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African Development Fund approves close to $35 million to the Government of Liberia for renewable energy
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

The ceremony was attended by officials from government, the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), the National Investment Commission (NIC), development partners and other stakeholders
MONROVIA, Liberia, February 4, 2020/ — The African Development Fund has approved a $34.74 million grant and loan to boost renewable energy access and promote an attractive investment climate in Liberia.

At a signing ceremony on 29 January in Monrovia, Dr. Orison Amu, the African Development Bank’s (AfDB.org) Country Manager in Liberia, and Samuel Tweah Jr., Liberia’s Minister of Finance & Development Planning, inked financing agreements for two projects. The ceremony was attended by officials from government, the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), the National Investment Commission (NIC), development partners and other stakeholders.

Under the first project, the Renewable Energy for Electrification in Liberia, more than $33 million, primarily in the form of a grant from the Bank and the Strategic Climate Fund’s Scaling-up Renewable Energy program, is to support renewable energy sector growth.

The funds will go towards construction of a mini dam on the St. John River in Nimba County in northeastern Liberia and the development of the Gbedin hydropower Falls with a total capacity of 9.34 megawatts of power, to be transmitted through an 8 km, 33kV line connecting 7,000 households.

The system would allow for grid expansion to isolated communities and support the connection of schools, health centers, businesses and industries to the national grid, increasing the rural electrification rate in Liberia.

Minister Samuel Tweah Jr. said the project, scheduled for completion by 2024, would help unlock one of the main constraints to economic development — access to a reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of electricity.

The second project – Support to Investment Promotion Agencies in Transition Countries – received approval for an additional $1 million to assist in promoting business investment in Liberia and building the capacity of the National Investment Commission. The funds will come from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility.

“As a Bank we understand the challenges faced by Government and the efforts underway to attract Foreign Direct Investment,” said Amu. “This project aims at contributing to those ongoing efforts by (the Liberian) government.”

As of January 2020, the Fund has 16 on-going and recently approved operations in Liberia with a total commitment of $413 million. The active portfolio spreads over six sectors covering infrastructure, predominantly roads, and energy. With this new signing, energy now accounts for 26% of the Fund’s total commitments in Liberia.
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Nominations open for African Youth Leadership Award 2020
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Global Youth Network an international non-profit, non-governmental youth development organization has announced opening of nominations for its 2020 edition of the African Youth Leadership award.

The initiative is intended to recognize innovative change makers from around the world. It will acknowledge, encourage, celebrate and authenticate the success and vitality of some astute young leaders by  giving them  the  opportunity  to gain  valuable exposure and well-deserved recognition for  their  national  and  global  ambitions and excellence.

Many outstanding young Africans continue to show resilience and are dedicated to solving global issues through local community action. They take an active role in their community whilst embodying the values of being responsible global citizens of the world to make our planet more equal, fair and sustainable.

The African Youth Leadership Award, one of its flagship programs is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in driving issues in support of action to protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

Nomination are being drawn from young influencers across Africa in areas of leadership, business, activism, innovation among others.

Categories

  1. Student Leader Award
  2. Outstanding Youth Organisation
  3. Youth Gathering / Event
  4. Young Entrepreneur Award
  5. Humanitarian Award
  6. Leadership in Mentorship Award
  7. Women in Leadership Award
  8. Youth Leader in Governance and Politics
  9. Emerging Leader Award
  10. Innovator Award.
  11. SDG Advocacy
  12. Climate Change & Environmental Sustainability
  13. Education and Learning
  14. Health and Well-being
  15. Gender and Diversity 
  16.  

Nominations can be made via globalyouthnet.org


Nomination link https://globalyouthnet.org/awards/

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Libya Is Being Torn Apart by Outsiders
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Vijay Prashad*

Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salame with Libyan Army Commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.Photo credit Libya Live
Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Ghassan Salame with Libyan Army Commander Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.Photo credit Libya Live

Ghassan Salamé is the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya. He took over this job in 2017, six years after the catastrophic NATO war on Libya. What Salamé inherited was a country torn into shreds, two governments in place—one in Tripoli and one in Tobruk—and one civil war that had too many factions to name. For Salamé, who is from Lebanon, this kind of multidimensional conflict is not unfamiliar; nor is it peculiar to have several foreign countries intervene for their own narrow ends and thereby make peace impossible.

