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African Union fails to elect new leader
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
African Union Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was due to stand down but African leaders were unable to agree on a successor to lead the executive branch of the continental body (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

African Union Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was due to stand down but African leaders were unable to agree on a successor to lead the executive branch of the continental body (AFP Photo/Filippo Monteforte)

Kigali (AFP) – African heads of state meeting in Kigali failed on Monday to elect a new head of the African Union and will try again in January, an official said.

Current AU Commission President Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma was due to stand down but leaders were unable to agree on a successor to lead the executive branch of the continental body during its 27th summit meeting, being held in the Rwandan capital.

“Black smoke billows from the 27th AU Summit as no winner emerges… Commission elections postponed till next summit,” Dlamini-Zuma’s spokesman, Jacob Enoh Eben, said on Twitter, referencing the smoke signal that precedes the naming of a new pope.

None of the three candidates was able to muster the two-thirds majority required to win in the secret ballot.

Ahead of the vote many states had expressed dismay at the “lack of stature” among the little known candidates from Botswana, Equatorial-Guinea and Uganda and, in the end, 28 of the 54 member states abstained from the final round of voting thus forcing a postponement of the election and an extension of Dlamini-Zuma’s term.

*AFP/Yahoo

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AAI Injects Africa Into U.S Presidential Race
April 22, 2016 | 1 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

AAI President Amini Kajunju

AAI President Amini Kajunju

“Africa has typically not been a partisan issue when it comes to U.S Presidential politics,” said Ambassador Herman Cohen  in his opening statement at a Rayburn House Forum on Setting U.S-Africa Policy for the next Administration organized by the Africa-America Institute.

The statement from Cohen,  representing the Kasich  campaign,summed up the discussions animated by representatives  of candidates from both the Democratic and Republican parties still in the race.

“I can be very brief with Senator Cruz’s African Policy,” said his representative Michael Ledeen, before declaring in dramatic fashion that “he doesn’t have one.”

From security challenges , to aid, immigration, trade and investment, lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe, human rights and democracy, the representatives all held  views that were similar.

When moderator Carol Pineau asked if the presentations from the representatives had swayed anyone in the huge audience at the Rayburn  House, the answer was an emphatic no. When the representatives were asked if their candidates will visit Africa on their first term if elected as next President, they all answered yes. Asked on prospects of continuing with the USA-Africa Leaders Summit initiated by President Obama, all the representatives of the candidates were for a continuation.

Representing the candidates were Wala Blegay for Bernie Sanders, Herman Cohen for John Kasich, Michelle Gavin for Hillary Clinton, J.D,Gordon for Donald Trump and Michael Ledeen for the Ted Cruz Campaign.

The discussions were part of the conversations on Africa series of the AAI under the theme Setting U.S –Africa Policy for the Next Administration.Other topics of discussion at the forum included remaining priorities for Africa in the 114th Congress,the Obama Administration’s Approach to promoting Education in Africa, and a fires side chat on best practices for U.S Engagement in Africa with former U.S Envoy to the African Union Reuben Brigety and Amini Kajunju,President and CEO of the Africa Institute.

 

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The 28th Ordinary Session of the African Union Executive Council Positions Agenda 2063 as key element of discussion
January 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

19590-28th_ordinary_session_of_the_executive_councilThe African Union (AU) Executive Council has emphasized the importance of upholding human rights especially women’s rights in Africa for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa under the Agenda 2063 framework.

This came at the opening of the 28th Ordinary Session of the AU Executive Council today 27 January 2016, at the AU Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “2016: African Year of Human Rights with a particular focus on the Rights of Women”.

The opening ceremony was attended by a high level gathering that included: H.E. Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma AUC Chairperson, the United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopez, AU Ministers of Foreign Affairs, AU Commissioners, officials and invited guests.

Addressing the distinguished delegates at the opening ceremony, the Chairperson of the AU Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma reiterated the AU vision which is to build an Africa that is driven by its citizens and stressed its relevance to the theme of this year, “African Year of Human Rights with particular focus on the rights of women”. The Chairperson recalled aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 which clearly states the African Union position of achieving “an Africa whose development is people driven , relying on the potential of the African people especially its women, youth and caring for children”.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma emphasized that Agenda 2063 is not only the program of the AU but also for the various diversities of African people from all walks of life, the poets, singers, dancers, youth, women and girls , private sector, farmers, entrepreneurs the children of Africa and all African citizens, men and women, young and old, urban and rural as well as the diaspora.

