Kagame refutes claims that Rwanda spies on dissidents abroad
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is denying claims of his government’s involvement in spying on opposition members who live abroad using a new powerful spyware ‘Pegasus’ that was developed by an Israeli company.
Last month Facebook filed a lawsuit against against an Israeli software company, NSO that is alleged to have hacked phones of political dissidents on behalf of governments.
The most hacked as Financial Times reported, were human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and others.
An investigative story from the Financial Times reported, that “on the list of targeted individuals identified by WhatsApp, a considerable number were from Rwanda.”
Briefing media on this Friday at his office in the capital Kigali, President Paul Kagame admitted that Rwanda does spying, however it never spies what is out of human interests.
“Our country like any country, does intelligence. They even monitor people’s communication…For us to know our enemies and what they do wherever they are, is something we have always tried to do , it is in our rights and it is in the rights of all countries you know all over the world” he said
However Kagame refutes claims that they used Pegasus to monitor communication of dissidents who live abroad.
He said from what he has heard, such technology is expensive and Rwanda cannot afford it.
“I wish I could have access to the technology. But I also know that it is very costly and I know how best to spend my money. I would not spend so much money over nobody or nothing. I would not spend that much I saw the technology cost to run after those of no consequences”, He said
Kagame told journaliste he doesn’t fear those who appeared in the reports, rather he would concentrate his efforts to fight assailants who attacked people in Northern province last month, where they killed civilians wounding others.
“I worry about these fellows who enter through Kinigi (Northern) and kill people. These are the ones I am concerned with” , he added
Financial Times reported that the hack worked by the user receiving a video- or voice-call request from an unknown number on WhatsApp. However, even when the number was ignored it was enough for the call to be used to hack into the user’s phone even without them answering it.
Atiku: They gave him a false sense of hope
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Femi Adesina*
After the Supreme Court threw out the legal challenge by Atiku
Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on the February 2019
presidential poll last week, two things flashed across my mind. One was a song,
the other, a quote from William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which I’d read over 40
First, the song:
The strife is o’er, the battle done,
The victory of life is won,
The song of triumph has begun,
And then Shakespeare, as Macbeth was confronted by Macduff at
the battlefront, and the former realized he had been fooled by the witches who
had predicted that no man born of woman could ever kill him, and that he could
not be defeated in any battle “till Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane.”
Macduff told Macbeth that he had been “untimely ripped” from his mother’s womb, and was not biologically delivered as babies are. The advancing soldiers also bore before them trees they had cut from Birnam Wood, which meant the forest had virtually relocated to Dunsinane. Macbeth, confronted with defeat, had declared:
“And be these juggling fiends no more believed,
That palter with us in a double sense,
That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.”
Macbeth had been fooled, just as it happened to former Vice
President, Atiku Abubakar, who had been hoodwinked into believing that he was
President already, before the February 2019 election.
Who were those that paltered with Atiku in a double sense? Who were the people that lured him into a losing battle? Who were those who told him he was on a giant horse, not knowing that he was riding on a cockroach? Let’s do a checklist.
Olusegun Obasanjo, and his foreign cohorts. The former president
was the one that ruined Atiku Abubakar most, when they fought a bitter battle
as they served together in government. Obasanjo wrote books, granted
interviews, where he poured vitriol on his former deputy. He described him in
words that won’t make you buy Atiku for ten kobo. In fact, he said God should
punish him if he ever supported Atiku for president. And that lasted for about
Suddenly, with just months to the 2019 election, Obasanjo came
singing another tune. He said he had forgiven Atiku, and started calling him
“my President in waiting.” Were Nigerians fools? Can you approbate and
reprobate at the same time? Can you strip a man naked in the marketplace, and
cover him up in the bedroom? The damage would already be done. And so it was
Yes, Obasanjo has some clout, particularly internationally. He
swung into action, trying to mobilize the international community behind his
candidate. Some people followed him, and Atiku thought the deed was done. But
they didn’t reckon with the hurricane called Muhammadu Buhari. The cyclone
force was too strong, and it simply cleared everything in its path. It was a
bitter lesson that the challenger learnt too late.
Obasanjo had always decided who should, and shouldn’t be
President, right from the first time he left power as a military ruler in 1979.
He was instrumental in some ways to the emergence of Shehu Shagari, Umaru
Yar’Adua, and Goodluck Jonathan, as presidents. He also contributed to pulling
them down later with his mouth. By this year, Nigerians were simply tired of
the overbearing attitude of the Otta chicken farmer. They thus refused to buy
the candidate he had earlier rendered toxic, and was selling to them in
Who fooled Atiku again? The Atikulators. And who are they?
People who flocked after the candidate for many reasons, none of them altruistic.
They were those who didn’t like Buhari, either because of ethnicity, language,
religion, or the man’s aversion for corruption. They wanted business as usual,
and it should be anybody but Buhari. So, they followed Atiku, not because they
loved him, but they would have also followed a goat, if they had been told that
the animal could get Buhari out of power. They put their money on the wrong
horse, gambled, and lost.
