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Cyclone Eloise to hit Mozambique this week, one month after Cyclone Chalane
January 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The low pressure system forming in the Indian Ocean has now become Tropical Storm Eloise – and is forecast to hit the Mozambican coast on 23-24 January.

According to Mozambique’s meteorological institute, it will affect the provinces of Zambezia, Sofala, and Inhambane.

At 8:00 monday, the storm was 730km from the coast of Madagascar, and was expected to hit Madagascar on Wednesday, 20 January, before entering the Mozambique Channel on Thursday, 21 January – potentially affecting maritime traffic.

This comes barely a month after another cyclone, Chalane had hit Mozambique and Zimbabwe although the effects were not grave compared to Cyclone Idai that swept the Southern parts of Africa in 2019.

In Manicaland, Cyclone Chalane reportedly left a trail of destruction after several electricity poles reportedly fell down because of the strong winds.

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The Great Green Wall and the African Development Bank’s TAAT: two bold initiatives planting Africa’s seeds of change
January 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

Just five years ago, Sudan’s farmers harvested a mere 472,000 tons of wheat from about a quarter-million hectares of land. Today, the Sahel country  is on the cusp of becoming a regional breadbasket.

One of the reasons for Sudan’s agricultural turnaround is the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) program, which is funded by the African Development Bank. Within the next four years, TAAT aims to raise Africa’s food output by 100 million tons and lift 40 million people out of poverty by harnessing high-impact, proven technologies to raise agricultural productivity and mitigate food-security risks associated with climate change.

“Now, we consistently have good-quality wheat and in record quantities,” said Daf’Allah Mohamed Ahmed, a Sudanese farmer taking part in the TAAT program, which includes the provision of training on production techniques. “My wheat yield increased from 2.5 tons to 5 tons,” said Ahmed, with a broad smile.

The new agricultural technologies not only improve harvests but also enhance the quality of life for thousands of families in Sudan.

Sudan and other TAAT success stories have led the Bank to advance other initiatives to fuel the continent’s agricultural transformation. At the One Planet Summit on January 11, 2021 the Bank pledged to help mobilize up to $6.5 billion over five years to advance the Great Green Wall project, which aims to plant an 8,000 km-long swathe of trees, grassland and vegetation across the Sahel to rejuvenate degraded terrain, create green jobs and reduce political instability.

The resources will be made available through a range of programmes supporting the Great Green Wall by drawing on internal as well as external sources of funding, such as the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Green Climate Fund, among others.

The Bank has made the Sahel a top priority for investment and for mobilising new sources of finance to advance Africa’s climate adaptation opportunities. Climate change has led to extreme temperatures and fluctuating rainfall and drought in the region, home to 250 million people across several countries. Millions of livelihoods and hard-won development progress are threatened.

TAAT’s results in Sudan, one of the GGW countries, hold promise for the initiative’s

success. Through TAAT, Sudanese farmers gained access to heat-tolerant wheat varieties and other productivity-enhancing technologies, helping the country to boost yields and move closer to self-sufficiency in the production of wheat, a staple.

While ordinary wheat typically produces high yields at temperatures between 20 and 26 degrees Celsius, heat-tolerant wheat seeds thrive in areas where field temperatures exceed 30 degrees.

Since 2017, the program has rolled out improved, certified seeds that are better suited to Sudan’s hot and dry climate. As a result, the country recently recorded its largest wheat harvest. Wheat production in 2020 reached 1.1 million tons from 315,500 hectares of farmland. Development experts say the nation is on a path to becoming Africa’s next powerhouse wheat producer.

The Great Green Wall initiative, coordinated by the African Union, will promote the inclusive, green development in the Sahel and Sahara regions, a goal that has gained added urgency as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bank President Akinwumi Adesina noted as much during the One Planet Summit, saying “as we rebuild from the coronavirus and its impacts on our world, we must recalibrate growth. We must prioritise growth that protects the environment and biodiversity, and we must de-prioritise growth that compromises our common goals.”

*AfDB

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Africa Free Trade Agreement: President Adesina receives award for strong leadership and support
January 19, 2021 | 0 Comments

African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina and 10 African Heads of State and Government were on Friday honoured  for their leadership in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) process.

The AfCFTA, the largest free trade area in the world, began trading on 1 January 2021 and is expected to speed up the recovery of the continent and enhance its resilience by increasing the level of intra-African trade in goods and services.

The award was organised by AeTrade Group in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Business Council, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and the East African Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture.

“As Africans, we are proud of the extraordinary effort made by our leaders towards the success of the AfCFTA,” said former Prime Minister of Ethiopia Hailemariam Boshe at an event held at the Addis Ababa headquarters of the African Union and joined virtually  by many participants.

Boshe, a patron of the AeTrade Group, thanked the awardees for their strong leadership in the process that led to the AfCFTA coming into force.

Ambassador Albert Muchanga, African Union Commissioner for Trade and Industry, noted that the AfCFTA had generated strong support in Africa and the Diaspora, “and we are proud to acknowledge our champions who have been at the forefront of this process.”

He took the opportunity to thank the heads of state and governments whose countries have ratified the Free Trade Agreement and invited others to follow suit.

“We are also celebrating the key milestones achieved from when we laid the foundation for the initiative to the official start of trading on January 1. I would like to call on governments and the private sector to take advantage of the opportunities created by the continental initiative to make Africa more prosperous,” added Muchanga.

The Chairman of the AeTrade Group, Mulualem Syoum, thanked the African Development Bank, under the leadership of Dr. Adesina, for its outstanding technical guidance and financial support to the process.

