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Centurion hires new Business Development Manager to lead its European expansion
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Paloma Gutiérrez Keever
Paloma brings years of experience as a legal marketing consultant advising leading European and Latin American law firms on their communications and marketing strategies.

German based on demand legal firm has appointed Paloma Gutiérrez Keever to support the firm’s lawyer on-demand offering, Centurion Plus, in Europe. From our Frankfurt office, Paloma will be supporting the growth of Centurion (https://CenturionLG.com) with a focus on Germany. She will be instrumental in growing partnerships with European firms, corporations and increasing the firm’s presence across Western and Eastern Europe.

Paloma brings years of experience as a legal marketing consultant advising leading European and Latin American law firms on their communications and marketing strategies. Having worked with the most prestigious legal publishers in Europe, Paloma understands the shifting dynamics behind the practice of law in the 21st century. She will be instrumental in diversifying Centurion’s offering and growing the firm’s practice across Germany, where Centurion has had an office since 2019. 

“Our model has been very successful in reshaping the legal advisory industry. It was almost inevitable to expand into Germany and Europe. Flexible legal services are undeniably the future of practicing law and with Paloma joining the team, the opportunities are endless. Embracing change and the ability to adapt thereto is a golden thread at Centurion. We are extremely excited to welcome Paloma to the team and we look forward to her contribution in not only expanding but also elevating the Centurion Plus model in a very competitive European market,” said Leon van der Merwe, Director of Centurion Plus. 

“The German market was always a key market in our plans to expand our CenturionPlus model. Naturally, this is a very important move for us at the Firm, and for the growth of on-demand legal services in the world. We could not be more excited to have someone as experienced as Paloma on board to drive this initiative and further cement our brand in Germany and Europe,” stated Oneyka Ojogbo, Team Lead, Centurion International AG.

Paloma has an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Communications from Goldsmiths College, University of London. In 2017, she completed a copyright law certificate with Harvard University. 

With more than 160 lawyers, Centurion Plus platform is providing flexible solutions to clients that address mounting workloads and budgetary constraints. Centurion Plus is a platform which provides on-demand-lawyers that can work with clients on site or remotely, on various flexible models such as secondments, special projects, rotational work or flexible support. Clients also get the benefit of expertise at a far more competitive rate that reflects the significantly lower overhead costs of this model.

*SOURCE.Centurion Law Group
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Abbott Laboratories must understand that Africa has changed especially with Covid 19
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Abbott Laboratories miscalculated the situation believing that they were dealing with the old Africa where there would be no consequences for their reprehensible actions.

When Centurion Law Group decided to take on this matter against Abbott laboratories, we knew the classic misrepresentation and bullying will come.

We are not surprised at Abbott’s assertion that it is unaware of claims arising out of the company wilfully breaching contracts, failure to deliver Covid test kits, using politically exposed persons to circumvent contracts with suppliers (serious compliance violations), and, ultimately, preventing African governments from helping the poor at this critical time.

Abbott acknowledged receipt of the lead claimants’ initial notice with respect to its dealings in two African countries on 19 June 2020, through Bassem Bibi, Vice President & General Manager, Abbott Rapid Diagnostics EM Africa, and is now in receipt of notices with respect to claims amounting to over US$50 million in 3 countries, with other claims currently being consolidated. (https://bit.ly/2DtHNIu)

At this stage, we are not taking more claims off the table and there is no reason not to seek punitive damages, even in African courts. This is bigger than a client, suppliers and governments. African lives do matter and do count. Abbott Laboratories miscalculated the situation believing that they were dealing with the old Africa where there would be no consequences for their reprehensible actions. It’s a new day and a new generation. 

The countries needing these supplies have a population with an average age of 22 years. Most of them are healthy with strong immune systems and therefore there is a significant number of asymptomatic cases of Covid-19. Only widespread testing could curb transmission of the virus, by confirming the positive cases and treating new cases in order to stop contamination and deaths that could be avoided if test kits were available.

They accepted the orders from African states and instead focused on delivering the kits to other jurisdictions once they got the products from China. Abbott Laboratories understands more than anyone that this is wrong. We do not take this case lightly because African Lives do Matter, especially when it comes to the fight against Covid 19.

While we will not comment further on the substance of the case, we will continue to use every legal means to get justice and to hold Abbott Laboratories accountable.