Before the election, you saw and heard the Atikulators
everywhere, boasting of how they were going to wrest power in the country. They
were all over the place. In offices, marketplaces, churches, mosques, schools,
television, radio, newspapers, almost in all traffic lanes of life. And they
fooled their principal. He backed them up with piles and tons of cash, in major
currencies of the world. To quote President Buhari, “they spent so much
dollars, that the currency became devalued.” For Atiku, anything that money
cannot do is not doable. Money answereth all things. He threw in more and more.
But for the Buharists, it is not about money, not even a bottle of soft drink
or water. It is about conviction. It is about integrity and accountability. It
is about building a new country, devoid of greed and rapacity. So we followed
the Mai Gaskiya (honest man) all the way. Nothing could be articulated against
him. Not possible.
Again, the marabouts, prophets, some pastors and preachers. Yes,
let me group them together, including the witches and wizards. They formed a
confederacy, and said Atiku would win. Who is it that says anything when the
Lord has not spoken? The marabouts collected money handsomely, and pronounced
Atiku king. They did not tell him he would be king on an empty throne. The
preachers, across the major religions, because of personal hatred, and possibly
inducement, gave evil and false messages. They began to proclaim that Atiku was
the messiah, when God had not said so. And the PDP candidate believed them. He
felt there was no way he could ever lose the election. But he didn’t know that
lying tongues were in action. The preachers had become inhabited by lying
spirits, modern day Zedekiahs , who prophesied falsehood (1 Kings 22:11). They
led Atiku to political perdition.
The social media. Populated by people with exaggerated sense of worth,
they think they can do and undo. I call them the vocal minority. If you
followed only the social media before the elections, you would think the All
Progressives Congress (APC) government at the center was gone. They filled the
landscape with so much wailing, till they became wailing wailers. We will do
this, we will do that. Mere shooting of breeze. Superfluity of nothingness.
Arrogant impertinence. The Buhari people simply kept their peace, while online
warriors, most of who had no permanent voters cards (PVCs) continued to fire
A very credible and scientific study had showed before the polls
that social media would account for only between nine and 11 percent of the
ballots. And not all of the votes would go to PDP. The two major parties would
share it. But from the noise online, you thought Atiku had coasted home. He,
too, must have believed the lie. He paid dearly for it with a broken heart.
The coalition that thought they owned the country. They also
fooled Atiku. They include politicians, businessmen, high net-worth people.
They had never failed in anything before. If they showed you a red card, you
were out of the game. God’s judgment, no appeal. Such people massed behind
Atiku. Those who had corruption cases before the courts, those who had lost
power and were forlorn and disconsolate, those who had always profiteered from
the system and who felt that Buhari had closed the sluice gate, they all came
together. Buoyed by Atiku’s promise that he would empower his friends when he
got power, they were already licking their lips. Soon, our snouts would be in
the honeypot again, they told themselves. But those who felt they were
Nigeria’s landlords had long been given quit notices by Buhari, and ejected.
Atiku thought they were still somebody, and learned the hard way. What a pity!
Wrong permutations. That was also Atiku’s downfall. It is an
inexorable truth that it is only the person/party that builds the bigger
coalition wins the Presidency in Nigeria (and almost everywhere else). But
before the election, Atikulators had come with this jejune permutation. They
would sweep the Southeast, the South-south, the North Central, share Northeast
and Northwest, as well as Southwest. And Atiku would coast home. True? Well,
dreams don’t cost anything. The dream eventually became nightmare.
Wrong strategy. It is on good authority that the winning
strategy of the PDP had been based on data hack. That was why they fought tooth
and nail for electronic voting, because they were allegedly in league with
international forces that was adept at manipulation of election results. The
plan was to intercept results as they were transmitted electronically, and
record them for PDP. But it is said that if the abiku has learnt to die in dry
season, the mother too would learn to bury in rainy season. The rest is
Many other forces fooled Atiku that space would not permit one
to mention. People who promised access to the electoral commission’s server,
when none existed in the true sense of the word. Some elements in the
judiciary, who had made false promises. And the lawyers. Yes, we can’t but talk
briefly about them.
Lawyers are professionals. They must ply their art, and make
profit from it. They are learned people, while the rest of us are only
educated. However, morality is everything. Why egg on your client, when you
know he has the most useless case in the world? Nigerians knew Atiku lost the
election. Lawyers too knew it. But man must chop. They encouraged the PDP
candidate to go to court, despite knowing that the prayers were weak and
improbable. Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, said the suit was the
worst he had ever seen in Nigeria’s history of election petitions. But the
lawyers convinced Atiku otherwise. He lost at the Court of Appeal level, but
there was probably more money to be made. So they encouraged a trip to the
Supreme Court. Another ill-fated journey.