Last year, it became clear that the already chaotic Libya would slip into disaster. The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) lost control of the eastern half of the country, which had been seized by the Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar. Backed by Turkey and Qatar, the GNA held on by a hair, while the LNA—backed by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt—swept through the south of the country and threatened the capital of Tripoli. Salamé came to the United Nations on May 21, 2019, to beg for the UN to sanction countries that continued to deliver arms into Libya. “Without a robust enforcement mechanism, the arms embargo into Libya will become a cynical joke,” he said. “Some nations are fueling this bloody conflict.”

No one paid heed.

This year, on January 30, Salamé spoke to the UN to repeat his very strong remarks. “There are unscrupulous actors inside and outside Libya who cynically nod and wink towards efforts to promote peace and piously affirm their support for the UN,” he said. “Meanwhile, they continue to double down on a military solution, raising the frightening specter of a full-scale conflict and further misery for the Libyan people, more refugees, the creation of a security vacuum, and further interruptions to global energy supplies.”

All this has already happened. Salamé did not name who was arming whom, but everything is obvious. At the January 19 Berlin summit, the main countries who have a stake in Libya pledged to stop arms deliveries. But then, everything seemed to escalate. Turkish ships arrived in Libya with arms and men for the GNA. The Gabya or G-Class frigates—named Göksü and Gökova—of the Turkish navy came in broad daylight; Turkish tanks rolled into the streets of Tripoli. The number two man in Turkish intelligence—Sadık Üstün—has taken over Turkish operations in Libya.

Meanwhile, French intelligence—who appears to be backing the GNA—leaked information that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed sent his own private Antonov An-124 to rearm Khalifa Haftar’s LNA. Emirati and Saudi support has increased, say Libyan government sources. French intelligence also says that Haftar has put in an order for Jordanian drones.

No wonder Salamé is frustrated.

5+5

During the Berlin summit, one concern was that no ceasefire could hold unless the two sides—the LNA and the GNA—would form a military commission. On February 3, in Geneva, the delayed 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission had its first meeting. Five senior officers from the GNA army and five senior officers of the LNA met with Salamé. Just a few days ago, Salamé went personally to al-Rajma to meet with Khalifa Haftar at his headquarters; a consequence of this meeting was that Haftar sent his five officers to Geneva.

This Geneva meeting is significant even amid the desolation because it is the first time such a senior-level meeting is being held since a meeting in Cairo in October 2018. That earlier meeting was a hallucination: the LNA’s team left the meeting to announce that from now on only the LNA would be Libya’s army, the militias—the backbone of the GNA support—would be disbanded, and the rump GNA forces would merge with the LNA. The talks broke down, began again, and then broke off. Egypt, which has supported Haftar since 2014, is being egged on by the Saudis and the Emiratis to subordinate the Muslim Brotherhood politicians in Tripoli. Nothing was going to come out of the Cairo process.

Nothing will come out of Geneva. Haftar says that the Libyan Political Agreement, which was signed in December 2015, expired in December 2017. He does not, therefore, accept the GNA’s Fayez Serraj as the head of the military. This means that they will remain at loggerheads. Neither will bend to the authority of the other.

Both Sides

It’s hard to say if the West is actually behind the GNA government in Tripoli. France has said that it supports the UN process, but then in April last year the French government prevented the European Union from condemning Haftar’s dash toward Tripoli. France’s oil holdings in eastern Libya have made it play both sides in the conflict (a Libyan military officer in the GNA tells me that France is assisting both the LNA and the GNA).