“Moving forward, we want the private sector to speak with one voice.  The AfCFTA has shown the way. To ensure effective implementation, it is time for the private sector to play its role. The Africa that we want can only be achieved through working together,” Syoum said. “We are confident that there is no need for Africa to depend on aid. We can spur domestic mobilization of resources and synergies.”

Dr. Amany Asfour, Interim Chair of the African Business Council, emphasized the role of the private sector in implementing the AfCFTA. “We in the private sector are committed to the implementation of this initiative. We will support Africa to actualise the free trade area.”

Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, President of the Federation of West African Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Charles Kahuthu, CEO of the East African Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture, echoed Asfour’s sentiments.

“Jobs have to be restored and livelihoods and economies revived,” Kahuthu said. “We also need to come together to promote products made in Africa to effectively implement the AfCFTA.”

The awardees included Felix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo and incoming Chairperson of the African Union; Egyptian President Ahmed Fattah Al-Sisi; His Majesty King Mswati III, Ngwenyama of Eswatini; Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana; Alpha Conde, President of Guinea; Mahamadou Issoufou, President of Niger; Muhamadu Buhari, President of Nigeria; Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, and Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, Chairperson of the African Union.

Two former heads of state, Hailemariam Desalegn Boshe, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia, and Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, were also honoured.

AeTrade Group is a multi-stakeholder group of African Diaspora professionals and businesspeople, with affiliation to the African Union Commission.

*Source AfDB

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FIFA President supports African football’s restart in Cameroon
January 19, 2021 | 0 Comments
Gianni Infantino concluded a two-day trip to Cameroon
Infantino was received in audience by President Paul Biya of Cameroon
Infantino was received in audience by President Paul Biya of Cameroon
YAOUNDE, Cameroon, January 18, 2021/ — FIFA President Gianni Infantino concluded a two-day trip to Cameroon, where he has met with dignitaries of the country and key officials from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and the Cameroonian Football Association (Fecafoot). The trip coincided with the start of the African Nations Championship (CHAN), which is being hosted in three Cameroon cities from 16 January until 7 February 2021.

The FIFA President, who was received in a private audience by Paul Biya, the President of the Republic of Cameroon, at the Unity Palace in Yaounde on Friday, subsequently attended a ceremony which conferred the title of CAF Honorary President to Issa Hayatou, who presided over the confederation from 1988 to 2017.

“I had the pleasure of providing President Biya with an update in relation to FIFA’s role in supporting football, not only in Cameroon, but also across Africa and globally,” said the FIFA President, who was accompanied at the meeting by CAF President Constant Omari. The FIFA President would also later meet Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Ngute during the visit to Yaounde.

“Equally, meeting with CAF and Fecafoot officials, it was important to show FIFA’s support to football in Cameroon and across the African continent, especially as the African Nations Championship just kicked off, the first international tournament being played in 2021, and spectators are attending matches according to the safety protocols which have been established,” the FIFA President added. “It sends an important message to have football restarting in Africa, particularly in an indisputable football country such as Cameroon.”

Prior to leaving the country, Gianni Infantino attended the opening ceremony and the opening match of the CHAN final tournament, where hosts Cameroon narrowly overcame Zimbabwe at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium in Yaounde. In total, 16 African national teams are participating in what is the sixth African Nations Championship, a biennial tournament which involves players from the respective domestic leagues.

The event has also received support from FIFA as, since October 2020, CAF has been using FIFA’s COVID Relief Fund grant (USD 2 million) to restart their competitions, with the medical protocols, flights and accommodation for match officials at CHAN being subsidised through this funding.
*FIFA

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How Optimized Energy Management Delivers Reliability, Efficiency and Sustainability at the Fekola Gold Mine
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Luke Witmer*

Since B2Gold first acquired the Fekola gold mine, located in a remote corner of southwest Mali, exploration studies revealed the deposits to be almost double the initial estimates. A recent site expansion has just been completed, and while the existing power units provide enough power to support the increase in production, the company sought to reduce its energy costs, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and increase power reliability. The addition of a 35MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and 17MW/15MWh of energy storage to the existing 64MW thermal engine plant was decided. This new energy mix is anticipated to save over 13 million litres of fuel, reduce carbon emissions by thirty-nine thousand tons per year, and generate a payback in just over four years.

Such an elaborate hybrid configuration needs a powerful brain to deliver on all its potential: Wärtsilä’s GEMS, an advanced energy management system, has been set up to control the energy across the fleet of power sources, thermal, renewable, and battery storage. The integration, control, and optimization capabilities provided by GEMS allow the thermal units to be run at the most efficient rate and enable the battery storage to handle the large load step changes and volatility of the solar PV generation assets.

Integrated Hybrid Energy Solution  

In the context of the Fekola mine, which is an off-grid electrical island, the battery is performing a lot of different services simultaneously, including frequency response, voltage support, shifting solar energy, and providing spinning reserves. The energy load is very flat, with a steady consumption rate around 40MW as the mining equipment is operating consistently, 24/7. However, if an engine trips offline and fails, the battery serves as an emergency backstop. The controls reserve enough battery energy capacity to fill the power gap for the time it takes to get another engine started, and the software inside each inverter enables the battery to respond instantaneously to any frequency deviation.

The reciprocating engines operate most efficiently at 85-90 percent of their capacity, this is their “sweet spot”. But if there is a sudden spike in demand, if a little more power is needed, or if mining equipment is coming online, then another engine needs to be run to meet the extra load. With the battery providing spinning reserves, the engines can be kept running at their sweet spot, reducing the overall cost per kilowatt hour. Moreover, with the solar plant providing power during the day, three to four engines can be shut down over this period, providing a quiet time to carry out preventive maintenance. This really helps the maintenance cycle, ensuring that the engines operate in a more efficient manner.

