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Zim’s ban of multi-currencies challenged in court
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya

Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya

A Zimbabwean lawyer has on Tuesday 2 July 2019 filed an application in the
High Court seeking an order to set aside and declare the decision by
government to ban the multi-currency system in the country as grossly
unreasonable and unconstitutional.

Government on 24 June 2019 and without notice published regulations
known as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Legal Tender) Regulations S.I.
142 of 2019 which purportedly outlawed the basket of foreign
currencies as legal tender in any transactions in Zimbabwe and
declared as sole legal tender the Zimbabwe Dollar.

This directive confirmed the discontinuation of the multi-currency
system and further confirmed the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole currency
to be used in domestic transactions.

But in an application filed by Rudo Magundani and Evans Moyo of
Scanlen and Holderness Legal Practitioners, who are members of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Godfrey Mupanga, a human rights
lawyer, who indicated that he is aggrieved by the government and RBZ
policies, wants the High Court to proclaim that the declaration by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (Legal Tender) Regulations S.I. 142 of 2019
are null and void in that they are in contravention of Section 134(c)
of the Constitution.

Alternatively, Mupanga also wants the court to declare that the
provisions of Section 64 as read with Section 44A of the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 22:15 be declared unconstitutional and
therefore null and void to the extent that they are inconsistent with
Section 134(a) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and/or for want of
compliance with Section 134 (f) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
In addition, the human rights lawyer, who cited Finance and Economic
Development Minister Mthuli Ncube and the RBZ as respondents, wants
the court to issue an order setting aside the decision by Ncube and
the RBZ to ban the multi-currency system in Zimbabwe prescribed by
Section 44A of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Act Chapter 22:15 as legal
tender on the grounds that it is grossly unreasonable.

It is reported Mupanga argued that the regulations made by Ncube, which purport to
amend the principal legislation through subsidiary legislation are
manifestly inconsistent with the Act of Parliament under which they
are made and this in itself contravenes Section 134 (c) of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.

The RBZ Act, Mupanga argued, specifically entrenches and still
provides in section 44A (2) the British Pound, Euro, United States
Dollar, South Africa Rand and Botswana Pula as legal tender in
Zimbabwe.

The human rights lawyer argued that Ncube cannot amend a principal
legislation as this is a primary law-making power that can only be
exercised by Parliament and considering that the statutory instrument
would significantly affect the national economy or people’s lives.

Mupanga, who is also a lecturer at University of Zimbabwe charged that
the decision by government is grossly irrational and unreasonable in
that the use of the Zimbabwe dollar as sole legal tender was abandoned
in 2009 because it failed as a currency and that there is no evidence
that there are economic fundamentals in place to support the
introduction of the Zimbabwe Dollar.

Lastly, Mupanga argued that the sudden chopping and changing of
policies by government since the introduction of the bond notes and
coins undermines the trust and confidence of the public as well as the
international community and this in itself will undermine the value of
the Zimbabwe Dollar in the market.

The matter is yet to be set down for hearing by the Registrar of the
High Court.

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African Development Bank to establish Central African headquarters in Cameroon
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank president

Akinwumi Adesina, African Development Bank president

The African Development Bank, AfDB will in the days ahead establish its central headquarters in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde.

This is the substance of an agreement signed this morning at the Ministry of external relations between the government of Cameroon and the African Development Bank.

Signing in for Cameroon was the Minister of external relations Lejeune Mbella Mbella and the Vice President of the African Development Bank, Khaled Sherif signed on behalf of the banking institution.

According to Khaled Sherif, Cameroon was chosen in the central African Sub region as site for the implantation of the ADB regional headquarters because it suits the established criteria, one of which include hospitality.

“The government of Cameroon freely gave us a piece of land and we intend to work here over the long run” Khaled said at the end of the signing ceremony.

 

“The new regional office for development, integration and service delivery in Central Africa, like those established in Southern, Eastern, Northern and Western Africa, aims to bring the Bank closer to its Member States,” a release from the AfDB reads.

 

The signature of this headquarters agreement, which comes almost two months after the approval by the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank, of the Regional Integration Strategy Document for Central Africa (DSIR), approving the Bank’s operations in this region over the 2019-2025 period, will strengthen the institution’s dialogue and support for the process of economic integration in Central Africa.