Sadly, after the Supreme Court threw out the case, Atiku was not gracious enough to throw up his hands in surrender. He called the judiciary all sorts of names. An opportunity missed to prove that he is not a sore loser and power monger. Where would he go next, World Court? Or as somebody has jocularly said, he may just decide to go to the lawn tennis court.
.*Adesina is Special Adviser to President Buhari on Media and Publicity. Piece is culled from his Facebook page.
Dangote Group, Togo partner to transform Phosphate into Fertiliser
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
|With over two billion tonnes of phosphate reserves, Togo is one of the leading phosphate producers in Africa|
|LOME, Togo, November 8, 2019/ — Dangote Industries Limited (Dangote.com) and the Government of Togo (GoT) have concluded an agreement to develop and transform Togolese phosphate into phosphate fertilizers for the West African sub-region; in a bid to improve consumption of the product in Africa.|
With over two billion tonnes of phosphate reserves, Togo is one of the leading phosphate producers in Africa. By partnering the Dangote Group, the country intends to benefit from the expertise and investment capacity of Africa’s largest industrial group, according to a joint release issued by the Dangote Group and the Communications Department of the Presidency of the Republic of Togo.
With the completion and commissioning of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery and Fertilizer complex in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Dangote Group will be the largest ammonia producer on the African continent, the release noted. Ammonia is an essential ingredient in the transformation of phosphate into fertilizer derived from phosphates. Under the agreement, Togo will provide access to phosphate resources and the Dangote Group will provide access to ammonia and to the Nigerian market.
The project, in line with second pillar of the Togo National Development Plan, should enable the production of more than 1 million tonnes of fertilizers derived from phosphates once completed. The cost of the investment is estimated at about $2 billion and is expected to create several thousand direct jobs. Mining development work will start before the end of 2019, it added.
On this occasion, Dangote Group also announced the establishment of a cement manufacturing plant with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tonnes in Lomé. This plant will use clinker from Togo and Nigeria and will meet both local and neighbouring countries’ demand, the release noted.
It further added that construction of the Lome plant is billed to start in first quarter of 2020 and its commissioning scheduled to take place before the end of 2020. The investment is estimated at $60 million and is expected to create 500 direct jobs.
Togolese President, Faure Gnassingbé said, “The structural transformation of our economy is the main objective we have set ourselves in the context of the 2018-2022 NDP. By processing our phosphate we will not only create jobs but we will also be able to provide our farmers with good quality fertilizers at an affordable cost. Having an industrial investor like Alhaji Dangoté shows that our efforts to improve the business climate are paying off. We intend to continue in this dynamic for the well-being of Togolese men and women.”
President/CE Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote said, ‘’This partnership is in line with our transformation agenda in creating prosperity and enhancing economic development not only in Togo but also in Affrica. In addition, the Dangote Group is determined in supporting the Government of Togo in its industrialisation strategy aimed at creating jobs for its citizens and making Togo an attractive investment destination.’’
The two investment agreements reinforce Togo’s industrialisation strategy adopted under the 2018-2022 National Development Plan.
Pay-as-you-go solar market leader, Greenlight Planet, partners with leading telecom operators in sub-Saharan Africa
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Full-fledged sales and distribution partnerships have been launched with three leading telecom operators, Vodacom (Tanzania), Orange (Burkina Faso) and Telma (Madagascar)|
|NAIROBI, Kenya, November 8, 2019/ — Greenlight Planet (www.GreenlightPlanet.com), the market leader in the rapidly expanding pay-as-you-go (PAYG) solar industry has successfully partnered with major telecom operators in Africa. Recognizing the natural synergy between the telecom and pay-as-you-go solar industries, the company is pursuing a strong telecom-focused strategy that aims to have a far-reaching impact on more than 600 million unelectrified consumers across the African continent.|
The company has collaborated with more than fifteen telecom operators, banks and payment gateways to make Sun King products more affordable and accessible for rural individuals, increasing long-term value for a common consumer base. Full-fledged sales and distribution partnerships have been launched with three leading telecom operators, Vodacom (Tanzania), Orange (Burkina Faso) and Telma (Madagascar), to enable sales of solar-powered energy solutions through each operator’s subscriber base and mobile money channels. In addition, Greenlight Planet has integrated its innovative PAYG technology platform with leading mobile money providers across sub-Saharan Africa, enabling consumers to make continuous installment payments in a secure and simple way. Greenlight Planet establishes unique operating models with each telecom partner to best serve and work with each service provider’s strategic goals, local business model and competitive landscape.
Mr. Dhaval Radia, Senior Vice President at Greenlight Planet, says “The time is right for telecoms to look beyond their traditional revenue earning models and explore innovative partnerships that can lead to a sustained increase in ARPU and customer retention. By expanding to rural consumer segments with value-added services such as PAYG solar products for daily energy and infotainment, telecom operators can help deliver higher value to their customer base.” Recent collaborations between PAYG solar companies and telecom operators have demonstrated that PAYG solar customers are amongst the most active profiles of mobile money users in sub-Saharan Africa, many opening their first mobile money account specifically to purchase a PAYG solar home system.