Dr Dlamini Zuma recognised efforts by the youth in entrepreneurship, innovation, universities, and civil society; tackling Africa’s problems in innovative ways. She however recalled that the report on the critical skills for Agenda 2063 from the just concluded Mekele retreat highlighted a huge skills gap. The AUC Chair called for discussions with Africa’s private sector on industrialisation, agriculture, infrastructure development, movement of goods, people and services among others.

In relation to this year’s theme on Human Rights with particular focus on the rights of women, Dr. Dlamini Zuma said since the launch of the first African Gender Scorecard, countries have taken steps to do better and that in 2016, the gender score card would focus on indicators related to human rights.

Dr. Dlamini in her closing remarks commended the resilience of the people and governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the continental and global solidarity that put an end to the Ebola epidemic.

Hon. Simbarashe S.  Mumbengegwi Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Chair of the Executive Council in his opening remarks called for domestication of Agenda 2063 and continued commitment towards the fulfilment of the African Vision. He further added that the issue of terrorism which has caused loss of lives and property has negatively affected the socio-economic development of some parts of the continent hence the need to unite against all forms of terrorism.

28th_ordinary_session_of_the_executive_council_2Mr. Mumbengegwi in his conclusion congratulated the AU member states for conducting successful elections in the past year, which he said reflect the collective commitment to democracy and good governance. He also seized the opportunity to inform his colleagues that Zimbabwe’s tenure as Chair of the African Union comes to an end during this 26th AU Summit, and went on to further attribute the successes achieved during the year to the cooperation of the Executive Council, the PRC members, the Commission and other AU institutions (See complete speech of the Zimbabwe Minister of Foreign Affairs on the AU Website: au.int ).

The United Nations Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Mr Carlos Lopez underscored the need for structural transformation to boost Africa’s Economic advancement. Mr. Lopez condemned the genocide in Rwanda.

In his conclusion Mr. Carlos Lopez called on member states to prioritise putting an end to armed conflicts. (See complete speech of Mr. Carlos Lopez on the AU Website: au.int ).

The Executive Council meeting is the second of three statutory meetings to be held under the on-going 26th summit of the African Union, holding from 21 to 31 January 2016. The first meeting was that of the Permanent Representatives Committee which was held from 21 to 23 January. The final meeting of the summit will be that of the Heads of State and Government to take place from 30-31 January.

For two days, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs/External Relations and other ministers or authorities duly designated will convene in closed session to deliberate on the different items on their agenda including the consideration of the report of the Permanent Representatives Committee.

The Executive Council will prepare the agenda of the Heads of State with appropriate recommendations for consideration by the Assembly.

*AU

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Clinging to power in Africa
December 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

Here is a range of precedents over the past 15 years:

– Successful bids –

[caption id="attachment_23113" align="alignleft" width="300"]An amendment to the constitution would allow Rwandan President Paul Kagame, 58, to run for an exceptional third seven-year term in 2017 (AFP Photo/Zacharias Abubeker) An amendment to the constitution would allow Rwandan President Paul Kagame, 58, to run for an exceptional third seven-year term in 2017 (AFP Photo/Zacharias Abubeker)[/caption]

– BURUNDI: After a constitutional row, President Pierre Nkurunziza won a controversial third term in July 2015, in polls boycotted by the opposition and denounced by the United Nations as neither free nor fair. His re-election bid sparked an attempted coup by rebel generals and months of civil unrest that has killed hundreds and driven hundreds of thousands from the country.

– ZIMBABWE: A new constitution adopted in 2013 allowed President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, to stand in an election, which he won.

– DJIBOUTI: In April 2010, Djibouti’s parliament approved a constitutional amendment allowing President Ismael Omar Guelleh, in power since 1999, to run for a third term, which he won in 2011. He is now eyeing a fourth term in 2016.

– ANGOLA: The adoption in January 2010 of a constitutional amendment providing for the election of a president by indirect suffrage, by parliamentarians, allowed head of state Jose Eduardo dos Santos, in power since 1979, to be sworn in in 2012 after his party’s victory in legislative elections.