 

With some 44 active regional projects in the continent, amounting to nearly 632 billion CFA francs, or 1.1 billion US dollars, the AfDB seeks to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries thus contributing to poverty reduction.

 

This new regional office will help improve the efficiency of the Bank’s operations and deepen the dialogue between the Bank and all Central African countries.

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Top 5 medical inventions by Africans that are changing the world
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Cardio Pad

Cardio Pad

Long gone are the days when all the African continent was renowned for was its cultural heritage, agricultural prowess, abundant minerals, strong reproductive men, basic societal problems, fetish traditions and a great importer of Western products and technology.

Today, Africa present’s herself as “the future’s” hope and is making considerable strides towards that; with her youths taking on the world.

The continent regarded foremostly as the “dark continent” has over the last decade stun the world. News about people of African descent flood the media daily due to astonishing achievements in their respective spares.

From top-notch intellectuals to the world highest paid engineers to the African kid coding for Uber, outstanding financial experts, artificial intelligence, sportsmen and women, and dozen others, African youths the world over are actively designing tomorrow and changing the narrative one day and an invention at a time.

As mother Africa expands and grows from a laggard to a challenger, competing with Western economies, these top five inventions by African youths are changing the world providing renewed hope for humankind.

This is the bleeding-edge of African innovations. Below is arguable the top five medical inventions from Africa that has taken on the world.

Mama-Ope – Uganda

The world over, pneumonia is responsible for 16% of all deaths of children under five with the death rate also considerably high among adults. This is largely due to the fact that diagnosing the illness is often very slow.

Faced with this, Uganda inventor Brian Turyabagye took decided to invent the biomedical smart jacket proven to diagnose pneumonia four times than a medical doctor does. The award-winning invention is gaining momentum with additional upgrades added to perfect the life-saving jacket from Uganda.

Brian Turyabagye and his work partner Besufekad Shifferaw showing off the biomedical smart jacket.

Koniku Kore – Nigeria

For Nigerian-born Oshi Agabi, the future remains unknown and is all about now. Creating technologies that solve real-life problems. His invention, the Koniku Kore has the capacity to detect the smell of explosives and cancer cells.

The tech-enthusiast who obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of Lagos before furthering his studies in physics and neuroscience in Sweden and Switzerland says his creation can be used for security, agricultural, military, and health situations.

Unveiled in Tanzania in 2017, Oshi expressed hopes that it could be used as a more effective means of airport security to scan numerous guests and also deployed in hospitals as the device is equally adaptable for use to identify different diseases.

Cardio pad – Cameroon

At just 28 years old, Cameroonian Arthur Zang is the inventor of a touchscreen heart-monitoring tablet that has revolutionized medicine in remote areas.

His Cardio pad enables heart patients in remote areas to access healthcare without journeying to the cities where most heart specialists work.

The tablet comes with four electrodes, which are attached to the patient’s chest to determine whether their heart is functioning normally.

The data is then wirelessly transmitted to the tablet and sent, via a mobile phone, to a cardiologist who can interpret the data in under 20 minutes and refer any prescriptions needed to the patient.

The award-winning device is currently deployed in most African countries and Asia as the world continues to embrace it.

Dr. Ndjomo Mba, director of the hospital of Mbankomo and Arthur Zang testing the Cardiopad with patient Jean Abada.

Usalama – Kenya

For this trio Kenyan developers, Marvin Makau, Edwin Inganji, and Kenneth Gachukia, communication could save lives and that is what their Usalama App seeks to achieve.

The app’s panic button sends a distress signal with the shake of a phone to emergency services, the needy person’s next of kin and other Usalama users within 200 meters.

In case of an accident or if confronted with a medical or emergency situation, users of the app can immediately send distress signals by barely shaking the phone three times. This will alert first responders, sharing your live locations so they can come to your rescue.

BeSpecular – South Africa

Commonly regarded as the app “leading eyes to the blind”, South African Chris Venter though blind can now see through the eyes of volunteers the world over who lend their eyes to him and thousands of the BeSpecular blind users.

After losing his sight to a virus, Chris, a former chef was determined to keep cooking and that was when the idea of eyes lending downed on him.

Once a request is submitted via the app, a handful of volunteers (over 10.000 subscribers), or so-called “sightlings”, receive a notification on their smartphones and can from there guide the blind on whatever they want to do.