On the surface, the U.S. government has backed the UN process and agrees that the GNA government in Tripoli is the official Libyan government. The U.S. was ready to join a UN resolution condemning Haftar’s war in April, when U.S. President Donald Trump spoke to Egypt’s president and the UAE crown prince—both of whom convinced him that Haftar is a bulwark against terrorism. Trump then called Haftar and congratulated him for his “significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources.” They discussed—as the White House put it—their “shared vision for Libya’s transition.”

It is impossible for the UN to move an agenda if two important Western states who drove the NATO war against Libya in 2011 end up backing both sides; in fact, it is wrong to say that they back both sides, because by blocking condemnation of Haftar’s war, they back Haftar.

Neighbors

Before NATO began to bomb Libya in 2011, an African Union (AU) delegation sat on an aircraft in Addis Ababa, prepared to go to Tripoli and start negotiations to end the conflict there. But the French informed the AU that any peace mission was out of the question. French aircraft were on their way to bomb Tripoli. The AU and Libya lost their opportunity for another road. The NATO bombardment put paid to that, destroyed the country’s remaining institutions, and left it to slink into civil war.

Ten days after the Berlin meeting, the AU met in Brazzaville for a high-level meeting on Libya. The AU had not been initially invited to Berlin, but at the last minute, President Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo-Brazzaville was invited, but he had no real role there.

Pressure on the AU has not come from within Libya but from some of its neighbors. These neighbors—Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger—have suffered from the spillover of this war, with al-Qaeda and ISIS growing in strength from southern Libya into these countries. Estimates suggest that more than 4,000 people were killed by these groups in the past year. The Sahel has become a membrane for arms, drugs, terrorists, and migrants—a zone of instability and danger.

The AU could not move an agenda. But at the AU meeting, the Algerians said that they would host a platform to continue to pressure for peace in Libya. Algeria and Tunisia are trying to develop their own outreach to the Libyan sides. Leaders from Turkey, Italy, and the various Libyan groups have come to Algiers to meet the new president, Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Tebboune likes the attention; protests in Algeria can be quelled by the warning that it should not be allowed to slip into the Libyan state. The more he talks about Libya, the more he justifies his own rule.

Head of the Libyan GNA Fayez al-Sarraj (L) and commander of the LNA Khalifa Haftar. (AFP)
Head of the Libyan GNA Fayez al-Sarraj (L) and commander of the LNA Khalifa Haftar. (AFP)

Tebboune’s view is to ignore Serraj and Haftar, to ignore the UN and the AU, and to turn to older institutions. He wants to convene a conference of Libyan tribal chiefs in Algiers. It is a sign of hopelessness that such a bizarre idea can be floated and taken seriously.

*This article was produced by Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He is a writing fellow and chief correspondent at Globetrotter, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He is the chief editor of LeftWord Books and the director of Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He has written more than twenty books, including The Darker Nations: A People’s History of the Third World (The New Press, 2007), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (Verso, 2013), The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016) and Red Star Over the Third World (LeftWord, 2017). He writes regularly for Frontline, the Hindu, Newsclick, AlterNet and BirGün.

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Togo’s Breaking Ground on West Africa’s Largest Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Project Sets it on a Path Towards Energy Transition
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Moyamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex is West Africa’s largest ongoing solar PV project

Image credit : AMEA Power -Togo UAE

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, February 4, 2020/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/) addresses its heartfelt congratulations to the Republic of Togo for breaking ground on its 50MW Mohamed Bin Zayed Photovoltaic Solar Power Complex today in Blitta. The project was launched in presence of H.E. Faure E. Gnassingbe, President of the Republic of Togo, and Hussain Al Nowais, Chairman of AMEA Power, the company in charge of designing, financing, building, launching, operating and maintaining the facility.

 The Moyamed Bin Zayed Solar PV Complex is West Africa’s largest ongoing solar PV project, and supports Togo’s ambitions to increase its rural electrification rate to 50% by 2022, and 100% by 2030.