*SOURCE Centurion Law Group
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Cameroon: ABA Centre for Human Rights, CHRDA trains Lawyers, HR Advocates on Trial Observation
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The two days training in Buea focused on Regional and international Fair Trial standards.
The two days training in Buea focused on Regional and international Fair Trial standards.

Lawyers and human rights advocates drew from Bamenda, Buea, Douala, Kumba, Limbe, Tiko, and Yaoundé converged in Buea for two days training on Trial Observation on Regional and international Fair Trial standards.

The event which took place July 10 and 11 was an initiative of the American Bar Association Centre for Human Rights, in partnership with the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA).

The two days event was aimed at edifying lawyers and human rights advocates on fair trial monitoring while following international standards. It was co-facilitated by Barrister Nkongho Felix Agbor, who is vice president of the African Bar Association in Charge of Central Africa and former president of the Fako Lawyers Association (FAKLA), and Barrister Nkea Emmanuel, who has over 15 years in practice and has served as Judge in the courts of the Gambia.

To Barrister Nkongho fair trial constitutes fundamental tenets of any democratic society, through which other rights may also be realized.  This definition was drawn from the decision of the African Commission on Human Peoples Right (ACHPR) in the case of Kevin Mwanga Gunme et al v. Cameroon, May 2009). This was a Cameroonian case that went before the ACHPR in which the standards for a fair trial were set.  

Barrister Nkongho stated that the ICCPR is one of the most important legal instrument used by human rights advocates to demand a fair trial and justice. He also mentioned regional legal instruments such as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Right (ACHPR) and encouraged the lawyers and human rights advocates to master the laws and such provisions in their day to day work and in issuing statements so that they are well informed of which right is violated when monitoring trials.

Bar. Nkea Emmanuel on his part began his presentation with a statement ‘fairness means getting justice and justice means getting peace’. To him, if everyone is treated fairly and equally, there would be no chaos in society and everyone will be at peace with each other.

As per the preamble of the constitution, he noted three elements; a) that everyone has right on arrest and Detention, b) Assistance of Legal Counsel, c) Rights of the Accused Person.  He also reiterated to the lawyers that as human rights advocates, it is important to know the provisions of the law which can be cited when a right is violated.

To the lawyers, one of the most serious problems faced in court is the problem of language and interpretation. Everything at the military tribunal as well as at the level of the national gendarmerie is done in the French language, and lawyers, as well as their clients of the English speaking extraction, cannot understand or communicate in French. They also noted that the space provided in prisons for lawyers to meet their clients is too small and some times more than 5 lawyers are meeting 5 different clients in one spot and the issue of confidentiality between the accused and his legal counsel becomes difficult.

In the words of Barrister Awungjia Tets from Buea, “it was my pleasure to have been part of this great initiative. I thank the organizers and the facilitators (Bar. NKongho Felix and Bar. Nkea Emmanuel) like Oliver Twist, I shall be waiting for more to come.”

Bar. Nkongme Dorcas from Yaoundé expressed her gratitude in similar words by stating that “I want to thank the organizers and facilitators for the rich knowledge shared with us, God bless you”.

Concluding, Barrister Nkongho stated that 25 lawyers, human rights defenders and trial observers from all over Cameroon have been trained to monitor and report on the conduct of trials in Courts in their communities to ensure that justice is not only done but should be seen to be done. This would help do away with the public perception that there is no justice in the country, as a judge who knows that he is being monitored for every action or decision he takes in Court would do only what is right.

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Cameroon: Strengthening Community-Based Protection in the Context of the Anglophone Crisis
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants at the workshop on strengthening communities participation mechanism and coping strategies
Participants at the workshop on strengthening communities participation mechanism and coping strategies

The Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa, CHRDA Friday, July 10, 2020, held a one-day workshop at Mile 16, South West Region on the theme “Analyzing and Strengthening Communities Protection Mechanisms and Coping Strategies, and Setting up Early Warning Systems.”

The workshop was realized with support from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Yaounde.

According to a note from CHRDA, during the first session of the workshop, participants enumerated the different protection mechanisms and coping strategies they have been using since the start of the Anglophone crisis ranging from hiding in the bushes, going to the farm in groups to outright displacement from areas of heavy fighting.