– ALGERIA: In November 2008, parliament removed the presidential two term limit, voting for a revision of the constitution. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, was then re-elected in 2009 and again in 2014. – CAMEROON: In April 2008, parliament revised the constitution, scrapping the limit on the number of presidential terms. Paul Biya, who had been in power since 1982, was elected to a sixth term in October 2011. – UGANDA: In July 2005, a constitutional reform scrapped restrictions on the number of presidential terms. Yoweri Museveni, in power since 1986, was re-elected in 2006 and 2011 and is running again in 2016. – CHAD: In June 2005, a constitutional revision was adopted after a disputed referendum abolished a limit of two five-year terms. Idriss Deby, in power since 1990, was re-elected in 2006 and again in 2011. – TOGO: In December 2002, a constitutional amendment paved the way for Gnassingbe Eyadema, in power since 1967, to seek another term in 2003. After his death in office in February 2005, a constitutional revision by parliament allowed his son, Faure Gnassingbe, favoured by the army, to be sworn in as president. He won a third term in April 2015. – Failed attempts –

Other leaders have not managed to impose constitutional changes to remain in power.

– BURKINA FASO: In October 2014, the announcement that long-serving president Blaise Compaore sought to extend his rule beyond 30 years brought hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets, forcing him to step down.

– ZAMBIA: Frederick Chiluba had to throw in the towel in 2001 under popular pressure, and in MALAWI, the parliament in 2002 blocked Bakili Muluzi from seeking a third mandate in 2004. – NIGERIA: Military ruler turned democrat Olusegun Obasanjao failed in his 2006 effort to change the constitution to allow him a third term in power. – Still trying –

– THE REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Veteran Congo ruler Denis Sassou Nguesso’s government on October 27, 2015 claimed a landslide victory in a referendum on changes to the constitution that would make him eligible to contest elections next year, extending his three-decade stay in power.

– THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: President Joseph Kabila inherited his post after his father, Laurent-Desire Kabila, was killed in January 2001. The opposition believes Kabila will try to circumvent the constitution and run for a third five-year term in 2016.

*AFP/Yahoo]]>

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The Paris Climate Change Agreement – A Window for Africa’s Sustainable Development
December 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina – AfDB President. Dr. Akinwumi Adesina – AfDB President.[/caption] “The Adoption of the Paris Agreement shows that the world understands that with climate change there are no winners and no losers.  Either we all win together, or we all lose together”, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, said Sunday. “And yesterday we all committed to win together.” “The Summit marked a historic moment, when 195 countries chose to stand on the side of justice and common sense.  And the voice of Africa has been heard – loud and clear. African countries came to COP21 well prepared with a unified narrative, a clear agenda, and a bottom line for a fair deal.” Adesina stressed that Africa has changed its narrative, coming to Paris as a solution provider whose voice must be heard.  He praised the coherent structure which was established through the African Group of Negotiators (AGN), the African Ministerial Conference of the Environment (AMCEN), and the Committee of African Heads of State and Government (CAHOSCC). Other developing countries have relied on Africa to lead the negotiations on their behalf, he said. “While the Agreement may not be perfect, it has largely reflected Africa’s specificities, while accommodating the needs of other developing regions. I have always said that a deal that is not good for Africa is no deal at all,” he went on. He set out the five characteristics that Africa expected from the Declaration: a binding agreement under the Climate Change Convention; an Agreement that respects the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities; an Agreement that creates parity between adaptation and mitigation; an Agreement that keeps global warming below 1.5oC; and an Agreement that creates greater ambition to progressively increase climate change financing to developing countries from a floor of US $100 billion per annum from 2020. The Africa Group of Negotiators went to Paris with two initiatives that would contribute to achieving the expected outcomes of the Paris Agreement, Adesina said.  These were the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative and the Africa Adaptation Initiative. Both initiatives were launched at the COP, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative has received strong support and financial pledges from partners. The Paris Agreement further acknowledges the need to promote universal access to sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa, through the enhanced deployment of renewable energy. “While the Agreement is indeed ambitious, we cannot rest on our oars,” Adesina concluded. “There is much more work to be done. Assessments have shown that current commitments in the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) will result in global warming of about 3oC. The Agreement includes a pledge to review and strengthen commitments every five years. It’s just the beginning. We need to build on its momentum to ensure that Africa transitions to a low-carbon and climate-resilient development pathway. The will is there. The commitment is there. This window of opportunity will not be open for much longer.  Let us seize it.” *AFDB]]>