“AMEA Power is a foreign investor who understands Africa and has demonstrated a commitment to supporting local content wherever it operates,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “As public and private sector interest for Africa grows in the Middle East, such players are most welcomed. Their work in and with Africa contributes to the development of a sustainable and prosperous future.”

The project further confirms the growing presence of AMEA Power in the continent. The UAE-based company has become a serious investor in Africa’s energy sector and represents the growing appetite of private players and investors from the Middle East to invest in Africa. At the end of 2019, Saudi Arabia-based ACWA Power signed two long-term power purchase agreements for 250MW of solar PV projects in Ethiopia, while state-owned ADNOC is reportedly looking at several investments into the African upstream oil & gas sector.

*Africa Energy Chamber

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Gambia China exchange ideas in Combating Coronavirus
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

Chinese Ambassador in Gambia with Gambia Foreign Minister Dr Tangara

By Bakary Ceesay

Ambassador Ma Jianchun exchanged views on jointly containing the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) with Hon. Mamadou Tangara

On 3 February 2020, Ambassador Ma Jianchun met with Hon. Mamadou Tangara, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad, and exchanged views on further strengthening bilateral cooperation in preventing and controlling the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus, also known as the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Ambassador Ma briefed Hon. Tangara on the latest development of the epidemic and the measures taken by the Chinese side. He said that since the pneumonia outbreak, the Chinese government had taken the most comprehensive and rigorous prevention and control measures with a strong sense of responsibility for people’s health.

The safety and health of the Gambian nationals in China are of equal importance as the Chinese people, which has been well taken care of. As a responsible country for the international society, China has also taken many measures to prevent the outbreak from spreading abroad, many of which go way beyond the requirements of the WHO.

The declaration of the epidemic as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by WHO was a technical decision in accordance with the International Health Regulations and made within its responsibilities.

Ambassador Ma emphasized that as more medical resources being mobilized and transported to the epicenter of the outbreak, we are not far from winning the battle against the outbreak.

Hon. Tangara appreciated China for taking decisive and scientific measures in containing the pneumonia outbreak and ensuring safety of Gambian nationals in China especially those in the epicenter of the outbreak.

He said that the Gambian side has full confidence in China’s ability in winning the battle against the outbreak, and the Gambian people are always in solidarity with the friendly Chinese people.

He further pointed out that the Gambian side will continue to refrain from imposing unnecessary travel or trade restriction on the Chinese people.

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Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala named the next Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

CAMBRIDGE, MA—Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister of Nigeria and former managing director of the World Bank, has been named the next Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School. The announcement was made today by Harvard Kennedy School Dean Douglas Elmendorf. Okonjo-Iweala begins her fellowship this month.

“Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will bring to the Kennedy School a wealth of practical experience and insights into the development challenges and achievements in Africa and across the developing world,” Elmendorf said. “As the longest-serving finance minister in Nigeria and a leader at the World Bank for more than two decades, she engineered successful new approaches to fostering sustained and inclusive growth in developing countries. She will enrich our campus conversation on the public policy choices needed for effective governance that serves societies.”

In October 2019, Okonjo-Iweala delivered the Robert S. McNamara Lecture on War and Peacein the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum at the Kennedy School. “I am honored to be able to return to the Kennedy School as the Angelopoulos Fellow, and to work with students and faculty who are wrestling every day with the world’s most complex development problems,” she said.

Okonjo-Iweala was the longest-serving finance minister in her native Nigeria and the first woman to hold that position. She was also the first female foreign minister. Okonjo-Iweala drove systemic financial reforms and strengthened fiscal transparency to fight corruption, tripling the country’s growth rate. She also negotiated a $30 billion reduction in Nigeria’s external debt. In her 25-year career at the World Bank, she rose to the No. 2 position of managing director of operations and oversaw the development portfolio for South Asia, Africa, Europe, and Central Asia.