Together with the resource person, participants analyzed these different protection mechanisms and coping strategies to determine which of them could be harmful (prostitution and survival sex); which hurt family unity (sending young girls and boys away for fear they could be raped or forcefully recruited into armed fighting groups respectively); and which are acceptable and thus should be encouraged and strengthened.

This first session also exhorted humanitarian organizations to involve community members in all protection activities in a substantial and meaningful way from problem diagnosis to design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation because community members are best placed to understand their problems, the causes and effects and what the solutions are. They are the experts and humanitarian organizations should support and assist them with material and financial resources, and capacity building.

In the second session on the theme of Early Warning System, participants and the facilitator analyzed various signs that pre-date a conflict, signs that if well-read and understood might permit community members to take necessary measures to protect themselves or flee the potential conflict area.

There was also a discussion on early warning strategies that can be useful during an actual conflict like posting scouts at elevated points at the entrance of communities to spot movement or approach of government troops or armed fighters susceptible to commit human rights violations and alert the rest of the community.

Violence in Cameroon’s two-English speaking regions broke out in 2016 following the government’s crackdown of peaceful protest of teachers and lawyers who complained of marginalization. Non-state armed groups took up arms and demanded separation from La Republic du Cameroun.

The ongoing squabbles have caused more than 3,000 deaths and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. Some have taken up refuge in other regions while others are refugees in neighbouring Nigeria.

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Zambian President Lungu cited in Rwanda rebel leader case
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Lungu (left) chatting with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda during his official visit to Rwanda in February 2018
President Lungu (left) chatting with President Paul Kagame of Rwanda during his official visit to Rwanda in February 2018

President Edgar Lungu of Zambia has been named among supporters of Rwandan rebel group, National Liberation Forces, FLN, an army wing of Movement for Democratic changes in Rwanda.

FLN’s spokesperson Nsabimana Callixte alias Sankara was arrested in mid 2019 from Comoros, and brought before Rwandan courts where he faces dozens of charges.

The charges include terrorism, kidnapping, murder, Genocide denial, armed robbery, arson, forgery and causing bodily harm among others.

On Monday, 13 July, 2020 appearing before High Court Chamber for International Crimes in Nyanza, Nsabimana continued by explaining more about the charges brought against him.

He revealed  that in the end of 2017, President Edgar Lungu of Zambia promised MRCD’s chairman Paul Rusesabagina of helping them to overthrow current Rwanda’s government.

Nsabimana said that it is President Lungu who gave Rusesabagina 150 000 USD in advance. He allegedly said that such help motivated  MRCD army wing, FLN to organize attacks against Rwanda.

Early 2019, Nsabimana one of MRCD’s senior leader went in Zambia to meet president Lungu on his help to attack Rwanda, according to Sankara.

Nsabimana Callixte (left) told court that Zambian President Lungu supported FLN
Nsabimana Callixte (left) told court that Zambian President Lungu supported FLN

Nsabimana pleaded guilty to all charges but he said he was brainwashed.

FLN launched multiple attacks against Rwanda in 2018, which killed more than ten civilians according to prosecution. Properties including cars were damaged as well.

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Arcadia Cameroon Equips Young Entrepreneurs with Inimitable Business and Personal Development Skills
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

The young entrepreneurs and prospects during the Arcadia workshop were urged to set goals that they can achieve
The young entrepreneurs and prospects during the Arcadia workshop were urged to set goals that they can achieve

The 6th edition of the Arcadia workshop series has been organized with young Cameroonian entrepreneurs and prospects drilled on business and personal development skills.

The Arcadia Cameroon workshop is the brainchild of Pamela Happi, popularly known as Miss P, in partnership with the Miss P show and other sponsors were under the theme “Business and Personal Development”. The époque-making event this July 11, 2020, was spiced with great discussions on various topics such as “The Stand out strategy”, “Growth strategy”, and “Financial strategy”.

Speaking to the youths, the CEO of COSDEF Group Javnyuy Joybert said the right mindset requires deliberate practice. To him, practice is very important because one does not get up and is successful. “Succeeding takes a process, you learn, upskill, you succeed and people backstab you, many things happen,” He said. 

“For you to become a phenomenal expert in your field you need to go to work. The intense practice is good and for you to become an expert in your field you have to put in at least ten thousand hours. So we need to respect the basic practices of time, patience and hope.”

It is very important for young people to not only look at the industries that are booming now but should look at industries that will start booming in two or three years now. Many people are missing that, and there are industries by 2022 we are not going to see them. As COVID-19 is ending it is going to take away many industries.”