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What Obama and Xi said to Africa
December 9, 2015 | 0 Comments

Both President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping have made trips to Africa this year Both President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping have made trips to Africa this year[/caption]

China’s President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama have both made major speeches in Africa this year. President Xi spoke last week to heads of state at a summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, and in July President Obama spoke at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Their oratory show some remarkable similarities and some interesting differences.


Partnership of equals?

Bongo and Deng XiopingImage copyrightAFP
Both leaders spoke about past relations with the continent. President Xi: “What has made China-Africa friendship durable and vigorous is that our two sides have always been guided by the principle of treating each other as equals… China and Africa will forever remain good friends, good partners and good brothers.” President Obama: “As president, I’ve worked to transform America’s relationship with Africa – so that we’re truly listening to our African friends and working together, as equal partners.” Both presidents used the word “partners” but there is still a difference. Africa analyst Aubrey Hruby says that China is able to emphasise the shared development experience with Africa, whereas the US has had to work harder at making the equal partnership a reality.

Speak up or keep quiet?

Woman with mouth taped upImage copyrightAFP
Despite talking about Africa solving its own problems, the US president said that he would not be afraid to bring up human rights issues, while the Chinese leader underlined China’s policy of non-interference. President Obama: “The bottom line is that when citizens cannot exercise their rights, the world has a responsibility to speak out. And America will, even if it’s sometimes uncomfortable, even when it’s sometimes directed toward our friends.” President Xi: “We should respect each other’s choice of development path… China strongly believes that Africa belongs to the African people and that African affairs should be decided by the African people.”

How to do business

CashImage copyrightAFP
President Obama’s trip to Africa this year was timed to coincide with the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya. Ms Hruby says he came with a message of private business development and brought potential investors with him, whereas President Xi emphasised big infrastructure development. President Obama: “Entrepreneurship creates new jobs and new businesses, new ways to deliver basic services, new ways of seeing the world – it’s the spark of prosperity.” President Xi: “We should fully leverage the strengths of political mutual trust… and focus on industrial capacity cooperation as well as… industrialisation.”

The Mandela quote

Nelson MandelaImage copyrightAFP
Both leaders felt it necessary to name-check the late South African President Nelson Mandela, though they chose quotes which emphasised different issues. President Xi: “President Nelson Mandela… said: ‘We stand at the dawn of an African century, a century where Africa will take its rightful place among the nations of the world.’ I couldn’t agree more with this statement.” President Obama: “Nelson Mandela taught us ‘to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others'”.

Peace and progress

Chinese peacekeepers
Both men chose to link security and development and were keen to offer their country’s help. Again, their emphasis was slightly different: President Xi: “Poverty is the root cause of chaos while peace is the guarantee for development… China stands ready to take an active part in Africa’s efforts in capacity-building for maintaining and strengthening peace and security.” President Obama: “Africa’s progress will also depend on security and peace… Now, as Africa stands against terror and conflict, I want you to know that the United States stands with you.”

Spot the difference

These word clouds were generated from the two men’s speeches:
World cloud based on President Obama's speechImage copyrightWordle
World cloud based on President Xi's speech
  *BBC]]>

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Washington, D.C. to welcome African Ministers of Energy to international investment conference on African Power
December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