Solar PV volatility can be intense. On a bright day with puffy clouds passing by a solar farm of this size can easily see ramps of 25MW over a couple of minutes. This requires intelligent controls, dynamically checking the amount of solar that can be let into the grid without causing an issue for the engine loadings or without overloading the battery.  

Conducting the Orchestra

The GEMS intelligent software provides the optimization layer that controls all the power sources to ensure that they work together in harmony. The user interface (UI) gives access to all the data and presents it in a user-friendly way. Accessible remotely, all operations are simulated on a digital twin in the cloud to verify the system controls and simulate the most efficient operating scenarios to lower the cost of energy. This is an important software feature, both during and after commissioning as it allows operators to train on the platform ahead of time and familiarise themselves with the automated controls and dynamic curtailment of renewables. The UI provides the forecast for renewables and the battery charge status at any given moment, it can provide push email or phone notifications for alerts; telling operators when to turn off an engine and when to turn it back on.

The software is constantly analysing the data and running the math to solve the economic dispatch requirements and unit commitment constraints to ensure grid reliability and high engine efficiency. Load forecasting integrates the different trends and patterns that are detectable in historic data as well as satellite based solar forecasting to provide a holistic approach to dispatching power. The Fekola site has a sky imager, or cloud tracking camera with a fisheye lens, that provides solar forecasts for the next half hour in high temporal resolution.

To ensure that operators really understand the platform, and have visibility over the advanced controls, the UI provides probability distributions of the solar forecast. Tracking the forecast errors enables operators to see whether the solar is overproducing or underproducing what the forecast was expecting at the time and provides visibility to the operators on the key performance indicators. This feedback is an important part of the machine/human interface and provides operators with insight if an engine is required to be turned on at short notice.

Automated curtailment enables the optimization of the system providing a reactivity that people cannot match. By continually monitoring the engine loadings and battery, the system is ready to clamp down on solar if it gets too volatile or exceeds some spinning reserve requirement. For example, if a large, unexpected cloud arrives, the battery is dispatched to fill the gap while the engines ramp up. Once the cloud disappears however, the engines remain committed to operating for a few hours, and the solar power is transferred to recharge the battery.

Over time, as load patterns shift, the load forecasting algorithm will also be dynamically updating to match the changing realities of the load. As mining equipment hits layers of harder rock, increasing the power load, the system will adjust and dispatch the engines accordingly.

Hybrid solutions will become the new gold standard for off-grid heavy energy users

The Fekola mine project incorporates the largest off-grid hybrid power solution in the world, demonstrating the growing case for clean energy and its sustainable and economic potential for mines in Africa and beyond.

As the cost of batteries and solar panels continues to become more competitive, hybrid solutions are proving to be a realistic and effective means for increasing energy reliability and lowering operating costs in any context, thus freeing up resources to improve the human condition; whether through cheaper materials and gainful employment, or by providing broader access to reliable electricity for healthcare, education, and improved quality of life. 

*General Manager, Data Science, Wärtsilä Energy Storage and Optimization

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Kenya:Diaspora remittances hit ksh340 billion in 2020
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Despite the global economic downturn occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic, Kenya’s diaspora remittance grew by 10.7 per cent from January to December 2020.

Kenyan government received ksh340 billion, which is equivalent to $3.094 billion, from its citizens living and working abroad, according to data released by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK).

CBK Governor Dr. Patrick Njoroge noted that last year’s remittance was higher than ksh307.7 billion ($2,796 million) recorded in 2019.

Dr. Njoroge attributed the growth in figures to financial innovations that provided numerous channels for transactions.

“This remarkable growth of remittance has been supported by financial innovations, that provided Kenyans in the diaspora with more convenient channels for their transactions,” Dr. Patrick Njoroge said.

In the same period, Kenya also recorded an increase in the inflow of ksh33 billion ($299.6 million) in the month of December from ksh28 billion in the month of September.

The country’s April remittance hit a low record after it registered ksh22.9 billion from ksh25 billion, and it was projected to slump further in the future. This was due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. 

Nevertheless, the inflows started to increase the following month and continued to rise nonstop, indicating that the Word Bank’s projection was correct.

The international bank had anticipated that Kenya would bear fewer consequences of Covid-19 in source countries compared to its neighbours.

“Within the region, remittances to Kenya have so far stayed positive, though flows are likely to eventually decline in 2021. All major remittance-receiving countries will likely see a decline of remittances,” World Bank reported.

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Zambia:Copper Giants Sets Sights on improving working conditions for miners
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu.

First Quantum Minerals Limited which operates Kansanshi Mining Private Limited Company [PLC] , the biggest Copper mine in Africa descended on collective bargaining agreement arising from collective bargaining unit negotiations for the year 2021 to 2022. This comes in the wake of regular news release from Langmead and Baker Limited  based in Zambia .  

 Sweet deal negotiations look at better salaries, corporate social responsibility, agronomical, educational allowances, pension schemes and standardized   conditions of service between Kansanshi Mining [Private] Limited] Company and five big giant mining unions of Zambia.

 Mine Workers Union [ MWU]

National Union of Mining Allied Workers [NUMAW]

United Mine Workers Union of Zambia

Miners and Allied Workers Union

Consolidated Mine Workers Union of Zambia [CMWUZ]

The above collectively represent 2,500 unionized workers/ employees at its mine in Solwezi. Collective Bargaining Unit representatives are from Kansanshi Management. The negotiations concluded on Wednesday 13 January 2021.

Kansanshi Mining [Private][Limited] General Manager, Antony Mukutuma said the conditions of service agreed are favorable to a mass of mine workers whose past conditions have been degrading and low. He added that the agreement meant to end on 31st December 2022 is a collective agreement that brings together all workers into a union that has people at heart.