“… You need to look at what will change and what is going to stay the same, and how do I upskill in that direction… we need to look at what can I build to fill the gap, that is where foresight comes in, and creativity comes in.”

“Youths should have that mental strength, that massive action attitude that no matter what happens today there is a better tomorrow and I can take actions today that can give me the right success I want to see.”

With the present health pandemic, many businesses have gone out of business, while others are struggling to survive. One of the things to do to succeed in this present time is to be very agile, very dynamic and most of all very observant. “We are not going to go back to the way we were functioning because COVID-19 has destroyed many things and has also led to innovations. Some people will never again go to the physical office; they are going to work from home until they retire. As entrepreneurs we should always be observant, agile, create new ways of serving our customers.”

Speaking on the Growth Strategy with focus on goals setting, Marja Motanga, of Dunamis Safety Net told the young entrepreneurs and prospect that before they set goals they need to first understand the beliefs system in which they harbour coming from external influences. “You need to identify the things you are doing now because other people had told you it was right to do but it not what is helping you grow. You need to reverse those things and rewrite your own story,” She said.

“Goal setting is a process, it is not a one-day thing and there are so many characteristics you should take into consideration when you are going goal setting. You have to know. You need to know why you are setting it, who is holding you accountable, you need timelines, and you need to know what you are going to be doing to achieve those goals.”

She added: “Having an accountability partner and right mentors is very important, and your goals will always be defined by your vision and purpose in life. There are so many things around goal setting but the first thing is at least have that target because if you do not have the target you will end up anywhere.”

Nzima Yengue Landry, a participant said: “I came to the workshop to learn how to grow myself and develop my skills as I am into making videos on YouTube. This programme has changed my mindset. I believe in success and achieving your goals. I believe you can start small and you grow big.”

Participants at the 6th edition of the Arcadia workshop with theme Business and Personal Development
Participants at the 6th edition of the Arcadia workshop with theme Business and Personal Development

Netongo Ndolo Remy a school councillor and participant said the reason why she came to the workshop is that it was geared towards business and personal development since she is into that area. “What I have learnt is not something I knew but they have a different kind of insight they gave. I can say it was enriching and it has added to the knowledge I already had,” She said.

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Cameroon: Makoge Collins, Biggy237 Contestant “Extraordinaire”
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

The King of “Talk and Do” has the prime objective of winning the competition and giving back to his community.

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

25-year-old Makoge Collins was born in Kumba and is a Journalist and sales representative

The inaugural version of a reality show termed “Biggy237” is set to hit TV screens across the country this August 1, 2020. Biggy237 was set to begin in January 2020, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was pushed forward.

61 contestants from across the country are set to enter the inaugural show. One of the contestants set to thrill viewers is Makoge Collins, Biggy contestant No.18. A graduate from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, 25-year-old Makoge Collins was born in Kumba, into a family of six children, being the last child, is a journalist at HiTV Cameroon, a sales representative at Colgate-Palmolive Distribution Company.

In an exclusive interview with Pan African Visions Cameroon correspondent this July 13, 2020, the self-styled king of “Talk and Do” say through Biggy 237 he intends to be one of the best Cameroonian entertainment journalists and also plan to become a creative Director.

PAV: How did you get involved in Biggy 237?

Makoge Collins: I saw the ad on Facebook but I was not interested because I was like it is another competition in Cameroon that things will go sideways. When it comes to competitions in Cameroon they always give it to the wrong persons, focusing on like, votes, and shares which for me is not a good way to say somebody merits an award. I was persuaded by my friend to go in for it, and I sat I thought what do I have to lose if go in for it? I did an audition video and send, and everything just exploded from there. With time, I knew that I needed the exposure, for people to see what I can do, and to see entertainment at its core.

Collins Makoge, contestant No. 18 for the inaugural Biggy 237 competition

PAV: What are some of the tasks you have been able to achieve so far?

Makoge Collins: We had four tasks that were presented and voted on. The first task was selling our location since as I am from Buea I sold it to tourists to make them interested to come to Buea. We had other tasks like how will you protect the environment; show how you care about your family and do an advert. All these things were very easy for me because it is something I love doing. It was a fun exercise.