The first Powering Africa: Summit attracted over 450 delegates to learn about the opportunities for investment into Africa’s power sector The first Powering Africa: Summit attracted over 450 delegates to learn about the opportunities for investment into Africa’s power sector[/caption] The aim of the meeting is to drive forward strategic partnerships between investors, project developers, governments, utilities and regulators to achieve the goal of bringing power to Africa EnergyNet is to host the second annual Powering Africa: Summit  at the Marriott Marquis, Washington, D.C. from 27-29th January 2016. Industry leaders from the USA and Africa who have confirmed to attend include H.E. Hon Minister Jeannot Matadi Atadi Nenga Gamanda, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, DRC, H.E. Hon Minister Obeth Kandjoze, Minister of Energy and Minerals, Namibia, Andy Herscowitz, Co-ordinator, Power Africa and Trade Africa, Anita Marangoly George, Senior Director, Energy and Extractives, The World Bank Groupand Karen Breytenbach, Head of IPP Office, Department of Energy, South Africa. The Powering Africa: Summit (PA:S) is an investment conference where African ministers of finance and energy and US government agencies behind the Power Africa initiative meet with private sector investors and power developers from across North America and Africa. The first meeting, held in January 2015, saw 17 African countries represented with 57% of attendees originating from North America. Programme Manager Veronica Bolton-Smith commented, “PA:S is a valuable platform as it enables dialogue between key stakeholders and developers, chiefly heads of African utilities, US-based private equity houses and wealth management establishments.” The aim of the meeting is to drive forward strategic partnerships between investors, project developers, governments, utilities and regulators to achieve the goal of bringing power to Africa. Following a surge of private equity interest across Sub-Saharan Africa, PA:S will explore the power & infrastructure projects currently piquing the interest of investors, including the gas to power supply chain. Attendees will also receive an update on the South African Gas IPP programme and the opportunity this presents to investors. Industry and agriculture will feature on the 2016 agenda, examining the role transmission plays in the success of these industries. Targeted workshops will examine the landscape for investment in Morocco, South Africa and Nigeria, as well as exploring industry-specific themes such as Public Private Partnerships and “Innovation time”- a workshop for innovators to meet with private equity investors. The 2016 Summit will launch a networking app to enhance participants’ experience by allowing them to set up private meetings and meet with the right contacts more easily. *APO]]>

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Samsung Nigeria named Best Company in Youth Focused CSR at SERAS 2015
December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

In addition, its Corporate Citizenship Manager, Abosede Modupe Alimi, was recognized as one of the top three CSR practitioners in the country [caption id="attachment_22784" align="alignleft" width="300"]Koye Sowemimo, Head of Corporate Marketing and Abosede Modupe Alimi, Corporate Citizenship Manager of Samsung Electronics West Africa receives the Award for Best Company in Youth Focused CSR at the 2015 SERAS Awards Koye Sowemimo, Head of Corporate Marketing and Abosede Modupe Alimi, Corporate Citizenship Manager of Samsung Electronics West Africa receives the Award for Best Company in Youth Focused CSR at the 2015 SERAS Awards[/caption] Samsung Nigeria  was conferred the Best Company in Youth Focused CSR at the recently concluded (SERAS) Nigeria CSR Awards 2015. In addition, its Corporate Citizenship Manager, Abosede Modupe Alimi, was recognized as one of the top three CSR practitioners in the country. The awards, reputed to be the major force behind galvanising businesses across various sectors and industries in Nigeria to promote CSR and Sustainability in Nigeria, aims to acknowledge corporate entities who invest in society through CSR programmes. Mr. Brovo Kim, Managing Director of Samsung Electronics West Africa said: “We are humbled by this recognition but by the same token, understand that the task ahead is even bigger. We need to rise to the challenge and provide apt and innovative partnerships that will set Nigeria on the path to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals.” Samsung Electronics West Africa is among several businesses assessed by a jury made up of experts drawn from Nigeria and other parts of the world. The jury based its assessment on the outcome of field visits and verification of data. For the Best Company in Youth Focused Award, Samsung was lauded for its sterling work and contribution to the lives of the Nigerian youth through the following programs:

  • Samsung Engineering Academy which has trained 118 young people, 40% of which are gainfully employed as a result of the training received;
  • Digital Village placed in Cross Rivers State, which has a significant number of young people who would potentially benefit from this project especially the Solar Powered Internet School.
Samsung was nominated in a total of three categories including Best Company in Youth Focused CSR, Best Company in CSR Innovation and Most Improved Company in CSR 2015. Receiving both awards for Samsung on the night, Abosede Modupe Alimi, said:  “For me, this accolade represents a vote of confidence in our efforts to positively impact the lives of people, particularly the youth. Our goal has always been to address the felt-needs of the communities we operate in and this recognition will go a long way in inspiring the team to do more in ensuring that we change the course of Nigeria through sustainable corporate citizenship programmes.” Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.  inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies, redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, cameras, digital appliances, printers, medical equipment, network systems, and semiconductor and LED solutions. We are also leading in the Internet of Things space through, among others, our Smart Home and Digital Health initiatives. We employ319,00 people across 84 countries with annual sales of US $196 billion. *APO]]>