‘’ Let us all together value the people who do work on ground by giving them better conditions. This is what we have agreed to, like salary increment, minimum basic salary for lowest paid employees has been adjusted to suit better, good conditions. Besides there are educational allowances and introduction of pension scheme ‘’

Salary increments of 15% for 2021 and 11% for 2022. Minimum basic salary for the lowest paid employees adjusted to K4,460/ month.

Educational allowances increased to K2,800/term for 2021 and to K3,108 / per term for 2022. There is introduction of a company sponsored private pension scheme for all employees. The company will contribute 5% basic pay to each employee.

‘’ Let us focus on production. Let us as well support local communities during this covid-19 pandemic. Let us as well build business resilience’’. Antony Mukutuma is a General Manager of such stylistic notion.

First Quantum Minerals Limited mines gold, copper and zinc. It is International. Is found in Zambia, Spain, Mauritius, Australia, Finland, Turkey, Panama, Argentina and Peru. At World-wide scale of mining business, it has produced 702,000 tons of copper, 257,000 ounces of gold and 18,000 tons of zinc. Kansanshi is the largest copper mine in Africa. It runs as well Sentinel Mine and Smelter in Kalumbila. Zambia is the second   largest copper mining country in Africa and ranks amongst the third in the world

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Kenya: Prominent Leaders Trade Barbs Over Land Grabbing
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Deputy President (DP) William Ruto and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.Photo courtesy
Deputy President (DP) William Ruto and former Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka.Photo courtesy

Deputy President (DP) William Ruto and former vice president Kalonzo Musyoka have been involved in the heated verbal exchange over land grabbing allegations.

The dispute between the duo was elicited by Kalonzo’s claims that Ruto ignored other communities in his 50 per cent share of the top government positions. Instead, he awarded the posts to men and women from his community.

“Who doesn’t know that Uhuru got 50 per cent of the government and Ruto 50 per cent, to the exclusion of everybody else. At least, Uhuru took his 50 per cent as a national leader and gave out some slots to other communities,” said Kalonzo.

In rejoinder, the second in command hit back at the Wiper party leader, claiming the only legacy he left behind after serving as the vice president and in the various government dockets is the grabbing of 200 acres of National Youth Service (NYS) land in Yatta, Machakos county.

Address the press on Monday, January 18, 2021, Kalonzo denied claims that he grabbed the government land. He accused Ruto of disparaging his reputation and asked the investigative agencies to move in and conduct investigations distancing himself from the deputy president’s allegations.

“I have nothing to hide and I today challenge the authorities to open an investigation into this matter. I am today presenting myself for a thorough investigation by the Directorate of Criminal Investigation as well as the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission. I want the matter settled once and for all. Indeed, this is the time to separate the truth from lies and malicious propaganda,” he said.

In retaliation, Kalonzo branded Ruto a chief land grabber listing several scandals which he claimed have been linked to the DP.

Some of the scandals listed include the Weston Hotel land saga, attempted land grabbing of Lang’ata Road primary school, more than 100 acres belonging to the late Adrian Muteshi, and land belonging to Joseph Murumbi, Kenya’s first vice president, among many others.

Kalonzo challenged Ruto to present himself for probe concerning numerous graft allegations, calling himself a person of high moral and ethical standards.

He further accused the former agriculture minister of inciting Kenyans and causing divisions ahead of 2022 polls.

“DP Ruto has been fomenting bitter division and a class war instead of preaching unity and cohesiveness. As a disrupter of law and order, he is easily comparable to outgoing US President Donald Trump. People like DP Ruto must not be given the chance to wreak havoc through manipulation. They must be stopped on their tracks,” he added.

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Rwanda:COVID -19 Surge Puts Kigali in total Lockdown
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

The capital Kigali was put under lockdown due to the surge of Covid-19 cases
The capital Kigali was put under lockdown due to the surge of Covid-19 cases

Due to the surge into Covi-19 cases, Rwanda’s capital Kigali has been placed under total lockdown since this Monday, 18th January 2021.

The announcement was made this Monday after a cabinet meeting that was chaired by President Paul Kagame.

In one week, Rwanda has recorded more than 1400 Covid-19 cases, with 22 deaths. Over 60 % of total cases have been found in Kigali.

Schools, businesses and public transport were banned in the capital during next 15 days. According to the statement, only essential services like medical, banks and food shopping are allowed.

Dr Ngamije Daniel, Minister of Health told national television that lockdown was the only option ‘to put down’ the increase of cases, as Rwanda awaits vaccine in coming weeks.

The move comes a day after government shut down all schools in Kigali, due to the increase in Covid-19 cases over recent weeks.

Since March last year, Rwanda has recorded 11 032 where 142 have died.

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REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR: WHERE ART THOU?
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Chris Fomunyoh and Judith Johnson*

If ever there was extraordinary significance in the celebration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day, it is now.  Everything Dr. King, the civil rights icon, worked and died for; his voice and vision, and what he continues to represent is being tested in today’s America and the world at large. The bedrock of Dr. King’s life and legacy — social justice, racial equality, equity and inclusion, human dignity and non violence — are being tested: in emerging democraciesin which the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and similar organizations typically provide democracy strengthening technical assistance, and here in the very heart of the oldest, established democracy, the USA. Most notably, the storming of the U.S. Congress on January 6 had the world gaze in amazement, wondering whether in the words of the 20th century Irish poet W.B. Yeats (in the Second Coming) later adopted by the Nigerian literary icon Chinua Achebe (in his seminal novel ‘Things Fall Apart’), “The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.”

