try something different. It may not always work out, but it deepens our sense of understanding and purpose.

We took our chance with Mr. Buhari in 2015 and it has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster. Now is the time to move on.

Onumah is the author of We Are All Biafrans: A Participant-Observer’s Interventions in Country Sleepwalking to Disaster.

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Africa Investment Forum: All Set to Tilt the Tide of Investments into Africa
November 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Forum to advance projects to bankable stages, raise capital, and accelerate financial closure of deals
Adesina

Adesina

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 5, 2018/ — The Africa Investment Forum kicked off on Monday with a media briefing in the South African capital. The game changing event, aimed at attracting multi-billion-dollar deals across the continent, is set to usher in a new era for Africa’s investment landscape.

Regional and global investors and institutional investors, private sector leaders, prominent government officials, and representatives of State are converging in South Africa, for what is billed as an unprecedented gathering to mobilize and crowd in global investment capital for the continent’s ambitious development agenda.

Dubbed by the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina as the “collective deal of the century for investment in and the development of Africa,” the forum will focus on advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital and accelerating the financial closure of deals.

“This is the beginning of a new conversation, a new way of doing things,” Victor Oladokun, the African Development Bank Director of Communications told reporters, a day before the Forum, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

South African Deputy Director of the National Treasury Vuyelwa Vumendlini said the Africa Investment Forum provides a continental complement to the country’s recent investment forum which successfully attracted more than 200 billion Rand in investments.

The Government of South Africa, the African Development Bank and several multi-lateral development partners are hosting the Forum expected to become a key springboard for investment and an annual event.

Global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank, Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, have come together to form solid strategic alliances around this new venture.

The Africa Investment Forum, is a unique platform where already curated projects, advanced and de-risked and are brought in front of investors. This innovative partnership of key global and continental players will focus on transactions and deals, Oladokun said.

Between US $130-170 billion a year is needed to finance infrastructure for Africa’s growing population, according to the African Development Bank’s Economic Outlook 2018. While global assets under management amount to an estimated US$131 trillion dollars, most of that is not invested in Africa; even one percent of that could provide the investment gap Africa needs.

“There is an urgent need to close the gap and for that to happen ‘it has to be business unusual. This is the first and biggest African investment market place, nothing like this has even been done before,” Oladokun, told reporters.

Guateng Province officials and government representatives in attendance included Muzi Mathema, of Guateng Growth and Development Agency, Ms Vuli Vumendlini, Deputy Director of the Nationa Treasury and Ayanda Holo, Director of Media engagement for the South African government. African Development Bank Executive Director Mmakgoshi Lekhethe was also in attendance.

Ronnie Ntuli, Executive Chairman Thelo, described the Forum as “a unique opportunity for Africans to partner with global capacity and the private sector. “It is an investor market…where all these partners converge to take advantage of tremendous opportunities,” he said.

Africa Investment Forum moving Africa’s investment agenda forward

African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, presenting excellent investment opportunities with relatively high returns, but the challenge of positioning themselves for consideration in front of institutional investors and global corporates remains.

The Forum has curated a total pipeline of 230 projects worth over US$208 billion spanning several sectors – energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation and health and education.

Twenty-eight boardroom sessions will curate, screen and ensure the projects are bankable and reach financial close. A total of 61 deals estimated at more than US$40 billion will feature in Boardroom Sessions, while another US$28 billion worth of deals will be showcased to investors at a marketplace Gallery Walk.

The Forum also includes a co-guarantee platform that will develop and deploy innovative instruments to de-risk private sector investments at scale, thus boosting investor confidence.

Discussions will focus on specific projects, sectors, investors, and themes. Others will have country or regional focus. Co-financing and collaborations between investors will also be a key focus area at this event.

The inaugural Africa Investment Forum will feature a session on Championing Investments− an investment conversation with African Heads of State to highlight concrete and transformative actions for a new business landscape in Africa, including collective efforts to facilitate private investments.