They (organizers) told us that the winners will get a prize or something as it was based on votes and likes. There were many contestants whose tasks were not good at all based on quality and content. The panel knew that but since the contestants were popular hey had more views, likes and shares and votes because they could afford it. That is the only issue I faced with the assigned tasks.

PAV: What makes you stand out from the other 60 contestants competing?

Makoge Collins: What you see is what you get. I will not go there and be fake but I am going to be myself. I am confident and if I know I can’t do something I say it. With me Collins I am the king of talk and do. Even if it means I might fail or not always the winner it won’t stop me because I will work hard next time so I do better. I will not let anything stand in my way, I am a fighter. It is all about impressing people, creating awareness of what I can do. Many contestants will be like I can do this and that but with what I have seen, not all can do what they say they can do. What I see is just a brand but it is empty, it does not come with a package.

PAV: So what is your ambition?

Makoge Collins: I want to be one of the best entertainment journalists in Cameroon. With this (Biggy 237), it will give me great exposure. I also intend to become a creative Director. I like coming up with unique ideas, something different because with entertainment or fashion, unique or something different stands out more. I intend owning a business as it is my plan B. Apart from journalism, I want to be a great business person because have that mindset.

PAV: What are your telling your supporters and fans?

Makoge Collins: I am telling them that that thank you very much for standing by Collins, for being on this journey, for the push, for believing in me even when I did not fully believe in myself because what they tell me I feel like I can do more. I want to do more, not just for myself, my family but for them. If I end up winning, it is not just for me because it is always good to give back to society. I will make sure that they get a token of my prize, it might not be much but just to say thank you. I want to make them know that they are under the right flag, they are supporting the right person and we are going to fight till the end.

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Japan donates over $600,000 to combat terrorism in Mozambique
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos

The government of Japan will disburse $643,000 to combat terrorism through development projects aimed at promoting peace among vulnerable groups directly affected by armed attacks in Cabo Delgado province, extreme north of Mozambique.

With the project, the Japanese government hopes to promote peace mechanisms, social cohesion and conflict prevention by strengthening institutional capacity, awareness, community involvement and livelihoods in Cabo Delgado.

“Poverty and marginalisation are some of the risk factors that may increase instability in the province. Therefore, our government has decided to support mainly displaced population groups and communities with existing tensions due to violent conflicts,” said the Japanese Ambassador in Mozambique, Kimura Hajime.

He noted that the initiative will improve awareness of violence prevention and livelihood capacity in Cabo Delgado, saying “through this project we will support about 3,200 families, about 16,000 people”.

The implementation of the project will be coordinated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with the Ministry of Interior; the Police of the Republic of Mozambique (PRM); and the Ministry of State Administration and Public Service (MAEFP).

The UNDP Representative in Mozambique, Francisco Roquette, said that the project should help young people and women, having as main focus three pillars namely resilience, socio-economic integration and social cohesion.

“We want to empower and promote opportunities above all for young people and women who, despite being the most vulnerable to conflict, have the greatest potential to promote significant and lasting impact changes in Cabo Delgado province,” he said.

The permanent secretary of the Interior Ministry, Zefanias Muhate, acknowledged that Cabo Delgado has been the scene of terrorist actions that undermine the country’s development. He expressed his appreciation for the initiative saying it adds value to the government’s peacekeeping efforts in the province.

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African Development Bank Group Appoints Dr. Rabah Arezki as Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr Rabah Arezki, a citizen of Algeria, is currently the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, a role he has held since 2017.

The African Development Bank Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Rabah Arezki as Chief Economist and Vice President, Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, effective 1st October 2020.

Dr Rabah Arezki, a citizen of Algeria, is currently the Chief Economist for Middle East and North Africa Region at the World Bank, a role he has held since 2017.

At the World Bank, he led the development of the Bank’s “moonshot approach” for the Middle East and Africa which aims to achieve full internet and digital payment connectivity. He championed the agenda on fair competition, data and transparency to empower and unlock the potential of the region’s youth.

Prior to joining the World Bank, Dr Arezki worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2006 to 2017. He started his career at the IMF as an Economist and became the Chief of the Commodities and Environment Unit in the Research Department. He provided leadership on IMF’s rapid response to the historical collapse in oil prices that started in 2014. He advised authorities all around the world on risk mitigation policies.

Dr Arezki is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, an external Research Associate at the Oxford University, UK, a research fellow at the CESifo, a global independent research network. Dr. Arezki is also a resource person for the African Economic Research Consortium and a Research Fellow at the Economic Research Forum. He has been a non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute, USA.