The bill making the MLK Day a federal holiday was signed into law in 1983, coincidentally the same year NDI was founded; although only from 2000, has the day been celebrated as a federal holiday in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Had his life not been snatched by the bullet of an assassin in Memphis, Tennessee in April 1968, Dr. King would have turned 90 last summer. 

If Dr. King lived through 2020, he would have been appalled and saddened by the America he saw, struggling under the heavy weight of racial injustice, especially in matters of policing and law enforcement, and racial tensions that boiled to the surface after a series of brutal murders of unarmed African-American men and women by white police officers. The most abhorrent of those cases was that of George Floyd, who suffocated under the knee of a white police officer as he pleaded he couldn’t breathe, and after close to eight minutes in that position, drew his last breath. The images of George Floyd, like those of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmauld Arbery, and a total of 226 black Americans killed by police in 2020 alone, went viral on television and social media. Revolted by what they saw and learned, citizens in cities and towns across the U.S. and wellwishers in foreign lands overseas, erupted in shock and disapproval. Many participated in peaceful protests and some Americans committed to confronting injustices head on by leading movements for greater social justice and enhanced political participation and representation for African-Americans and other minorities.

Imagining if Dr. King had lived through summer 2020, he would have run head on into the beehive of current U.S. electoral politics during which hard won gains of civil and voting rights obtained in the 1960s came under threat from attempts at voter suppression and disenfranchisement, compounded by the global COVID-19 pandemic.  The ever eloquent Dr. King would have run out of words on January 6, as rioters sought to undermine American democracy by disrupting the counting of electoral college votes and certification of the presidential election results. They forced their way violently into the citadel of U.S. democracy — the U.S. Congress — rampaged through offices, including that of the Speaker, and manhandled law enforcement officers charged with the security of members, staff and the building itself. Lives were lost, property destroyed and the Capitol desecrated. Worse still, the psyche of “small d” democrats, nationally and internationally was shaken because no one imagined such a frontal attack on the embodiment of American democracy. Moreover, speculation was rife about the possible complacency or complicity of individuals whose responsibility it is, paradoxically, to protect, nurture and defend the country’s democracy.  

Almost everything about that march on Congress was unkingly, such as the chants about violently hurting and even hanging elected officials, and open display of symbols of racism and antisemitism. A noose was later found on the premises of the Congress. The rioters or insurrectionists of January 6, started their march from the Lincoln Memorial, otherwise noted for one of Dr. King’s most remarkable speeches on racial justice, equality and the hope that we’ll all “be judged not by the color of…skin, but by the content of …character.” 

But Dr. King left the stage before now and wouldn’t see any of that; and with him went Congressman John Lewis, another giant of the civil rights movement. They went early but the pillars of their faith in the goodness of humanity remain unstained, and their combined gospel on racial justice, equality and non violence continue to echo here and across the globe — and therein lies the umbilical cord that binds to them, organizations such as NDI that seek to promote and strengthen their values of improving the human condition.

NDI’s affinity to the MLK Day goes beyond the symbolic linkages of an organization launched in the same year (1983) as the legalization of this day: it goes to the symbiosis of our efforts to project, promote and represent through our mission and programming internationally, and however imperfectly, the values that Dr. King espoused dearly. Democracy support entails strengthening non-violent means of citizen engagement and active participation in political processes from the bottom up and public service delivery from the top down. Similarly, NDI efforts at enhancing women and youth political participation and representation, and advocacy for other marginalized groups seek to sync with Dr. King’s aspirations for equality and inclusion.

Part of the beauty of our practice is that in the countries in which we work, the democracy champions, civic and political actors who are our partners and program beneficiaries, are adepts and disciples of Dr. King. Many of them already stood in Dr. King’s corner long before NDI opened shop. While that often translates into a welcoming mat for NDI on arrival, it also raises the bar by which we ourselves would be assessed.  

So we must acknowledge that being privileged by such proximity imposes additional responsibilities; and while we have a distance to travel on the MLK highway, we have, as an organization, raised the level of consciousness among staff at headquarters and in country offices in close to 60 countries, hoping eventually to also impact our local partners and program beneficiaries.  

NDI launched its first ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Council in July 2020, and set out to stimulate and facilitate frank, open conversations about what is lacking or broken on these issues, and how it could be fixed. The goal is to create secure spaces where every voice within the organization can be heard, and where we can benefit from everyone’s input to better perfect the organization we love dearly, and whose mission is for many a calling and not just a job. We show our commitment to the DEI cause and to the greater mission of the organization, knowing that despite the dark clouds that may have traversed the skies in 2020 and early 2021, the day will dawn and lightness will emerge; for, in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

*Co-chairs, NDI’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council.Courtesy of NDI

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Cameroon: PM Dion Ngute’s Two Years Of Shouldering Crises, Feuds With Regime Extremists
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Andrew Nsoseka     

Many believe that with a free hand the affable Prime Minister could play an instrumental role in resolving the the crises in the English speaking regions of Cameroon.Photo Twitter

On January 4, 2019, President Paul Biya appointed Chief Dr Joseph Dion Ngute as Cameroon’s Prime Minister, replacing Philemon Yang. PM Dion Ngute’s appointment was particularly unique in that he came into office, at a time the country was going through its greatest challenge since independence and reunification.

Thus, since his taking over as head of the Biya led government regime, he has principally shouldered the responsibility to fight for a return to normalcy in the face of the Anglophone crisis and the Maurice Kamto-led civil disobedience, revive the economy, make Cameroonians to believe in the system, – all these which he does from within a government he heads, but not without stiff resistance from some ministers and members of the CPDM regime. Particularly, the handling of the country’s Anglophone crisis, that has created factions within the government, at various extreme ends.