Be it cooking, crossing the road, walking or any general thing they might need eyes for. With users in over 50 countries the world over, the question of if BeSpecular can help the blind to see it has popped up on several occasions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Visiting US congress delegation reiterates dialogue to resolving Cameroon’s simmering crisis
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Congresswoman Karen Bass (L) Cameroon Defense minister(R) during the audience (photo: The Guardian Post)

Congresswoman Karen Bass (L) Cameroon Defense minister(R) during the audience (photo: The Guardian Post)

A delegation from the United States congress has reiterated dialogue without any preconditions as a means to put an end to the ongoing armed conflict that has now claimed over two thousand lives displacing even more from the crisis-thorn North West and South West regions.

Addressing the delegation in an audience Tuesday, the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Joseph Beti Asomo, highlighted some of the security challenges Cameroon is currently facing, including cross border crime, maritime piracy, poaching, organized crime and terrorism. Citing the example of the recent Boko Haram attack in Darak, the Minister Delegate said these challenges the nation is facing have had several negative consequences.

The defence and security forces as well as the Multinational Joint Task Force of the Lake Chad Basin, he said, are however doing their best to bring back peace and stability in the affected regions.

With regards to the ongoing armed conflict in the North West and South West regions, Minister Joseph Beti Assomo stated that the information presented to the US congress by instigators of the crisis was imbalanced.

“The information brought to your attention by the instigators of this crisis is simply biased. The real criminals and terrorists are those who kill people, kidnap them, demand ransom, prevent children from going to school and burn down villages, hospitals and patients,” he said.

These persons whose names appear on the lists forwarded to the US government, he added, “raise funds in Western countries to finance the war in Cameroon”.

The US delegation was later presented a video which the Minister Delegate said depicts the “reality on the ground”.

Talking at the end of the encounter, the head of the United States delegation, Honorable Karen Bass said the US congress has taken the stance of peace and dialogue.

“What you can expect from the US congress is a real call for a dialogue, for peace, for all the parties to come together without preconditions,” she said.

She also reiterated her nation’s commitment in helping Cameroon fight terrorism in the Northern regions of the country.

“The United States support for Cameroon’s effort to address Boko Haram is going to continue. That is a partnership that we have experienced, an example of many. We want to make sure that continues,” she assured.

The US congress delegation’s exchange with the defence ministry officials, it should be said, was one of the several audiences granted the visitors by top regime officials, including Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute.

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Nigeria: Buhari set to sign Africa free trade pact
July 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

President Buhari

President Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari will sign the landmark African free trade agreement during the upcoming African Union meeting in Niger.

The information was revealed in a tweet that was posted on July 2nd by the office of the presidency.

“Nigeria will sign the #AfCFTA Agreement at the upcoming Extraordinary Summit of the African Union in Niamey, Niger,” the presidency tweeted.

African leaders will meet for the AU meeting in Niamey this weekend.

Nigeria had been a key backer of the plan to progressively reduce trade barriers on the continent since talks on the African Continental Free Trade Area got underway in 2002.

However it abruptly changed course shortly before the deal was signed last year following pressure from local unions and businesses fearful that they would be uncompetitive if trade barriers are dropped.

Last week, a special government panel formed to study the potential impact of joining AfCFTA, recommended that Buhari sign Nigeria up.

The trade deal “provides immense opportunities for Nigeria’s manufacturing and service companies to expand to Africa,” the panel’s chair, Desmond Guobadia, said in a statement after submitting its report.

AfCFTA formally came into force at the end of May, after the required minimum of 22 countries ratified the ambitious plan to boost intra-African trade, which has long suffered by high tariffs.

It hopes the progressive elimination of tariffs will help boost regional trade by 60 percent within three years. At present, only 16 percent of trade by African nations is with continental neighbours.

Nigeria is one of only three of the AU’s 55 member states to not have signed up to AfCFTA, with other African economic heavyweights such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa having ratified the pact.

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Cameroonian appointed head coach of South Sudan Football team
July 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

From Amos Fofung

Ashu Cyprian Besong (Getty image)

Ashu Cyprian Besong (Getty image)

Cameroonian-born football trainer, Ashu Cyprian Besong was on Monday appointed by the South Sudan Football Association, SSFA as head coach of the country’s national football team.

Initially, Ashu Cyprian Besong, was Cameroon’s U-20 head coach. Taking up his new job, he will replace caretaker coach Ramzi Sebit.