He has published extensively both in top academic journals and policy-oriented outlets and is a co-editor and co-author of five books including Shifting Commodity Markets in a Globalized World. Many of his research papers have been cited extensively in academic circles and in prominent media outlets. 

“The African Development Bank is making excellent progress in accelerating Africa’s development. I am excited with the opportunity to work with President Adesina and the Bank’s leadership and teams to further provide top notch policy, knowledge and capacity building support for African countries, ” Dr Arezki said about his appointment.

Dr Arezki holds a Masters in Economics and Statistics from Ecole Nationale de la Statistique et de l’Administration Economique (ENSAE) – France (2003), and a PhD in Economics from the European University Institute – Italy (2006). He is multilingual and fluent in French, English, and Arabic.

“I am delighted that Dr. Rabah Arezki is joining the African Development Bank Group following an impactful career at the World Bank and the IMF. Rabah is an outstanding researcher and policy expert with extensive experience in research, policy and reforms,” President of the African Development Bank Group Akinwumi Adesina said.

“His leadership will be especially important as the Bank designs and deploys policy-based operations to address COVID-19, advances policy reforms, and supports African countries growth recovery efforts from the pandemic,” Adesina added.
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African Energy Chamber Salutes the Bank of Central African States (BEAC)’s Authorization to Open Foreign Currency-labelled Escrow Accounts
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Chamber notes the leadership of the BEAC in taking initiatives that will preserve jobs, encourage local content and help the oil & gas sector recover.

In its Ordinary Meeting held on July 2nd, 2020, the Board of Directors of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) has allowed the opening of foreign currency escrow accounts by petroleum and mining operators. The authorization was given within the implementation framework of key dispositions of Regulation No. 02/18/CEMAC/UMAC pertaining to foreign currency exchanges within the CEMAC region. 

The African Energy Chamber wishes to salute such pragmatism and notes the BEAC’s willingness to offer the best enabling environment for the oil & gas industry in the wake of the ongoing crisis. Earlier this year, the Chamber had joined several industry stakeholders in calling on the BEAC to relax its currency controls rules adopted in June 2019.

“We applaud the BEAC for listening to the private sector concerns and for adopting a pragmatic approach to foreign currency regulations in the wake of the ongoing crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the historic crash in oil prices. Such a move falls in line with the African Energy Chamber’s commonsense agenda to help Africa recover from the Covid 19 pandemic,” declared Leoncio Amada NZE, President for the CEMAC region at the African Energy Chamber. “This is good for our local industry and for staying competitive. The measure will be a significant boost to local content development, and ultimately local jobs creation across Central Africa,” he concluded.

In its latest Commonsense Energy Agenda, the African Energy Chamber notably called on financial institutions and central banks to set up stronger dialogue mechanisms with the private sector and industry stakeholders to address current industry challenges. The Chamber notes the leadership of the BEAC in taking initiatives that will preserve jobs, encourage local content and help the oil & gas sector recover.

The Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) is made up of six states: Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, the Republic of the Congo and Equatorial Guinea.
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Sierra Leone:MSSL Programme boss calls on government to Overhaul reproductive rights of women
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

The Programme and Operations Director , Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, (MSSL)  Madam Emerica King
Emerica King , Programme Director Marie Stopes Sierra Leone speaking during PARHA’s press briefing on last Wednesday

The Programme and Operations Director , Marie Stopes Sierra Leone, (MSSL)  Madam Emerica King ,  has called on the government to guarantee women access to contraceptive information and services so as to guarantee reproductive autonomy of all women in the country.

Madam Emerica King made the above statement on Wednesday 8th July during the People Alliance for Reproductive Health Advocacy (PARHA) press briefing on the need for a law reform for the protection and promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Sierra Leone at the Civil Service Training College, Tower Hill in Freetown.

“Address gender stereotypes and socialized gender roles  that inhibit women’s access to reproductive health services . Take all necessary measures to guarantee all women confidential access to a wide range  of contraceptive methods,’ ’she said.

Madam King said as an institution that has been working in the country for over 32 years providing quality sexual reproductive Health services to women and girls , and also providing Post Abortion Care (PAC) in their  centres in all 14 districts in the country.