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Equatorial Guinea’s National Gas Company Opens Negotiations for LPG Purchase
December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

SONAGAS to market its share of LPG production to international buyers  

  • SONAGAS to market its share of LPG production to international buyers
  • Negotiations with offtakers ongoing, SONAGAS to determine best bidder
  • SONAGAS is 20 percent shareholder in LPG operations at Punta Europa
  [caption id="attachment_22781" align="alignleft" width="300"]Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima[/caption] The Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy of Equatorial Guinea has announced that national gas company SONAGAS  will begin marketing the State’s share of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) produced at the Alba Plant, on Bioko Island. SONAGAS has now opened negotiations with offtakers and will begin marketing its LPG production stake to international buyers from January 1, 2016. SONAGAS is a 20 percent shareholder, alongside Marathon Oil (40 percent) and Noble Energy (40 percent), in LPG production at the Alba Plant, situated at the Punta Europa gas complex. The Alba Plant partners, SONAGAS and the Government of Equatorial Guinea have agreed that SONAGAS will market its 20 percent share of LPG production on behalf of the State. The Government believes this is a major step for local content in Equatorial Guinea. H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines, Industry and Energy, stated: “SONAGAS marketing its share of LPG fulfills one of the major objectives envisaged by the State in creating the company a decade ago – that of a national gas company with capacity across the spectrum of gas activities. SONAGAS is evolving to take on more of the gas business, not only as a shareholder at Punta Europa, but throughout the entire value chain.” The LPG production plant began operating in 1991 and was modernized in 2003-2005. The plant produces 8,000 barrels per day of butane, 14,000 barrels per day of propane and 6,000 barrels per day of condensed gas. Sociedad Nacional de Gas G.E., known as SONAGAS, was set up in 2005 to develop gas projects on behalf of the Government of Equatorial Guinea and to maximize the value of natural gas to the country. The company is owned fully by the Government. It acts as a promoter of natural gas sector activities in Equatorial Guinea and is the state’s representative and stakeholder in national projects. *APO  ]]>