“Ashu Cyprian Besong of Cameroon will be appointed as the coach for South Sudan national team coach. He is confirmed to arrive Juba, tomorrow (Tuesday) to take up his new assignment,” the SSFA said on its official Facebook page.

The coaching position has been vacant since September 2018, following the resignation of Algeria’s Ahcene Ait-Abdelmalek just seven months after his appointment.

Besong becomes South Sudan’s fifth foreign coach following the departure of Ait-Abdelmalek, South Korea’s Lee Sung-Jea, Serbian Zoran Dordevic and Uganda’s Leo Adraa.

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Obsession over customers, not competition – The Impeccable Strategy
July 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jude Adeyinka

The preliminary theme of the most competitive analysis is a question: Who is your competition? That’s because most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. However, insightful leaders and establishments go extensive.

The question is not who your competition is but what it is. The realistic response to this is this: Your competition is any and every difficulty your consumers bump into along their journeys to using your company’s products.  To reinforce my point, I will give a little illustration.

When I read about the fintech industry in Nigeria – I see a lot of work done from all the top players in the sector. I am particularly impressed by what I read and perceive Renmoney on the country’s media. So when I visited Nigeria, I wanted to get a first experience of the brand.  I was going to review from afar the work that fintechs in Nigeria do. In fact, Renmoney was top of the mind for me.

Renmoney operates under the licence of a Microfinance bank but is in practice a fintech lending company. I must say that to have communicated their brand as fintech was indeed a customer-centric idea that I found creative. How else do you want to effectively approach and cater to the public if you drag the tag microfinance around you? Everyone knows how it is such a turnoff.

During my last visit to Lagos, sometime in March this year, I was impressed by the firm’s advertising strength but then that was not all. In fact, much more than that, I was impressed with the perception of most people interacted with about the brand. Having a combination of a mobile kiosk, an online platform and the usual brick-and-mortar are clear indications that this fintech company is headed for a more disruptive 2020. A clear indication of this is Renmoney’s mobile kiosk that I saw around some parts of Lagos from Surulere to Ajah and some other locations. These are the locations I can recall. This service was singularly bringing credit to the public. Imagine, thinking you need the money and as you turn around, you sight a Renmoney mobile lending kiosk. Brilliant, right?

At the end of the day, it’s your customers who have the ultimate idea of what is good and bad about your services. It’s your customers who buy your products; and in all truth, it’s your customers who will keep you in business. There are four good questions to answer in learning about your customers.

  1. Who are they?
  2. What motivates their behaviour?
  3. Where do they spend most of their time doing and at where?
  4. What are they saying about you?

 

Let’s start getting to know your customers, as intimately as possible. In fact, obsess over them.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos once said, “If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”

 

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Rwandans forced Third Term on me-President Kagame
July 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Kagame speaks during a press conference ahead Liberation Day ceremony

Kagame speaks during a press conference ahead Liberation Day ceremony

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda said he did not want to run for a third turn before Rwandans begged him to do so.

He revealed this on Tuesday afternoon during a press conference ahead of Liberation Day ceremony which comes on 4th July.

In 2015 Rwanda hold a referendum which amended the Constitution, and  incumbent president was allowed to run for other terms beyond two.

As a Rwandese Patriotic Front flag bearer, Kagame won 2017 presidential elections with 98 %.

Opposition alleged him of amending the constitution to cling on power which he has held since 2000.

Speaking to local and international journalists, Kagame said it was against his will to run for another term.

“It’s an open secret that I didn’t want to continue. Even people in my party who I interacted with, my view was on one side and theirs on the other. I asked them to keep thinking differently and to bring the same argument next time.”

Kagame who led rebel group that ended a 1994 genocide against the Tutsis, went on saying  he is happy with the achievements the country is realizing under his leadership.

He said “I might be fitting into the accidental president context but while I am there, I have to do something. Before I became President I was a person who fought a real fight. Where I didn’t know whether I would  survive the next day”.

 

 

 

President Kagame stressed that  what brings him joy is  “to be alive. To be on an everyday struggle to make this country better. At first you sacrifice and then you enjoy the sacrifice. I enjoy this fight to make this country better.”

The Constitution that was amended in 2015 allows Kagame who turns 62 next October, to run for presidency until 2034.