A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University (1976), Okonjo-Iweala earned her doctorate from MIT and has been awarded 15 honorary degrees. She was recognized as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine for four years in a row, and by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2019. Currently, Okonjo-Iweala is chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which has immunized 760 million children in the developing world against infectious diseases. She is also co-chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

The Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Program was established with support from Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki, president of the Athens 2004 Olympics, former ambassador of Greece, lawyer, and recently appointed committee chair of “Greece 2021.” The program provides opportunities for high-profile public leaders who are transitioning from office or other leadership roles to spend time in residence at Harvard Kennedy School reflecting, teaching, learning, and conducting research. During her time at the Kennedy School, Okonjo-Iweala will meet with students and scholars as well as lecture, write, and participate in public discussions and forums.

Okonjo-Iweala becomes the fifth Angelopoulos Global Public Leaders Fellow since the program’s inception in 2011. Previous fellows are Juan Manuel Santos, former president of Colombia; Ban Ki-moon, former secretary-general of the United Nations; Tarja Halonen, former president of Finland; and Felipe Calderon, former president of Mexico.

*Source Harvard Kennedy School

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Malawi: Just 150 days for a fresh poll after court order
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By James Mwala

Back to the starting blocks for President Peter Mutharika (right),  Lazarus Chakwera (left), and Saulos Chilima (centre) .Photo credit AFP
Back to the starting blocks for President Peter Mutharika (right), Lazarus Chakwera (left), and Saulos Chilima (centre) .Photo credit AFP

People in the Southern African nation have just 150 days including weekends and holidays to vote in a yet another presidential poll, a Constitutional Court has ordered.

The ruling puts to bed a court case that has stood since August last year in which the UTM and Malawi Congress Party petitioned the court to nullify the May 2019 elections.

The petitioners brought their case which hovered around irregularities in the elections in which Peter Mutharika was declared winner. 

Heightening the petition was the mismanagement of the results.
In its ruling, the five panel judge said they found the Malawi Electoral Commission – the second respondent in the case at fault for failing to audit results, manage the critical stages of the elections and ignoring complaints from contesting parties.

In reading his ruling lead judge Healey Potani argued that the said irregularities undermined the whole essence of a free and fair election.

Potani described as unethical and unprofessional the manner in which MEC oversaw the elections.
He was also quick to say that the judges found that MEC had left a negative precedence on election management.

They then ordered a fresh election in 150 days and ordered MEC to pay the costs to the petitioners before they said the status of presidency reverts to the one before the 2019 poll in which Saulos Chilima was Vice President.

The judges have also called for the need to Malawi to adopt the 50+1 electoral law in which a winner must have a more percentage above 50.

Peter Mutharika who was the first respondent in the case was declared winner with 38%.Opposition party followers have since been in the streets celebrating the landmark ruling. 

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Provide young people with new skills to meet the needs of a 21st century labor market, African Development Bank report urges
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

According to the report two-thirds of Africa’s youth are either overeducated or undereducated

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, February 3, 2020/ — “Youth must be prepared for the jobs of the future – not the jobs of the past,” African Development Bank (https://www.AfDB.org/) President Akinwumi Adesina said on Thursday at the launch of the Bank’s flagship African Economic Outlook (https://bit.ly/2ShnTnI)

“Given the fast pace of change, driven by the 4th industrial revolution – from artificial intelligence to robotics, machine learning, quantum computing – Africa must invest more in re-directing and re-skilling its labor force, and especially the youth, to effectively participate,” the Bank president said.

The African Economic Outlook is an annual report that provides updates and forecasts of the continent’s economic performance. The theme of the 2020 report is Developing Africa’s ‘Workforce for the Future.’

According to the report two-thirds of Africa’s youth are either overeducated or undereducated. The undereducated share (nearly 55 percent) is considerably higher than in other regions (36 percent). 

With 12 million graduates entering the labor market each year and only 3 million of them getting jobs, youth unemployment is rising annually. Youth unemployment must therefore be given top priority, participants heard.

The 2020 African Economic Outlook indicates that skill and education mismatches affect youth labor productivity indirectly through wages, job satisfaction, and job searching. Overeducated African youth earn, on average, 18 percent less than youth with the same level of education who work in jobs that match their education.