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Mundipharma Signs Exclusive Agreement With bitop AG for Anti-Allergy Portfolio
December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Mundipharma has in-licensed bitop’s Ectoin® based products for skin care, allergy prevention and treatment in the Middle East and Africa [caption id="attachment_22778" align="alignleft" width="214"]Dr. Ashraf Allam,Regional Vice President,Mundipharma Middle East & Africa Dr. Ashraf Allam,Regional Vice President,Mundipharma Middle East & Africa[/caption] Mundipharma , the innovative pharmaceutical company and leader in the science of pain alleviation, today announced a strategic agreement with medical devices developer and the sole producer of Ectoin®, bitop AG. The exclusive license agreement is for the patented Ectoin®-containing medical devices and grants Mundipharma the rights to register, commercialize and export the products in 56 countries across the Middle East and Africa. This agreement will support the development and delivery of soothe and relief remedies for allergy, dermatitis, cough and cold, respiratory disease, and eye/nose dryness. According to the WAO’s (World Allergy Organization) White Book on Allergy, owing to dust and pollution, more than one third of the population in the Middle East and Africa suffer from some form of allergies all year round. The Ectoin® range of products have excellent membrane-stabilizing and inflammation-reducing characteristics, have been clinically proven to be effective in preventing and managing such allergies and can be used also in children and sensitive patients. The agreement is a result of a mutual commitment to improve patients’ accessibility to effective medication treatments. The addition of the anti-allergy group of products will greatly reinforce the strong consumer portfolio of Mundipharma, and will continue to cement the company’s position as a major contender in the over-the-counter space in the Middle East and Africa, addressing unmet needs of patients and physicians in these markets. Mundipharma expects to launch this family of products from 2016. Dr. Ashraf Allam, Regional Vice President, Mundipharma Middle East and Africa region, said, “Our partnership agreement with bitop comes at a time when Mundipharma is stronger than ever, in both our consumer health and specialty businesses. Since the beginning of 2014, we have significantly strengthened the fundamentals of our business, solidified our presence in key markets and put in place robust engines for profitable growth, laying the groundwork for complementary transactions such as this one with bitop. This agreement is another step forward on our roadmap to reinforce our already strong position in the consumer health space,” said Dr. Ashraf Allam. “bitop and Mundipharma share a commitment to innovation, quality, and helping people to live healthier and longer. We look forward to delivering the benefits of this transaction to our stockholders, and better serving patients, customers and healthcare systems throughout the Middle East and Africa,” he added. Daniel Johannes Berger, Chief Executive Officer, bitop AG, stated: “The partnership with Mundipharma means a lot to us. We have consistently pursued the concept of Ectoin®-containing medical devices and developed innovative, high quality products with clinically proven safety and efficacy. That this concept has convinced Mundipharma is an important confirmation of our strategy.” “We see Mundipharma as the perfect partner for the Middle East and Africa region and believe this partnership will result in a great success for both companies. Innovative products in self-medication under the umbrella of an established, multinational pharmaceutical company: that is indeed a promising combination.” The Mundipharma  network of independent associated companies consists of privately owned companies and joint ventures covering the world’s pharmaceutical markets. These companies are committed to bringing to patients the benefits of pioneering treatment options in the core therapy areas of oncology, pain, respiratory, consumer healthcare and rheumatoid arthritis. bitop AG is a fast growing company based in Witten, Germany. Since the company was founded in 1993, it focuses on the development, manufacture and marketing of medical devices and high quality active ingredients for cosmetics. The technological base of bitop AG’s business are substances from the class of extremolytes, in particular the compound Ectoin®. In both the medical and cosmetics segments, bitop AG is positioned as a provider of innovative and high quality products whose safety and effectiveness is scientifically demonstrated by elaborate experiments and test systems. In the interest of ensuring the highest quality standards, bitop AG operates a certified quality management system according to DIN EN 13485. *APO  ]]>

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Corruption on the rise in Africa poll as governments seen failing to stop it
December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Transparency International estimates 75 million Africans paid a bribe in the past year Corruption-cartoon-of-a-police-boss-by-Basati-via-SomalilandsunA majority of Africans say corruption has risen in the past 12 months and most governments are seen as failing in their duty to stop the abuse of power, bribery and secret deals, according to a new opinion poll from Transparency International (Transparency.org). In the report People and Corruption: Africa Survey 2015, part of the Global Corruption Barometer, Transparency International partnered with Afrobarometer, which spoke to 43,143 respondents across 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa between March 2014 and September 2015 to ask them about their experiences and perceptions of corruption in their country. The majority (58 per cent) of Africans in the surveyed countries, say corruption has increased over the past 12 months. In 18 out of 28 countries surveyed a large majority of people said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption. Despite these disappointing findings, the bright spots across the continent were in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Lesotho and Senegal. Citizens in these countries were some of the most positive in the region when discussing corruption. For the first time, people reported business executives as highly corrupt. Business ranked as having the second highest levels of corruption in the region, just below the police. The police regularly rate as highly corrupt, but the strongly negative assessment of business executives is new compared to previous surveys. Many Africans, particularly the poor, are burdened by corruption when trying to get access to key basic services in their country. 22 per cent of people that have come into contact with a public service in the past 12 months paid a bribe. Of the six key public services that we asked about, people who come into contact with the courts and police are the most likely to have paid a bribe. 28 per cent and 27 per cent respectively of people who had contact with these services paid a bribe. Across the continent, poor people who use public services are twice as likely as rich people to have paid a bribe, and in urban areas they are even more likely to pay bribes. “Corruption creates and increases poverty and exclusion. While corrupt individuals with political power enjoy a lavish life, millions of Africans are deprived of their basic needs like food, health, education, housing, access to clean water and sanitation. We call on governments and judges to stop corruption, eradicate impunity and implement Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals to curb corruption. We also call on the people to demand honesty and transparency, and mobilize against corruption. It is time to say enough and unmask the corrupt,” said Transparency International Chair José Ugaz. pesayachai_bwanamdogoIt is increasingly clear that citizens are a key part of any anti-corruption initiative. However, the survey finds that corruption reporting mechanisms are often seen as too dangerous, ineffective or unclear. More than 1 out of 3 Africans thinks that a whistleblower faces negative consequences for reporting corruption, which is why most people don’t report. “Our work as civil society is clear: we have to spread a message of hope across the continent. Corruption can be tackled. People need to be given the space to stand up against it without fear of retaliation and governments need to get serious about ending the widespread impunity.” Transparency International recommends:

  • Governments strengthen and enforce legislation on corrupt business people and anti-money laundering to curb the high volume of illicit flows from the continent. This could address the negative perception of business if those profiting are held to account.
  • Governments establish right to information and whistle-blower protection legislation to facilitate the role of civil society in making public institutions more transparent, accountable and corruption-free.
  • Governments show a sustained and deep commitment to acting on police corruption at all levels by promoting reforms that combine punitive measures with structural changes over the short- and medium-term. Cracking down on petty bribery has direct impact on the most vulnerable in society.
  • The African Union and its members provide the political will and financing needed to implement the review mechanism established for its anti-corruption convention.
Unless it’s stopped, corruption slows development and economic growth while weakening people’s trust in government and the accountability of public institutions. *APO]]>

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African printing industry can immensely benefit from SGI Dubai 2016
December 2, 2015 | 0 Comments

Trade visitors from over 80 countries across all continents to visit the largest printing and signage exhibition in Dubai next year [caption id="attachment_22767" align="alignleft" width="199"]Mr. Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman of IEC Mr. Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman of IEC[/caption] International Expo Consults (IEC) stated that the African printing industry stakeholders can immensely benefit by visiting the (Sign and Graphic Imaging) SGI Dubai 2016 trade show. The event will showcase the innovative products and services from various exhibitors from across the globe under a unified platform. As per the Smithers Pira report the printing revenues in Middle East and Africa are set to touch US$26 billion in 2018. SGI Dubai 2016 in its 19th edition will be held on the 10th, 11th and 12th of January 2016, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.  This is also the largest and prominent trade event for printing and signage industry in the region.  SGI Dubai 2016 will also have dedicated pavilions for the players within the digital signage, textile printing and retail signage industry sectors. Mr. Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, Chairman of IEC states, “We are looking forward to welcoming the trade visitors from Africa to our show. We received close to 13000 visitors from across 78 countries in the previous edition of our show and the numbers are slated to increase in 2016 as well.  There is a huge demand for state-of-the-art printing equipment and signage as the African economy is now consolidating and growing to the next level. Hence, a strategic approach from Africa’s print and signage industry can provide the ideal solutions that could contribute to the development of businesses within several vertical industry segments.” “There is a huge potential in Africa’s printing industry. Stakeholders are looking to gradually phase out old equipment to bring in new technology. This growth translates into large scale opportunities for printers, raw material suppliers and print equipment suppliers in Africa. Growing requirement from industries such as retail, entertainment and healthcare are definitely expected to drive the local demand in the coming years,” added Mr. Falaknaz. SGI Dubai 2015, an official Dubai Shopping Festival event welcomed over 400 global exhibitors from across 34 countries and registered over 12,781 trade visitors from 78 countries during the last edition. SGI Dubai 2016 is an ideal converging point where visitors and exhibitors can reach out with architects, sign makers, print and production manufacturers, media agencies, real-estate developers, brand and image consultants among others. In the past decade, the GDP of 54 countries in Africa has been rapidly expanding as compared to the global average and is now a USD$2 trillion economy. As per reports six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are now located in Africa and the world is currently witnessing its booming economic success. This is also slated to give a tremendous boost to the economy’s printing industry sector in the coming years. International Expo-Consults (IEC) is an internationally recognized trade show management company with an impressive track record of 20 years of operations in the Middle East and Asia Pacific region. The Exhibition arm of the Dubai-based conglomerate, the Falak Holding; IEC is the organiser of key exhibitions including Sign and Graphics Imaging (SGI Dubai) and the Dubai, Entertainment, Amusement and Leisure (DEAL). Dubai-based conglomerate, Falak Holding has been an industry pioneer for the last 33 years having diversified business interests. Falak Holding is also a key stakeholder and investor in the prestigious Dubai Sports City project *APO]]>

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