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Malawi lands $70 million deal with World Bank over disaster management
July 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula, Blantyre Malawi

The Malawi Government has reached deals worth $70 Million (  55 Billion Malawi Kwacha) meant to strengthen its capacity to deal with disasters and climate risks, a government statement has revealed.

The first part of the deal will assist in the developing a Disaster Risk Management Development Policy Financing (DPF) which will be to the tune of $ 40 million (Equivalent to MK 32 billion) and a Disaster Risk Management Development DPC with a Catastrophe Deferred Drawdown Option in the amount of USD 30million (MK23.3billion ) which is for future emergency.

“This will be achieved through policy and institutional reforms aimed at strengthening the Government’s coordination mechanisms, shock-sensitive social protection mechanisms, and financial capacity to respond to disasters as well as safeguarding public infrastructure.”the statement reads.

It adds: “Malawi has experienced success weather-related shocks whose impact has been significant. These shocks coincided with the fiscal consolidation process where Government has been trying to contain expenditure growth, grow revenues and limit domestic borrowing. Thus, Government has had limited fiscal space to respond, putting pressure on the budget and undermining the fiscal consolidation and macroeconomic gains realized in the past few years.”

According to the government of Malawi, the monetary support will go a long way in the realisation of Government’s agenda to enhance disaster and climate resilience particularly in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Idai which severely affected nearly half of the country’s geographic districts, impacting an estimated 975,600 people, and leaving about 732,000 of them at risk of food insecurity.

The government hopes that the programme will also support its efforts to shift from a disaster response approach towards a more proactive management of disaster and climate risks. The financing will support Malawi’s need for immediate liquidity in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Idai and if a subsequent catastrophic disaster strikes.

“On behalf of the people of Malawi, Government wishes to express gratitude to the World Bank for this timely support and assures the Bank that Government will endeavour to implement the programme in accordance with the provisions of the Financing Agreement as well as the Public Finance Management Act rules to ensure proper financial management and effective implementation to achieve its intended outcomes.” Concludes the statement.

Malawi was among Southern African nations struck by a devastating Cyclone Idai situation. Floods and rainstorms have also left thousands of Malawians destitute over the last few months, developments that have opened the need for more policies to address these fatal environmental occurrences.

 

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Malawi: More Elections Protests Coming Up
July 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) will this week lead yet another national wide protest against the results of the May 20 elections as the push to have Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson Jane Ansah step down continues.

The HRDC along with the Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and UTM are baying for the head of Ansah whom they accuse of leading in the administration of a ‘fraudelent’ election.

Accusations have also been flowing to Ansah that she was bribed by eventual winners the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to declare them winners, claims Ansah has strenously denied slamming her critics as only meant to tarnish her image.

The protests will be held on Thursday and Friday. They have been organised following another one last week but after Ansah had denied to step down, the HRDC has indicated it will not relent in the vigils so long as the MEC Czar resigns.

Elections in Malawi we’re characterised by annomalies huge of which was the use of erasing fluid Tippex which Ansah maintains was not purchased by the commission.

Figures were altered by officials managing elections in polling centers and media reports still suggest some of the figures surpassed the number of those that registered and cast their votes in the centers.

Meanwhile, there is a revelation that MEC Chief Elections Officer Sam Alfandika received up to  MK4 Billion during the elections period from the DPP government.

Alfandika has since told the media that the money was not received as personal but in the name of the office and was meant to pay election officers.

As of now, there is a court case in which the UTM led by Saulosi Chilima and MCP led by Lazarus Chakwera want a rerun of the elections.

Chakwera only slipped to DPP’s Peter Mutharika with less than 200 thousand votes in the highly contested poll which Chakwera now believes was rigged.

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Kenya:Collymore cremated at a Nairobi crematorium
July 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Bob Collymore, CEO of  Safaricom PLC

Bob Collymore, CEO of  Safaricom PLC

Ex-Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore’s body was cremated on Tuesday, July 2, in a private ceremony attended by family members and a few of his friends.

His body left a Nairobi Morgue in the morning and was taken to a crematorium where he was burnt at a temperature between 1, 000 and 2, 000 degree Celsius in the watch of his wife, children, mum, sister and a handful of family members.

The 61-year-old CEO succumbed to Acute Myeloid Leukemia yesterday, Monday, July 1 after battling the disease for almost two years.

The deceased was diagnosed with the cancer in October 2017 in the United Kingdom. He stayed in UK for nine months while receiving treatment before he resumed his duties last year July.