Also, youth who believe they are overskilled for jobs are 3.4 percent less likely to be satisfied with current jobs, and as a consequence may be less productive.

The report contains several recommendations for reversing negative trends and creating productive and adequate workforces. These include designing national strategies for education and skills development that include young people, school dropouts, workers in the informal economy, and in economically and socially disadvantaged groups.

Hanan Morsy, the Bank’s Director of Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research, said the fourth industrial revolution offers challenges and opportunities for developing education and accelerating skills acquisition in Africa.

“African countries can achieve universal primary enrollment by just improving the efficiency of education spending. Investing in education and infrastructure offers a greater growth payoff than investing exclusively in either,” Morsy said.

The African Development Bank is addressing Africa’s skills gap through its support to scientific centers of excellence, such as the African University of Science and Technology.

The Bank has also invested in the Kigali Institute for Science and Technology, which provides world-class training in ICT at the Master’s level in collaboration with the Carnegie Mellon University.

Training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is critical to overcoming the continent’s “mountain of youth unemployment,” Adesina said.

Click here to access the full report.
*AFDB
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“Nobody eats GDP” says African Development Bank President as he calls for inclusive growth
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments
“Nobody eats GDP” says African Development Bank President as he calls for inclusive growth
The 2020 African Economic Outlook (AEO) showed that the continent’s economies are growing well



ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, February 3, 2020/ — Africa’s economies are growing strongly, but growth alone cannot meet the needs of the continent’s poorest citizens, because “nobody eats GDP,” the African Development Bank’s (AfDB.org) President, Akinwumi Adesina, said as he unveiled the Bank’s flagship economic report on Thursday.

The 2020 African Economic Outlook (AEO) (http://bit.ly/2vABQFU) showed that the continent’s economies are growing well, higher than the global average. The report projected a steady rise in growth in Africa from 3.4% in 2019 to 3.9% in 2020 and 4.1% in 2021.

According to the report, these figures do not tell the whole story. Across the continent, the poor are not seeing enough of the benefits of robust growth. Relatively few African countries posted significant declines in extreme poverty and inequality, which remain higher than in other regions of the world.

Inclusive growth occurred in only 18 of 48 African countries with data, the report revealed.

According to Adesina “Growth must be visible. Growth must be equitable. Growth must be felt in the lives of people.”

The theme of the 2020 Africa Economic Outlook report, Developing Africa’s workforce for the future, calls for swift action to address human capital development in African countries, where inclusive growth has been held back by a mismatch between young workers’ skills and the needs of employers.

The Bank’s flagship report states that increased investments in education is key as well as progressive universalism in education spending—setting high priorities for the poor and disadvantaged and focusing on basic education first where social returns are highest. Its recommendations include improving access to education in remote areas, incentives such as free uniforms and text books, banning child labour and improving teaching standards.

To better match skills with job opportunities, the report recommends that governments need to develop a demand-driven education system in tune with rapidly emerging jobs in the private sector, including software engineers, marketing specialists and data analysts, the report says.

“Africa is blessed with resources, but its future lies in its people…education is the great equaliser. Only by developing our workforce will we make a dent in poverty, close the income gap between rich and poor, and adopt new technologies to create jobs in knowledge-intensive sectors,” said Hanan Morsy, Director of the Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department at the Bank.

*AFDB
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Rwanda and Uganda agree to release illegally detained citizens
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

From left, President Museveni of Uganda, president João Lourenço of Angola, president Kagame of Rwanda and president Félix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rwanda and Uganda have agreed to release imprisoned citizens of each other, a question that had marred  relations of both countries since 2017.

Both countries came to the agreement this Sunday, the 2nd February 2020  in the quadripartite summit held in Luanda Angola, on mediation of president João Lourenço and Félix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo.

In an issued communique released after summit, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Museveni of Rwanda agreed  “release of the national citizens of each country duly identified and included in the lists exchanged for this purpose.”