The appointment of Dion Ngute, a diplomat who in his person, carries a charisma, and a diplomatic smile that enables him to relate and discuss almost with anyone- even perceived regime staunch enemies, gave some hope that some of the dire problems faced by the government could as well be in their last days.

There was hope, particularly in Anglophone regions, which were immediately toured by the new PM, with a message of hope, from President Paul Biya. As he toured the crisis-ridden regions, PM Dion Ngute held consultative talks with locals and groups. He promised that his new government was this time around, committed to solving the Anglophone crisis. He promised those he spoke to, that their views and demands, as well as opinions on how to solve the crisis will be presented to President Paul Biya for prompt action.

Organisation of Major National Dialogue

After his tours, the PM’s promises seemed to be taking shape. A Major National Dialogue was announced by President Paul Biya, principally to handle the Anglophone Crisis. The new PM was assigned to organise and chair the dialogue process, where the general expectation was that separatists who were the principal actors were going to take part in the process, in order to bring forth a lasting solution agreed on by both parties.

Invitations were dispatched to various separatists’ leaders who immediately picked holes in the process. Many asked for guarantee that they would not be arrested on arrival and imprison. Many demanded that the arrested leadership in Kondengui Prison in Yaounde, be released and dialogued with. Others also demanded that the dialogue be organised in a neutral territory where both parties will feel free to express their opinions. Most demands of separatists were not factored in.

Also, a clause that doused off the aspirations of many, was that noting that delegates were to discuss on any subject, but the form of state was not up for discussion.

The PM finally chaired the dialogue process, boycotted by main actors, and attended by political parties, and regime flunkeys. Many rather described it as a monologue. The main outcome was the conference of a ‘special status’ on the crisis-ridden Anglophone regions.

Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute chaired the Major National Dialogue

Tabs On The PM Begin

Tabs on PM Dion Ngute are said to have started when he was appointed to chair the Major National Dialogue. Before canvassing and securing the idea of handling the crisis through a dialogue, PM Dion Ngute was aware of the extremists in the regime, who did not appreciate the idea of dialoguing with separatists. It is reported that the Secretary-General at the presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh lurked around, to keep tabs on what was going on. He reportedly placed people around, to closely monitor what was done.

The PM was thus in a tight spot, to execute the mission given him, and at the same time, please all, especially those within the regime, who barely respect the Prime Ministry as head of governance. The extremists within the regime, particularly form walls to ward off what they consider to be against their interests. Many have blamed extremists in government for fighting against a peaceful end to the crisis. Many had hoped that PM Dion Ngute, as he promised, will deliver a peaceful deal, to quell the crisis in the Anglophone regions.

Critics have faulted a group of ministers and regime bigwigs for only supporting the use of the military option in solving the Anglophone crisis. They have also been accusations of many benefitting from the war situation, and as such, fighting any initiative to peacefully resolve the crisis.

Regime Extremists Again Frustrate Move To End Crisis

In the first week of July 2020, representatives of Cameroon’s government held their first direct talks with separatist leaders serving life jail terms at the Kondengui Central Prison. The talks were the closest thing the government and separatists have come to addressing their differences, since the crisis started in 2017.

News of the talks was received with joy throughout the country, and particularly in the Anglophone regions.  People who had been frustrated by the war were relieved, hoping that the talks could yield fruits, after the much trumpeted Major National Dialogue failed to deter the determination of separatists who boycotted.

Information of the talks was confirmed by Julius Ayuk Tabe, the leader of the separatists serving a life jail term alongside many others. He said the talks were geared towards a possible ceasefire. He assured his followers that their goal of independence still stands. The talks were held out of the prison facility, in a neutral place, a Bishop’s house where both parties could express their views freely. Government representatives left the meeting, promising to get back to the leaders, after forwarding their demands to government’s high command.

Regime Extremists Botch Plan

Hopes of those who welcomed the talks, were again dampened when the extremists in government and the CPDM party who oppose the dialogue option of the crisis launched frantic efforts to discredit the move spearheaded by PM Chief Dr Dion Ngute. The group, led by the Secretary-General at the Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh, after learning of the underground talks immediately tried to sabotage the talks.

Ngoh Ngoh who favours the failed Swiss mediated talks that had mainly targeted less influential separatists abroad saw the talks as being against their interest, especially as he was not consulted. The direct talks with the incarcerated leaders were viewed both by those who favoured the seemingly sluggish and unproductive Swiss-mediated talks, as well as those who favoured just the military option as posing a great danger to their interests. Again Dion Ngute’s initiative was sabotaged.

Cameroon Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute shakes hands with a traditional ruler in Bamenda, the capital of the North West region in Cameroon on May 9, 2019 holding a peace plant on a mission to reconcile separatist groups and government forces. . PHOTO credit Ndi Eugene/Nation Media Group

Days after the first meeting, the anti-talks faction in government strong-armed the Minister of Communication and government spokesperson, Emmanuel Rene Sadi to issue a press statement to discredit the talks. Sadi went on to issue a statement saying that information circulating about underground talks with imprisoned separatist leaders was not “consistent with reality”. The statement was then touted around by extremists in government as a win against the pro-dialogue faction led by PM Dion Ngute. The move killed the euphoria that was created when news of the talks filtered out.

Dion Ngute though open minded principally failed in finding a solution to the Anglophone crisis through the Major National Dialogue, probably because of the restrictions placed on discussion topics, and the lack of political will to make the talks open enough for the main actors, separatists to attend.

He, however, through tact, made a few to believe in the system, though somewhere along the line, they were seemingly let down, especially by actions that were beyond the PM’s competence, especially as not all government members submit to him as head of government.