He continued seeking medication in various hospitals in the country until he departed according to the telco giant’s leadership. The dominant mobile operator in East and Central Africa fraternity expressed their sadness about his death and lauded his visionary leadership.

“It is a very sad day for us, it is not what we have been expecting but we have to accept the reality,” said Safaricom Board Chairman Nicholas Ng’ang’a.

“For nine years since he joined Safaricom, Bob has provided the company with visionary leadership and he was always passionate at whatever he did,” added Ng’ang’a.

President Uhuru Kenyatta led Kenyans in eulogizing the CEO. He said that Collymore’s outstanding corporate leadership will be missed in the country.

“It is with a deep sense of loss that I have received the sad news of the death of Safaricom CEO Robert William Collymore this morning. In the moment of great sorrow, my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, relatives, friends and the staff of Safaricom,” said the President.

The deceased was born in 1958 in Guyana. He lived with his grandmother until he was 16 when he relocated to UK to stay with His mother.

The businessman schooled at Selhurst High School in London and He worked with a number of companies around the in Japan, South Africa and United Kingdom before joining Safaricom in 2010.

He also served on a UN commission on life saving commodities for women and children, board of Acumen, Kenya Vision 2030 board, the United Nations Global Compact Board and a Founder Trustee in the Kenya’s National Road Safety.

He was a member of the B TEAM, a non-profit initiative established by a global group of business leaders to provide a better way of doing business, for the well-being of people and the whole world.

Meanwhile, Michael Joseph has been appointed as interim CEO until the right candidate is found.

Joseph is the current chairman of Kenya Airways and the former outfit’s CEO.

“Following the passing of the company’s CEO, at a special board meeting of the directors, the board resolved to appoint Michael Joseph, a board member of the company as the intericm CEO with immediate effect,” read the statement issued by Karthryne Maundu, the company’s secretary.

Collymore left behind a wife and four children.

 

 

 

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Harare informal traders seek to find common ground with city authorities
July 2, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The old adage that if you cannot beat them, join them, seems to be running true for Harare’s informal traders popularly known as vendors.

Used to running battles with municipal police and illegal and unsanctioned vending on the streets, verandas   and pavements of the Central Business District (CBD) of the city of Harare, the informal traders are now saying that it is time find each other and work with the local authorities for inclusive development and modernization of the city with global trends.

The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) is working on an initiative to promote the participation of vendors in economic policy and legislative processes. The initiative focuses on inclusion of informal traders in city planning and design and promotion of inclusive cities.

VISET has commissioned a survey conducted by   O’Brien Makore, an urban planner on inclusive city planning and design.

According to Makore, the changing urban dynamics, the scale of physical development and the globalizing world economy creates new challenges for informal traders.

“Informal traders are faced with the changing political, economic and social contexts as wells as increasing competition for space,” Makore said.

He added that despite all this, informal traders provide affordable goods, flexible link to supply chains, spur entrepreneurial spirit and give vibe to urban streets.

“Yet, informal traders exacerbate congestion at busy sites and they also lack decent trading facilities,” Makore said.

Makore said that vendors themselves have solutions to the emerging adaptive challenges and inclusive design processes. It is reported that based on the right to the city paradigm, VISET conducted a baseline survey meant to ascertain the real situation on the ground and the possible solutions.

According to Makore, inclusive cities is about rights of all urban inhabitants to access the benefits of urban life, including informal traders.” As such, it is critical to sustainably integrate the informal sector into the current urban set-up,” he said.

The survey has also revealed that globally, cities are embroiled in a liquidity crisis resulting in increasing rate of unemployment.

The current context in African cities highlights the relevance of collaborative planning, that is collaboration planning between residents, civil society, planners as well as political representatives.

It is reported that Harare as the capital city of Zimbabwe is facing a plethora of challenges which replicate the current economic, political and social context, according to Makore.

 

The study used a mixed methods research which combined both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. It combined interviews and two community meetings which were conducted in Harare and Chitungwiza with members of VISET.

This was part of the participatory design process of decent trading spaces as well as a platform to solicit the views of the informal traders, according to Makore.

The study targeted at least 60 informal traders selected by stratified random sampling across greater Harare.