Ninety-eight percent of Greenlight Planet’s PAYG customers make roughly 60 mobile money payments between $2 and $5 each over a period of twelve to twenty-four months to complete their installment payment plans for a PAYG solar device. The company has processed nearly 40 million mobile money payments from customers in Africa in the last three years.
With more than 100 million mobile money subscribers, and nearly 600 million people that lack reliable access to electricity on the African continent, opportunities for the telecom and distributed energy sectors to join forces remain tremendous. Since inception, Greenlight Planet has installed nearly six million solar products, benefitting over 24 million individuals, across Sub-Saharan Africa through its direct distribution channels in Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda and through more than 200 strategic alliances in 32 countries across the African continent. The company will showcase its flagship Sun King range of solar-powered products at the upcoming AfricaCom conference from 12th to 15th November 2019 in Cape Town.
Greenlight Planet (www.GreenlightPlanet.com) has sold over 12 million Sun King™ solar home energy products to off-grid households around the world. Greenlight Planet reaches remote, off-grid customers through a unique business model involving a vast network of micro-entrepreneurs, more than 300 global strategic distribution partners, and its proprietary EasyBuy (“pay-as-you-go”) installment payment technology that makes safe, high-quality solar energy products affordable for all. Greenlight Planet’s Sun King™ products are currently installed in 65+ countries and serve more than 50 million beneficiaries.
Ecobank fighting against Non-Communicable Diseases in Togo as it marks the 7th Edition of Ecobank Day
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Ecobank is committed to various causes to better address the challenges facing the continent, with the aim of bringing real change to Africa|
|LOME, Togo, November 8, 2019/ — Ecobank (www.Ecobank.com) in collaboration with the World Health Organization in Togo, and the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene through its National Program for the Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), will carry out prevention activities against NCDs this Saturday, November 9th on the 7th Edition of the Ecobank Day.|
Ecobank Day is a day annually in which the Ecobank Group and its employees give back to the communities in the 33 countries where it operates. Ecobank is committed to various causes to better address the challenges facing the continent, with the aim of bringing real change to Africa. Over the next three years, Ecobank has decided to support the awareness and prevention of NCDs, the leading cause of death in the world and in Africa. Some examples of these life threatening NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (e.g. heart attacks or strokes), all cancers, respiratory diseases (e.g. asthma), diabetes, and mental and neurological health conditions (including depression and dementia).
Customers, members of civil society, communities are invited to join Ecobank employees by participating under the theme: “Together for Better Health“. This year, Ecobank is putting special focus on breast and cervical cancer, a public health priority in Togo, which if not avoided, can destroy the bedrock of families.
Ade Ayeyemi, Group GCEO, ETI commented “As our home country, which has in the last 34 years warmly welcomed us, we are committed to making sure that we also continue to give back to the community here. We have recognised the importance of raising awareness on NCDs and the need for this to be long-term and continuous. We will therefore continue to work with the Ministry of Health, international organizations and civil society organizations in our awareness campaign.”
Professor Moustafa Mijiyawa, Minister of Health and Public Hygiene added “NCDs represent the second cause of deaths in Togo. 19% of people in Togo aged 15 years and above suffer from hypertension and 2,6% of this same population live with diabetes. We are pleased to partner with Ecobank to raise awareness on NCDS and support the implementation of the National Development Plan, especially the third strategic axis that focuses on consolidating social development and strengthening mechanisms for inclusion”.
Ecobank is organising a 5 km Walk to support awareness on NCDs. The Ecobank Day Walk will kick-off at the Omnisport Stadium in Lomé and end at same place. Simultaneous free screening against non-communicable diseases will also take place in 3 CMS in Lomé (Nyekonakpoe, Tokoin Doumassesse, Adakpamé) and in 7 polyclinics in Aneho, Kpalimé, Atakpamé, Sokode, Kara, Mango and Dapaong . The bank will also give out free mammogram and pap smear vouchers to more than 550 women and take care of 200 pre-cancer diagnosed patients.
About Ecobank Day:
Ecobank Day was first held in 2013 and has involved Ecobank employees giving up their free time to volunteer and/or fundraise. Each year Ecobank Day has supported worthy causes across each of the Ecobank Group’s 33 countries of operation, and these have included support for orphanages (2018), safer water (2017), ICT education and improving maternal health (2016), children’s education (2015), malaria prevention and control (2014) and community engagement projects (2013).
About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’):
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (www.Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the Ecobank Group, the leading independent pan-African banking group. The Ecobank Group employs over 15,000 people and serves about 20 million customers in the consumer, commercial and corporate banking sectors across 33 African countries. The Group has a banking licence in France and representative offices in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Johannesburg, South Africa; Beijing, China; London, the UK and Dubaï, the United Arab Emirates. The Group offers a full suite of banking products, services and solutions including bank and deposit accounts, loans, cash management, advisory, trade, securities, wealth and asset management. ETI is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchanges in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan.