The Africa Investment Forum takes place from November 7 to 9, 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

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The Government of Rwanda and Alibaba Group Enter into Agreements to Promote Rwanda’s Economic Development
November 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Kigali Rwanda Nov 3 2018 The first electronic world trade platform (eWTP) hub in Africa was launched in Rwanda; Key initiatives include assisting Rwandan small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sell to Chinese consumers, promoting Rwandan tourism and providing capacity building to empower Rwanda’s digital economy
Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Jack Ma, Alibaba Group, Executive Chairman during the official launch of the Electronic World Trade Platform in Kigali

Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and Jack Ma, Alibaba Group, Executive Chairman during the official launch of the Electronic World Trade Platform in Kigali

KIGALI, Rwanda, November 3, 2018/ — Today, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Alibaba Group (www.AlibabaGroup.com) Executive Chairman Jack Ma witnessed the signing of three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) between the Rwandan Government and Alibaba establishing an eWTP (electronic world trade platform) hub in Rwanda. The agreements are intended to strengthen cooperation in support of Rwanda’s economic development by promoting policy innovation, enabling cross-border trade of Rwandan products to Chinese consumers, facilitating tourism to Rwanda, and providing capacity building to empower the growth of Rwanda’s digital economy.

As a regional pioneer with a vision to create world class digital infrastructure, Rwanda becomes the first country in Africa to establish an eWTP hub. The eWTP is a multi-stakeholder global initiative promoting public-private dialogue to foster a more effective and efficient policy and business environment to enable small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to participate in cross-border electronic trade.

“The Electronic World Trade Platform opens up new frontiers in e-commerce and tourism for Rwanda, and will also boost the capacity and competitiveness of our entrepreneurs and businesspeople,” said President Paul Kagame. “Rwandan producers will be able to sell directly to a much larger set of customers than before, while bypassing costly intermediaries. This improves productivity and profitability. There really are no downsides to doing business on a global scale.”

“I am delighted that Rwanda is the first eWTP partner in Africa, and I look forward to the development of an innovative digital economy here,” said Mr. Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group.  “Entrepreneurs in Rwanda, and elsewhere in Africa, are ready to seize the opportunities offered by the digital economy. It is up to all of us to help them succeed.”

Under the agreements, Alibaba will work with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to help Rwandan SMEs sell their products, including coffee and handicrafts, to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s online marketplaces. With more than half a billion consumers, Alibaba is the world’s largest online commerce company and home to leading cross-border marketplaces where Chinese consumers look to find the highest quality products from around the world. Several brands of Rwandan single origin coffee are already available for sale on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform.

Alibaba’s travel services platform, Fliggy, and the RDB will also work together to promote Rwanda as a tourist destination through a Rwanda Tourism Store for booking flights, hotels and travel experiences and a Destination Pavilion where Chinese consumers can learn about visiting the country, including its beautiful natural parks, through engaging video content. Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial will share expertise in inclusive financial tools, such as mobile payments, to support the Rwandan digital economy.

“The partnership between Rwanda and Alibaba will change people’s lives for the better. We are committed to leveraging the digital economy to support our exporters, local producers and artisans. We have already seen tremendous attention from Chinese consumers on Alibaba’s platforms in high-quality Rwandan products such as our top-tier single estate coffee, and we are confident that local products and travel experiences will continue to receive interest and support from the more than half a billion consumers on Alibaba’s platforms,” said RDB Chief Executive Officer, Clare Akamanzi.

Alibaba is also committed to providing capacity building to academics, policy makers and entrepreneurs on how to grow a digital economy. The Global E-commerce Talent Program (GET) is a five-day course to boost the competencies of Rwandan university teachers and deepen their understanding of the e-commerce industry, so they can train digital talent and future entrepreneurs to compete in the global economy. Fifty lecturers from Rwanda’s top universities attended the first GET program in August organized by Alibaba Business School in partnership with the Ministry of Education’s Higher Education Council and the RDB.

For policy makers, Alibaba will host a three-day workshop at its Hangzhou headquarters to showcase the nature, capabilities and promise of a new digital economy through first-hand experience with digital finance, logistics, e-commerce and big data industries. A delegation of Ministers and government officials responsible for the development of Rwanda’s digital economy will attend a workshop in Hangzhou in January 2019.

Alibaba will also continue to support Rwandan entrepreneurs through programs such as the eFounders Fellowship. In partnership with UNCTAD, Alibaba is training 1,000 entrepreneurs from emerging markets over five years. Two hundred of those entrepreneurs will come from Africa. Five Rwandan entrepreneurs have already graduated from the eFounders Fellowship program.

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