Problems of the informal sector in Zimbabwe include lack of adequate market spaces, lack of utilities such as toilets, water, shelter and electricity at their market spaces, exorbitant rates for market spaces, lack of capital to scale-up their ventures, damage and confiscation of goods by police, harassment by police and corruption by the law enforcement agents.

Solutions proffered by informal traders include adequate and decent market spaces, an organized licensing system, affordable rates for market spaces, refurbishment of existing local market spaces, updating of current municipal policies and by-laws so that they speak to the growing needs of the informal economy.

Time and space sharing on selected streets and natural markets, pedestrianization of more streets to create enough market spaces, development of incidental spaces, identified through community-led design and professional conduct by law enforcement agents in their uniforms.

The anticipated design process includes adjacent land uses, existing access for pedestrians and auto-mobiles, nearby landmarks that draw people to the areas, type of market for example city level, neighbourhood level, roadside and bus-termini, just to mention a few and main goods sold such as vegetables, perishables or consumer goods such as clothes and household items.

Outcomes expected by Informal traders revealed in the survey during community meetings include halting of evictions and damage of their goods, reduced police bribes, secure decent space for vending, increased sales and higher income and reduced harassment.

Through their input in the survey results which are planned to be handed to the city authorities for consideration, the informal traders have proposed urban design and planning innovations focusing on frontage areas, pedestrian areas, vending areas, service lanes and elevation views.

The study revealed that 20% of informal traders are within the age range of 15 to 44 years while 43% are within the age range of 15 to 44 years while 43% are within   the age group of 35 to 44 years and only 12% are within the age range of 45 to 54 years.

It highlighted the need for a gendered dimension of the informal traders with 62% being female and only 38% being male. The need to strengthen a gender policy in the informal sector has been highlighted.

On location of trading sites the study revealed that 63% of informal traders in Harare operate outside their locations of residence, with the bulk operating within the CBD.

“This is due to high sales opportunity and proximity to clients the CBD offers if compared to neighbourhood markets,” Makore said.

It also revealed that 37% of informal traders operate within their locations of residence, particularly at local shopping centers.

He said that this presents great opportunity of decongesting the CBD by revitalizing the already existing local markets.

On operating areas, the study revealed that 96% of the informal traders operate on unregulated trading areas while a mere 4% operate on regulated trading areas.

Of the 96% operating on unregulated trading areas, lack of adequate ancillary infrastructure exposes both informal traders and their clients to serious health hazards.

It is added that the seemingly intractable situation at stake requires hard but necessary choices from both the informal traders and the local authorities.

It is added that informal traders need to ne innovative while the local authorities need to review the municipal policies.

On operating times and days, the survey revealed that 98% of informal traders operate from monday through saturday while some extend to Sunday.it is reported that in the same vein, 92% of informal traders operate from morning to evening time.

According to the survey it is reported that this clearly affirms to the notion that the informal sector is a major contributor to the urban economy, hence the need to effectively integrate into the sustainable urban set up.

It is also reported that the planning and design of trading spaces has to conform to the critical reality and view the urban informal sector as a long term phenomenon which there to stay.

On classification of informal traders, it is reported that 46% are blue-collar informal traders who sell consumables, 38% being green collar informal traders who sell perishable goods.

Sixteen are reported to sell both consumer and perishable goods. It is reported that this is critical bearing on the design of trading facilities especially in the CBD considering that blue collar informal traders require semi-permanent market structures while their counterparts the green collar informal traders are somewhat flexible and can operate effectively on moving market structures.

On pricing issues it is reported that the majority 98% of informal traders are willing to pay trading rates and the prevailing market prices are beyond their financial muscle, hence they opt for unregulated trading spaces. The study also revealed that while some were able to pay as much as US$20 per month, the majority 94% are able to pay US$5 per month for the formal trading spaces. ”With this at stake, cost-effective trading stalls and refurbishment of existing local markets becomes very   critical in addressing the challenge at hand,” the survey revealed.

Recommendations proffered by the informal traders in the survey include upgrading of existing neighbourhood markets into smart neighbourhood markets with all ancillary utilities, development of incidental spaces with the potential to  attract customers. Pedestrianization of the entire Speke avenue into a vending hub connecting the down town with smart vending stalls, urgent review of municipal policies and by-laws such that they incorporate the ever-growing urban informal economy into the current city local plans and government support through enterprise trainings and development of new markets and provision of affordable loans, just to mention a few.

 

 

 

 

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