For further information please visit www.Ecobank.com
“Follow The Money” Initiative in Nigeria wins Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award
November 8, 2019 | 0 Comments
At today’s closing session of the 2019 World Forum for Democracy, the Council of Europe announced that the winner of its Democracy Innovation Award was the initiative “Follow The Money”, a network of grassroots citizens in Nigeria dedicated to tracking government and international aid spending.
“Follow the Money” is a participatory advocacy-based initiative that advocates for the proper use of government and international aid funds in grassroots communities, to ultimately ensure that public services work for the people. It is a network of activists, social workers, lawyers, journalists, development consultants, researchers and data analysts, that have signed up on its social mobility platform. It uses media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, as well as mainstream media, to amplify the voices of marginalised communities.
Three initiatives out of the 27 discussed at the Forum were shortlisted for the final vote:
- Follow the Money (Nigeria) – presented at the workshop “Rebuilding Trust in Institutions”
- alGOVrithms (ePaństwo Foundation/CRTA, Poland) – presented at the workshop “The Human Brain: The Ultimate FactChecker?”
- Le Drenche (France) – presented at the workshop “Local journalism at the frontline of the information ?”
The Forum brought together 2,000 participants and 250 speakers from all over the world to discuss information and democracy.
Nigeria:Paradigm Initiative Launches Learning Lab for Digital Rights and Inclusion
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
LAGOS – 5 November 2019 – Today, Paradigm Initiative is thrilled to announce that its first Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab (DRILL) will begin operations in February 2020, and will operate from its new headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria.
DRILL has a mission to host innovative learning around digital rights and inclusion in Africa, and serve as a space for both practice and reflection. The Learning Lab will involve, and connect, different stakeholders and create dialogue amongst researchers, social innovators, policymakers and actors, the private sector, as well as civil society.
As a lighthouse for digital rights and inclusion advocacy in Africa, learning activities will take place at the Lab in order to evolve new thinking on digital rights and inclusion strategy for Africa. There are a variety of activities that will take place, including, but not limited to, focused future-facing research; presentations; ecosystem meetings and discussions focused on digital rights and/or inclusion hosted within the ecosystem; and general communication about the lab’s activities.
DRILL will offer a space for big thinking, evaluation of digital rights and digital inclusion programs, and future-proofing ecosystem activities. DRILL will host innovators, researchers and/or entrepreneurs-in-residence at the PIN HQ so they can host biweekly ecosystem/sector meetings (to share insight/ideas), biweekly presentations (to share outcomes of their research and/or work) and work with the Executive Director to record a monthly DRILL podcast on topical issues.
“There are both enormous challenges and opportunities for realizing the ambitious task of creating an inclusive, healthy, safe and open Internet in the coming decade for all Africans, including marginalized and vulnerable populations such as women and girls, people with lower income levels or living in rural communities, sexual minorities, the elderly and persons with disabilities,” said ‘Gbenga Sessan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative.
“Connecting the next billion, who mostly live on the African continent, requires not only technological and commercial innovations, but also new models of collaboration among all stakeholders,” he continued.
He added, “The selection process for the DRILL Fellowship will be supported by an External Advisory Group made up of ecosystem leaders, including Alberto J. Cerda Silva (Ford Foundation), Anriette Esterhuysen (Association for Progressive Communications), John Dada (Fantsuam Foundation), Nnenna Nwakanma (World Wide Web Foundation), and Oreoluwa Somolu Lesi (Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre), who will help shape the program and work with the PIN team to review Fellowship applications.”
The inaugural fellowship of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab will start in February 2020. The fellowship will be open for a period of three months at a time, but can be renewed for another three months, depending on planned activities and joint reviews between the Fellows and PIN.
“As a mid-career fellowship, potential candidates will be expected to have had a minimum of 5 years’ experience as technology or social innovators, researchers, policy experts, and/or entrepreneurs,” said Emmanuel Vitus, Communications Officer at Paradigm Initiative.
In his words, “Paradigm Initiative will cover costs associated with learning activities at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Learning Lab and provide office space, an opportunity to be embedded within our team, access to the ecosystem, and feedback on projects throughout the duration of the Fellowship.”
Applications are open via the Paradigm Initiative website, www.paradigmhq.org/drill, until December 20, 2019.
About Paradigm Initiative
Paradigm Initiative (PIN) is a social enterprise that builds ICT-enabled support systems and advocates for digital rights in order to improve the livelihoods of under-served young Africans. The organization’s digital inclusion programs include a digital readiness school for young people living in under-served communities (LIFE) and a software engineering school targeting high potential young Nigerians (Dufuna). Both programs have a deliberate focus to ensure equal participation for women and girls.
The digital rights advocacy program is focused on the development of public policy for internet freedom in Africa, with offices in Abuja, Nigeria (covering the Anglophone West Africa region); Lome, Togo (Francophone West Africa); Yaoundé, Cameroon (Central Africa); Arusha, Tanzania (East Africa) and Lusaka, Zambia (Southern Africa).