Though the communique sums up all in general, only Rwanda had been complaining of its citizens being illegally arrested, detained and tortured by Uganda security forces.

In March last year, Rwanda was counting hundreds who were  in Uganda’s prisons and safe houses.

Rwanda also alleges Uganda of supporting groups  aimed at destabilizing Rwanda while Uganda accuses Rwanda of sending spies on its territory.

Luanda summit resolved that “Both parties must refrain from factors that may create perception of supporting, financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces in their neighbor’s territory.”

“Both parties must continue to protect and respect the human rights of national citizens of the other party”, it adds

Rwanda and Uganda’s impasse has hurt economy especially in terms of business. The busy border of Gatuna in north of Rwanda was closed and movement of goods and people reduced.

It was the easiest way for goods coming from Mombasa port in Kenya through Kampala to Kigali.

Last week president Kagame told diplomats in Kigali that Uganda begged him to open the border and he refused because he is yet to be sure that Rwandans are safe in Uganda.

Luanda summit decided that  the next quadripartite summit will take place in Gatuna in the common border between Rwanda and Uganda and it is slated  on the 21st February 2020.

Since March this year, Rwanda had advised its nationals to avoid crossing to Uganda, over ill treatment they may get if they enter.

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in August last year  signed memorandum of understanding to end years of hostilities between the two countries.

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7th edition of Common sense Solution to promote Peace in Cameroon comes up February 7
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The common sense solution to promote peace in Cameroon was in its sixth edition in Bamenda with similar events organized in Dschang, Yaounde, Douala, Limbe, and Buea. (1)
The common sense solution to promote peace in Cameroon was in its sixth edition in Bamenda with similar events organized in Dschang, Yaounde, Douala, Limbe, and Buea.

The 7th edition of the peace event organize by the Nkafu Policy Institute will come up this February 7, 2020, in Douala, Littoral Region of the country. The event will be held under the theme, “Common sense solutions to promote peace in Cameroon- The role of youths, and the civil society.

The peace event like similar ones organized in Yaounde, Douala, Dschang, Limbe, Buea, and Bamenda.

The event will bring together people of various backgrounds to seek to propose citizen oriented solutions through which Cameroon can accelerate its progress towards the resolution of the current conflicts plaguing the country.

Cameroon is presently grappling with numerous issues such as the refugee crisis in the country’s East region, the Boko Haram insurgency in the country’s North, the Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West Regions.

For the past three years the Cameroon’s defense and security forces have been fighting separatist fighters in the North West and South west Regions. The crisis has led to many killed, maimed, kidnapped for ransom, while others have become refugees or internally displaced persons.

The crisis has equally had a devastating impact on workers of the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC — the second most employer in the country. Many have lost their jobs, and others have gone for years now without salaries.  The 3,715 hectares of banana plantation of the CDC, which employs about 7,000 people in the banana industry has been abandoned.

Several businesses have been closed down in the Anglophone regions, industries burnt, local, and foreign investors have deserted these regions.

During the last event organized in Bamenda on December 19, 2019, Cameroonians said the government should dialogue with the leaders of this movement (Separatist leaders) to solve the crisis.

They equally noted that the government cannot seek to solve a crisis which they are still shying away from it, not accepting there is a crisis in the Regions, and deciding to implement cosmetic changes which only going to rub salt on the present injury.

They note that a genuine, well sought out dialogue measures backed by international bodies such as the UN, USA, France, Britain, can be the only way out of this present impasse ongoing in the region that has led to many losing their lives.

The conflict has severely hurt the timber, agro-industry, cocoa, energy, telecommunications, tourism, and transport sectors

According to the United Nations, as of November 2019, more than 2,000 people have died, as many as 71 0,000 people have been internally displaced, and 44,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Nigeria due to the ongoing conflict in the Northwest and Southwest. Roughly 2.6 million people in these areas are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 855,000 children, the majority of whom are internally displaced, do not have access to education.