“ MSSL has trained over 232 service providers in PAC in the public sector of which 91% are level one , in addition to our outreach and centre  teams who provides daily services to our women and girls . we are presently in close discussions with SLUDI on the provision of SRH services to women and girls living with disabilities . As I speak , the Rainy Season Koba Klos promotion is presently on,’’ Madam King said, adding that women and girls are encouraged to come forth and benefit from LARC and STI counselling services .

Madam King added that unsafe abortion has long and short-term complication which can lead to upper genital tract , infertility , risk of ectopic pregnancies , spontaneous abortion in subsequent pregnancies among other impacts which can be very dangerous to the health of women and girls in the country.

“ In conclusion , although PAC is a legal and lifesaving that it does not go far enough given one in 4 women will access abortion care in their life time and the high rates of maternal mortality caused by unsafe abortion particularly for adolescents,’’ MSSL programme director said.

The Programme and Operations Director went on to say that 15- 19-year-old pregnancy and child birth complications are the leading cause of death globally adding that adolescents are more likely to use unsafe methods and the consequences can be devastating , lifelong and even fatal thus 70% of hospitalisations due to unsafe abortion are among girls below 20 years of age.

 Speaking about PARHA , Fodie Paul Oneil Kamara , said , PARHA is a Coalition of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) advocates in the country adding that the membership ranges from among NGOs ,CSOs, Faith leaders, community Based Organisations and individuals working around SRHR issues.

He said the thought of establishing the PARHA coalition  took inspiration from the several appalling data  reported on maternal death, teenage pregnancy ,sexually transmitted infections , HIV/AIDS , sexual & Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and other human rights abuses /violations presented by both the Government of Sierra Leone  and her development partners.

 “The work of PARHA focuses on four broad activities  like advocacy , research , trainings and empowerment and participation, ‘’Fodie said.

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AATF explores digital agriculture solutions that could impact livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Africa
July 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin, the Director of Technical Operations at AATF

Access to market and increase in agricultural productivity have been identified as the most viable areas where adoption of digital agriculture solutions has the greatest potential to positively impact the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), according to agricultural experts.

The experts, including key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, met during a 2-day workshop on Digital Agriculture convened by the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) in Nairobi.

The aim of the workshop was to identify key opportunities, blockages and challenges along the agriculture value chain and to evaluate which existing digital solutions are most scalable in SSA and if adopted by smallholder farmers would cause the greatest impact on their livelihoods.

Access to markets was identified as a  critical area for digital agriculture solutions to enhance linkages between producers and key value chain actors and as a result increase revenue for farmers by enhancing their direct bargaining power in the value chain during trade.

The participants suggested different digital solutions already in existence that could be scaled to link farmers to markets through aggregated distribution; cooperative or aggregated selling and mobile price information. The opportunities identified to enhance market access included certification and quality assurance, seed trade facilitation and quality management.

Further, the experts noted that for farmers to increase productivity value, they need to increase their yields or produce high quality produce. To this end, farmers must purchase and use certified seeds and fertilizers which are often expensive for individual smallholder farmers. Thus, aggregating demand and purchases might make critical inputs more accessible for farmers to increase their productivity.

“From the workshop deliberations, the above two opportunities were considered likely most impactful for value chain transformation with biggest benefits on small-holder farmers and stakeholders,” said Dr. Emmanuel Okogbenin, the Director of Technical Operations at AATF.

He added that AATF, in alignment with its new strategy (2018 – 2022), will seek to promote digitization of the value chains to rapidly reach and deliver production technologies to small-holder farmers with the required information needed to adequately guide their application for better productivity and improved access to markets.

“Digital technologies for precision agriculture will be used to strengthen productive systems to optimize resource use management, explore economies of scale to advantage and stimulate low costs. AATF will need to ensure the right digital technologies are targeted and facilitated to reach farmers to ensure strong impact including creating a functional environment with necessary regulatory frameworks and policies to support deployment, capacity building (e-literacy, and digital skills) for small holder farmers and youths in the rural areas,” said Dr. Okogbenin.

AATF is empowering smallholder farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa with a wide choice of agricultural innovations that generate wealth and health for their families and communities.

Digital technologies and innovations have been identified as key solutions to revolutionizing processes crucial for improving farmer productivity power at low cost, support data-enabled farming, increase access to information, knowledge, input and markets to generate more social, economic and environmental benefits for farmers.

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