Paradigm Initiative has worked in communities across Nigeria since 2007, and across Africa from 2017, building experience, community trust and an organizational culture that positions us as a leading social enterprise in ICT for Development and Digital Rights on the continent.
Paradigm Initiative is also the convener of the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum (DRIF), a pan-African bilingual Forum that has held annually since 2013.
Hogbetsotso 2019: our allegiance is forever Anlo – Ashanti Kingdoms declare
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ahedor Jessica
More than 28 thousand people have thronged the Anlo’s traditional Capital Anloga to climax the 2019 Hogbetsotsoza in a colourful style. To many observers and partakers of the festival, this year’s celebration was rated more successful than previous ones. The colourful ceremony saw a magical, spiritual, and Cultural display of Anlo-ewe values that thrilled the participants from the beginning to the end.
The crowd made up of both Traditional Rulers, and government delegations, the public, Anlo citizens from the diaspora, foreigners and friends of Anlo took part in celebrating the well-attended occasion.
The Awomefia of Anlo, Torgbui Sri III affirmed the unity between Anlos and the Asantes, emphasizing “Our unity is forever.” Research on Anlo-Ewe history has it that, the two tribes signed a unity treaty in 1865 to be each other’s keeper and charged Anlos and Ashantis in Ghana and abroad to work together as brothers to enable the build Ghana.
The Awomefia stressed Anlo state commitment to champion the unity for the rapid socio-economic development of the two tribes and their people.
On education, he commended the government for its Free Senior High School policy and appealed for the fixing of roads in the Anlo State, address water challenges, construct the Keta Harbour and establish a tomato factory in Anlo under the One District, One Factory initiative to prevent postharvest loses experienced by the people in the area.
The special guest Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in an address read on his behalf by the Mamponghene, said the exchange of visits and interactions by the two leaders were to reaffirm their union for “peace and orderly development of the two great regions and the country at large, Adding the two tribes had vowed never to wage war against each other, instead, support one another. He bemoaned the failure on the part of historians who have failed in recognizing the peace-building efforts by the two tribes in pre-independence struggles. The Asantehene recounted the collaborative efforts that saw Ashantis and Ewes work together to change the course of Ghana’s history, and underscored the need to ward off elements trying to sow seeds of disunity between the two. The Asantehene later presented assorted items including kente and drinks to the Awomefia.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in an address read on his behalf commended the Asantehene and Awomefia for building on the unity of the two tribes and restated government’s commitment to fulfilling its promises to the Anlo State and meeting the desire of the people in getting a fishing harbour and a port. He said works on roads in the country would commence soon simultaneously and that government is very much aware of the economic importance of roads and would not deny Ghanaians access to motorable roads.
This year’s celebration attracted several delegations, chiefs from Notsie, in the republic of Togo, government officials led by Mr Kan Dapaah, Minister for National Security, former Presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama.
Augmented Reality Art Show Launches to Champion Africa’s Tech Leaders
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
African Tech Pioneers – Jason Njoku, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Funke Opeke, Rebecca Enonchong, and more feature in CcHUB and iHUB’s “NYOTA”
Thursday November 7, 2019. Nairobi, Kenya. A unique African augmented reality art experience “Nyota” that showcases and celebrates 24 of Africa’s technology pioneers, has been unveiled by Co-creation Hub (CcHUB). The landmark AR exhibition launched officially on Wednesday 6th November, to mark technology and innovation champions such as Jason Njoku, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Funke Opeke, and Rebecca Enonchong, were selected for having contributed immense value to the growth of the innovation and technology ecosystem on the African continent.
The pieces, curated by CcHUB and designed by Mayowa Alabi, are created using digital illustration which comes to life when viewed through an augmented reality app called ‘Artivive’ (available on iOS and Android devices). The app is placed over the piece in order to enhance it and create new dimensions of the art, whereby viewers will also download information about the subject’s journey in the tech world.
Speaking at the event, Bosun Tijani, CEO at CcHUB stated: “Technology is Africa’s fourth industrial revolution; it is powering and impacting the lives of millions. There are a number of personalities from across the continent who have been integral to promoting the technology-at-scale agenda in Africa. Nyota is a recognition of these tech leaders, and we are thrilled to be celebrating their work through this incredible augmented reality exhibition.
“Those included have come up from the trenches; they have paved the way for others in a sector still in its relative infancy, albeit one that is making a massive impact on how Africa operates. Nyota is a marker celebrating all that Africa’s technology sector has achieved to date, whilst recognising how much more there is to do. Thank you to all of those who are part of the exhibition – we are happy to share your story and your success with the world via Nyota, an intersection between art and tech in Africa”.