Though the crises facing the country have dominated what Dion Ngute can be evaluated on, he has also succeeded in some areas, like the encouragement of local production of essential goods, dousing off of some anti-government feelings, he has equally tried to promote the idea of attracting foreign investments in Cameroon, though it is particularly difficult due to the hostile political climate. In the domain of infrastructural development, especially as the Country planned to host major African football tournaments, the Dion Ngute led government has given some towns face lifts, though the construction or maintenance of some roads, and even the construction or renovation of some football infrastructure.

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Insight Into The Lucrative Bride Price Business in Kenya
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Photo courtesy

Kenyans were left reeling in shock when the news about a 63-year-old man who turned down millions of shillings offered as a bride price for his daughter emerged. The report indicated Hussein Maro hailing from Tana River County, a coastal region of the East African state, only asked for Ksh7, leaving the groom’s entourage puzzled.

“My fellow elders, it is a great joy to have my daughter married to a good family. Therefore, as my daughter and I had already agreed, we shall take seven shillings,” he told the Nation media. The old man’s move elicited mixed reactions given the hefty amount, which Bride’s parents usually demand. While some made fun of Hussein, others praised him, calling him the “wisest man on earth.”

 “The Bride is not a commodity for sale. He is the wisest man on earth. Let bridegroom appreciates the in laws and respect and love their daughter for she is a precious jewel with no price tag,” said Rossie Omwamba.

“A peaceful marriage is better than money, this Mzee (old man) could be old but very wise. This is a powerful message to the families who use their daughters to solicit and milk cash from poor brides. Kudos to Mzee (old man)!” added James Odhiambo.

Bride price, also known as dowry or bridewealth, is a long-standing customary practice in the African culture. It is the gift given by the groom to the kindred of his prospective wife before marriage.  In Tanzania, it is called Mahari. The Shona community of Zimbabwe calls it Roora, and the Yoruba of Nigeria calls it Iyawo.  The practice was meant to bring two families together. It was treated like a gift, not a price; it serves as a token of appreciation to the lady’s parents for bringing her up and further proves that the man can take care of his wife.

Bride price among Kenyan communities

Forty-two (42) Kenyan tribes have not been an exception in dowry payment. Traditionally, it was a high-esteemed norm that was celebrated in all communities. Besides being a token of appreciation, it also adds value to a woman, legalizes customary marriage, and validates children born in the new union. Each community has a local name for dowry. Luo community calls it Ayie; in Agikuyu, it is known as Ruracio, Kambas call it Ngasya, and in Kalenjin, it is called Koito.

The dowry payment varies from one community to the other. For example, traditionally, a man seeking to marry a lady from the Abaluhya community was required to pay thirteen cattle heads. The Maasai, Kalenjin, Luo communities, etc., also accepted dowry in the form of cattle. Agikuyu, it’s composed of goats, traditional brews, honey, and cows. In most communities, dowry is not paid once; it is given in phases or installments to create strong ties between the groom and the Bride’s family.

Society’s role in dowry payment

Dowry payment used to be a society affair. After a man had proposed to a lady and agreed to marry him, he was supposed to approach his parents or guardians and inform them about his intention to get married. The parents would research the lady’s background information, and once satisfied, they would go ahead and notify the extended family and the clan. Once every relative was informed, a select committee consisting of reputable elders was established to facilitate dowry payment and probably marriage.

The Bride also approaches her parents or guardians and notifies them about her decision to get married. Like the groom’s side, they inquire more about the man, his clan, and his community and then inform the entire clan before forming a select committee of elders. The elders would meet and agree on what to be paid to the Bride’s family as a gift paving the way for the wedding.

Commercialization of bride price

Dowry, once a noble tradition, has been contorted in the recent past. What was supposed to be a uniting factor between families has become a business venture. Parents perceive their daughters as an investment that should fetch much gain when they get married. Unlike in the past, when virginity was the determinant factor during the dowry payment, it is education level, social class, and career in the modern era. A highly educated lady is expected to earn millions of shillings for her family.

Traditionally, the man and his family had the right to settle on what and how much to pay for the Bride’s family. However, things have changed. Today, such freedom does not exist. The Bride’s family set the price, and two families must negotiate. Moreover, some ladies also conspire with their family to fleece her future husband his hard-earned money, a behaviour that should be condemned by society.

The unreasonable demand for dowry is now causing what we did not expect. Marriages are ending, relationships are breaking, and weddings are being called off, but no-one is taking responsibility; instead, we blame the devil. The number of single motherhood and young couples who have chosen to cohabit to avoid dowry has hit a high record. Overpriced bride prices have also seen women being seen as acquired property that a man can mistreat the way he wants.

It does not end there; some families have plunged into crippling debts as they were forced to take loans to raise the required amount of dowry. Some men have also been exposed to harassment and mistreatment by their wives and in-laws simply because they cannot pay dowry. It is high time the Kenyan government regulates dowry payment to save vulnerable means from the hands of greedy parents who are out to use bride price as a gateway to riches.

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Ghana: From ‘trotro’ mate to millionaire-The Story of Yoks Investment Founder Seth Yeboah Ocran
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Hard work, they say, brings success but often, one needs to add some level of smartness in order to succeed.  Seth Yeboah Ocran, is the Founder/Executive Chairman of Yoks Investment Limited. With Subsidiries such as Yorks Rent A Car. Yoks Travel, Tours,Tourists Watch Limited.Seth went into business soon after finishing school i.e trotro mate. He traded in stationary, Jewelry and Textiles. He left his private business to work with Vane/Europcar as a driver and sale representative with a seed capital of 500 Gh.

Seth returned to his private business, where he set up Yoks Investment Limited in 2001 as a sole proprietorship with just one car. Throughout his career, Seth has demonstrated continuous leadership in business excellence, strategic thinking and project execution. He is an award winning entrepreneur, he believes in Integrity, Humility and believing in oneself. Mr. Seth has featured in public speaking engagement aimed at promoting “thoughtful” leadership, and also inspiring the youth to take their destiny into their own hands.