The Cameroon Anglophone crisis has led to thousands of displaced persons, kidnapped, and others killed
The Cameroon Anglophone crisis has led to thousands of displaced persons, kidnapped, and others killed

During the event, major topics will be looked at such as the Refugee crisis in the East Region of Cameroon, the Anglophone crisis in the North West and South West Regions, and the role of the Youths and Civil Society Organization in the promotion of peace in Cameroon.

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Cameroon: Opportunities are not given to startups that have nothing -Entrepreneurs say
February 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The event focused on examining governmental support to entrepreneurs in Cameroon, access to finance, tax registration requirements and declaration procedures for SMEs in Cameroon
The event focused on examining governmental support to entrepreneurs in Cameroon, access to finance, tax registration requirements and declaration procedures for SMEs in Cameroon

Entrepreneurs have said they face difficulties accessing finance as financial institutions require bankable projects or collateral to finance projects. As such, opportunities are not afforded to startups that have nothing.

The entrepreneurs were speaking during the 2020 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Networking Forum organized by the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation at ActivSpaces, Immeuble Tecno, Boulevard de la Liberte Akwa, in Douala.

The forum organized with support from the Canadian Funds for Local Initiatives had as theme “The Pivotal Role of Business Networking to Entrepreneurs in Cameroon” and focused on examining governmental support to entrepreneurs in Cameroon, access to finance, tax registration requirements and declaration procedures for SMEs in Cameroon as well as accessibility of business Consultants to Entrepreneurs in Cameroon.

Panelists speaking during the event encouraged participants to implement functional ideas instead of copying from developed countries and forgetting about practicality. Participants also suggested government supports incubation projects in public & private structures to ensure ideas can be transformed to concrete projects.

The panelists equally made known that networking is one of the very important pillars of construction development. It is a consistent effort that brings together entrepreneurs and other agencies to engage in developmental efforts.

“It was actually a wonderful time of exchanges, and we actually spoke much and had to put an accent on the recent regulation and legislation in the finance sector in Cameroon, and the CEMAC Sub Region,” Tataw Kenneth, moderator on the module on access to finance

“We were trying to let our entrepreneurs know how they can raise finance without necessarily depending on banks and microfinance. What I mostly told them was to be able to do startups by gathering funds themselves. They could start with the little they have and then later in they may invest the profit, or they could go partnering; you partner with somebody maybe who has the same idea with you.”

“With the little you have maybe you can make it, or maybe you do investment that is you have the idea, but you can have somebody who has the finance and is ready to partner with the business and make it grow,” Yvonne Ngem, facilitator.

To a participant, “… It was a lucrative programme as opinions were shared on how businesses can grow. Entrepreneurs need to be strong to be able to move ahead as things in Cameroon are done manually. We are looking at avenues where things will be done automatically. We need young entrepreneurs to take things further as we are in a new decade.

Ndikomnui Nigel, Consultant and Tax expert said “many people need to know how to register their taxes, and how to do about it, so they should not get stuck at the level of the declaration procedures. This is a consistent education that needs to be done to educate entrepreneurs.” 

Panelists all left with the wish that the Foretia team keeps organizing such events for entrepreneurs, so they can get information on various aspects discussed. To them, many governmental supports are not well known by the entrepreneurs because there is a lack of communication.

According to the Small Business and entrepreneurship Center (SBEC), entrepreneurial and small business networking has substantially increased in volume during the last years. The interest has been driven both from the entrepreneurial side, where businesses inter-link rapidly and form network configurations and from the policy side, where governments have implemented a variety of policies to encourage economic growth through self-employment and to support small businesses.

Participants and panelists at the conclusion of the 2020 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Networking Forum organized by SBEC
Participants and panelists at the conclusion of the 2020 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Networking Forum organized by SBEC

Entrepreneurial and small business networks usually represent dispersed and varied networks with uncertain boundaries and resource-based or role-based division of labor. They are comprised of autonomous agents that are linked to each other via various formal and informal contracts, who design collective strategies and share information. In addition, create partnerships with government agencies, banks, and Microfinance Institutions to access finance. 

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