The exhibition features 24 of Africa’s tech trailblazers who have paved the way for African tech as we know it. The tech leaders include: Erik Hersman (BRCK), Rebecca Wanjiku (Fireside Communications), Ory Okolloh (Omidyar Networks), Juliana Rotich, Bitange Ndemo (UoN), Dorcas Muthoni (Openworld Ltd.), Gustav Praekelt (Praekelt Group), Strive Masiyiwa (Econet Wireless), Rebecca Enonchong (AppsTech), Nadu Denloye (Telnet Nigeria Ltd.), Tomi Davies (TVCLabs), Funke Opeke (Main One Cable), Iyin Aboyeji (An African Future), Mitchell Elegbe (Interswitch), Jason Njoku (CEO of iROKO), Sim Shagaya (Konga), Barbara Birungi (HiveColab), Omar Cisse (InTouch), Emeka Afigbo (Facebook), David Kobia (Lab1886), Estelle Akofio Sowah (CSquared), Ehi Binite (ClearSpace Labs Ltd.), Lucy Quist (Morgan Stanley London), Herman Chinery-Hesse (theSofttribe).
Nyota artist, Mayowa Alabi Damilola, also known as Shutabug, is a multidisciplinary creative with strengths in Graphic/Motion Design, Photography, Cinematography and Vector Illustrations. He has over five years of professional design experience working as a graphic designer, and then Creative Lead, at Co-Creation Hub Nigeria. His illustrations are created with lines and are largely influenced by the Lagos city life. His art career officially kicked off after he won the European Union/United Nations Women Gender Equality Picture It Comic & Cartoon Competition in 2017. He had his first solo exhibition tagged, “Lati OjuKokoro” shortly after winning the competition.
The exhibition will travel to CcHUB Lagos and Design Lab Kigali in 2020, and is accessible across the continent through this website.
Co-creation Hub (CcHUB) is an innovation centre dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity. CcHUB is Nigeria’s premier living lab designed as a space where work to catalyze creative tech ventures take place. The hub is Nigeria’s first open living lab for technologists, entrepreneurs, tech companies, investors and hackers in and around Lagos. Over the years, CcHUB has provided technological solutions to various sectors of the economy including education, public health and governance through the various projects the hub is actively engaging in.
Bosco Ntaganda Sentenced to 30 Years’ Imprisonment
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
|To make its decision, the Chamber received submissions from the parties and participants regarding the possible sentence, heard witnesses and admitted evidence|
|THE HAGUE, Netherlands, November 7, 2019/ — On 7 November 2019, Trial Chamber VI of the International Criminal Court (“ICC”) (https://www.ICC-CPI.int/), unanimously, sentenced (http://bit.ly/32mJ6j9) Bosco Ntaganda to a total of 30 years of imprisonment. The time Mr Ntaganda has spent in detention at the ICC – from 22 March 2013 to 7 November 2019 – will be deducted from this sentence.|
To make its decision, the Chamber received submissions from the parties and participants regarding the possible sentence, heard witnesses and admitted evidence, and held a hearing on the matter on 17-20 September 2019. The Chamber considered the gravity of the crimes and the degree of harm caused by each crime as well as Mr Ntaganda’s culpability, namely his level of intent and degree of participation. The Chamber also considered potentially mitigating circumstances but found them either not to be established or considered the weight accorded to be too limited to impact on the individual and overall sentences. While the Chamber did find specific aggravating factors to exist with respect to a number of the crimes, it did not consider the allegations about witness interference, which were presented as aggravating circumstances by the Prosecution and one of the Legal Representative of Victims, because the alleged interference was not proven to the standard required for aggravating circumstances, namely beyond reasonable doubt.
On the basis of its overall assessment, and in accordance with the Rome Statute, the Chamber imposed a specific sentence for each of the crimes committed by Mr Ntaganda. These sentences ranged from eight years to 30 years of imprisonment. In addition, the Chamber imposed a joint overall sentence. Since the Chamber considered that the conditions warranting life imprisonment were not met, and because in such a situation the total period of imprisonment may not exceed 30 years in accordance with the Rome Statute, the Chamber considered that it had no further discretion in the determination of the overall joint sentence. It therefore sentenced Bosco Ntaganda to a total of 30 years of imprisonment.
In the circumstances of the case, taking into consideration the nature and gravity of the crimes, as well as Mr Ntaganda’s solvency, the Chamber did not consider it appropriate to also impose a fine or forfeiture of proceeds in addition to imprisonment.
Next steps: The Defence and the Prosecution may appeal this Sentencing Judgment within 30 days. Reparations to victims will be addressed in due course.
Background: On 8 July 2019, Trial Chamber VI found (http://bit.ly/2WRmnur) Mr Bosco Ntaganda guilty, beyond reasonable doubt, of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), in 2002-2003, namely the following crimes against humanity: murder and attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation ; and the following war crimes: murder and attempted murder, intentionally directing attacks against civilians, rape, sexual slavery, ordering the displacement of the civilian population, conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years into an armed group and using them to participate actively in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against protected objects, and destroying the adversary’s property. The verdict is currently subject to appeals.
Former President flies the flag for a strong oil and gas future
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
|H.E. Obasanjo points to collaboration as the key to sustainability for the sector|
|CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 7, 2019/ — Nigeria is the second biggest oil-rich country in Africa, after Libya, and the commercialisation of resources has been in the hands of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that was established in 1977 as a merger of the Nigerian National Oil Corporation and the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel. A man that was pivotal to Nigeria’s oil activities as well as setting the nation on the path to democracy was His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo. He was president of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, from 1999 to 2007 overseeing his country’s first democratic handover of power and administrative reforms that accelerated economic growth. He is credited for his pivotal role in the regeneration and repositioning of the African Union, including helping to establish the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), designed to promote democracy and good governance.|
Despite being out of office for 12 years H.E. Obasanjo is still a very influential and popular figure in the continent and at this year’s Africa Oil Week he was on hand to give his view on a sector that he helped to shape. “Over the 26 years that it has been in existence, I think the fortune of the African oil and gas sector has been up and down,” he says. “I will not dwell too much on the past, except to let the past enlighten our present, and our future. Not too long ago somebody looked at me and said to me, you will drink your oil. I thought he was angry because the price of oil was high, and I said to him, we will use our oil, will you join with me in using our oil? I was of course coming from an oil producing and exporting country.”
Facing up to challenging times
Despite his optimism, H.E. Obasanjo admits that the sector faces some challenges on the continent over the coming decades. “The challenges that we face in Africa are adequate investment in oil and gas, challenges of infrastructure, challenges of security, challenges of local content, challenges of regulation and challenges of predictability and stability,” he explains. “These are then same in the oil producing countries, the oil market and in the industry in general.
“These challenges are not challenges that only one country can deal with on its own. They are national challenges, they are regional challenges that they are also, what I would call oil and gas industry challenges, which we must handle together. Whatever the challenges we are facing as an industry must be able to disaggregate and find the best instrument, the best institution or the best organisation to deal with the challenges.”
The rising of renewables
When it comes to the sustainability of the sector and the rising tide of renewable energy, he believes that despite the need to reduce carbon emissions the oil and gas sector still has an important role to play and a bright future in Africa. “The present challenges particularly include renewable resources growing into the areas where oil and gas has been predominant,” he says. “I believe this should not really worry us too much.
“For me, I believe for the foreseeable future there will be no renewable energy that will be as portable as oil and gas. That is something that we can take as the advantage of to ensure oil and gas will still be there for the foreseeable future.” But H.E. Obasanjo believes that technology will pave the way to extending the life of oil and gas. “With technology we have to make the production of oil and gas cheaper and if production of oil and gas is cheaper, we will be able to get oil and gas going on for much longer than some people have predicted.
A future driven by technology
“I believe that this is the area where the oil countries should really work together and take advantage of new technology that is part of the digitalisation transformation such as artificial Intelligence. All the technology that are here now that were not available to us 15 years ago. They are there for use everywhere but are very important in the oil and gas industry. Of we bring this into the industry I believe that the industry and the fear that we have now will all be a thing of the past. The next 10 to 15 years may not be the way some people think.
As for the foreseeable future, H.E. Obasanjo points to collaboration as the key to sustainability for the sector. “I see collaborations at the national level, at the regional level, and at the industrial level, and of course, collaborating, at the global level,” he says. “Collaboration and taking advantage of technology. That would make the life of the oil industry much longer than reduce the fear that some people have that renewable energy resources will make oil and gas a thing of the past. If we can surmount this challenge, then the future of oil and gas cannot be dictated by anybody except by us; the producers and the investors. This will maintain oil and gas as an active resource for humanity.”
NJ Ayuk Officially Launches his Second Book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
|In Billions at Play, Ayuk places the energy sector at the center of the continent’s economic growth|
|CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 7, 2019/ — Ministers and industry executives from across Africa’s energy industry joined Centurion Law Group CEO and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/), NJ Ayuk in Cape Town today for the official launch of his second book, “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.”|
During a ground breaking ceremony, Ayuk welcomed as Guest of Honors H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea; Hon. Abdirashid Mohammed Ahmed, Minister of Petroleum of the Federal Republic of Somalia; Kola Karim, Group Managing Director of Shoreline Energy and Mr. Rene Awambeng, Global Head of Client Relations at Afreximbank.
In Billions at Play, Ayuk places the energy sector at the center of the continent’s economic growth and argues that the oil and gas sector is well-positioned to turn the African narrative around. Over 100 guests were in attendance to celebrate the release of what is now Africa’s energy best-seller, already number one on Amazon.
“Billions At Play is a roadmap for Africans to build an inclusive future,” declared Nj Ayuk during the ceremony. “It articulates the voices and aspirations of millions of Africans and reflects the best of what our oil & gas industry and its leaders can do for our continent.”
Billions At Play became number one on Amazon in several categories only a few days after its release, making it one of Africa’s energy best-seller.
*Africa Energy Chamber