Seth drove and managed Yoks with a single minded vision to become the reliable car rental Company in the country. Today, after over a decade, Yoks investment limited is now in an enviable position as the most reliable car rental and transportation management company, with its industry in Ghana; with a highly recognized brand that equals and rivals any of the known international brands. Seth, ambition is to continue to build a world class business that is at par with any global company. The business mogul recounted his journey from grass to grace. Mr. Ocran had a challenging childhood, having lost both his mother and father by the age of 14.

However, he kept his hopes up and continued to strive for a better future. The lack of support also meant that he had to drop out of school.

He dropped out of school and did not have any SHS certificate,” He picked up a menial job as a commercial bus conductor (mate). According to him, his textbook business dwindled when an English teacher joined the business and caused his earnings to reduce. He was forced to ditch the textbook business and began a textiles and jewelries business. Mr. Ocran used to travel to neighboring Togo to buy his goods and returns to sell them at the Makola market in Accra. But, unfortunately, his business came crashing on its knees when the Makola market was gutted by fire and he lost his investment.

He said; if we have one person in our lives who totally accepts us, totally believes in us, totally loves us and totally supports us, we can certainly achieve what we want to reach and where we want to go.  Mr. Ocran said. ”Therefore, surround yourself with people who believe in you and accept you totally regardless of your success or failure, and also be that person of someone”! 

Having once worked as a driver’s mate, Mr. Ocran is a business mogul today, serving as the CEO of YOKS Investments Limited.

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Airlink Steps Up Its Game in Southern Africa
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Despite the fact that South Africa has abruptly closed its 20 land boarders, Air-Link remains winged in air working throughout but following covid-19 regulations, laws and curfew of countries in which they operate in, in the Southern African region.

A posted press release reveals  Airlink is on track providing reliable air services to clients travelling in Southern Africa. Airlink Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer [CEO] Rodger Foster said as they do business, they cherish the health and safety of their travelling customers who they take care of throughout their business operations.

‘’Health and safety is critical so as economy continuity for which regional air travel is the only viable alternative. Airlink continues to provide travelers with safe, reliable, affordable connectivity in the Southern African Region ‘’.

Airlink is operating daily adhering to regulations in line with covid-19 as echoed by the World Health Organization and Ministries of Health in countries where it operates in. It follows security protocols, health measures by doing check-ups and providing necessary facilities in line with covid-19 Global, regional and national health guidelines.

Airlink departs after 08HOO. It arrives before 20H00 and 21H OO as restricted by curfew. Wellbeing of customers is always given first priority as Airline adheres to security protocols. Business, Trade and Tourism is crucial for economic development in the region of which Airlink values as an airline.

‘’Wellbeing of customers is no doubt what Airlink values.  We give them the first priority. This is done to necessitate the fast growth and development as well as continuity of links in Business, Trade and Tourism. Airlink supports the continuity and vibrant existence of Business, Trade and Tourism ‘’. Says Airlink Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Rodger Foster.

Air-Link is an independent airline that operates in the Southern African region. Its destinations up-dates Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] , Tanzania , Maseru ESwatini , Harare and Bulawayo , Gaborone , Maun and Kasane in Botswana , Windhoek in Namibia , Lusaka , Ndola in Zambia , Maputo , Beira and Pemba in Mozambique . It links as well several destinations in South Africa.

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MOZAMBIQUE: New measures in Covid-19 Fight
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

President Nyusi
President Nyusi

The Mozambican government decided to tights restrictive measures in an attempt to halt the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the country, where four per cent of patients infected had needed hospitalization, and 0.9 per cent had died.

In an address broadcast to the nation on Wednesday night, President Filipe Nyusi stressed that the Covid-19 situation has deteriorated dramatically since the New Year, what obligated the Council of Ministers to decide to reactivate several measures, which had been relaxed, or scrapped, in December.

Thus all bars and stalls selling alcoholic drinks must close. Bars had been closed when the first state of emergency had been declared on 1 April, but a decree of 17 December allowed them to re-open. Other leisure activities that must close include discotheques, casinos, and games rooms.

Gymnasiums, swimming pools and other places for the practice of physical exercise must also close, and cultural activities in places such as cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries and the like are suspended.

The opening hours for restaurants (which had largely escaped the earlier restrictions) are from 06.00 to 20.00 Mondays to Fridays, and 06.00 to 15.00 on Saturdays and Sundays. All shops and other commercial establishments must close not later than 18.00 every day.

Bottle stores can open from 08.00 to 13.00 Monday to Saturday, but must close on Sundays. Drinking alcohol on the premises is forbidden. The areas in supermarkets which sell alcohol are subject to the same restrictions as bottle stores, and so the owners must partition off these areas and close them at 13.00. No new licences for bottle stores will be issued.

The new regulations also close, once again, the country’s beaches. No-one may swim or practice sport on the beaches. Citizens may walk along them, but not in large groups.

Nyusi announced that national sports championships will go ahead, but will be closed to the public.

Private events, including weddings and birthday parties, can have no more than 30 participants, if held in a closed space, or 50 if held in the open air. They must finish no later than 20.00.

No more than 50 people may attend any religious service, and attendance at funerals is limited to 20 (and, if the deceased died from Covid-19, only ten participants are allowed).

The government moved to end the lengthy queues seen recently at a public offices as citizens attempt to renew documents such as identity cards or driving licences. All official documents that have expired are now considered valid until 31 May 2021.

Wherever possible, the staff of both public and private institutions should work from home, and people who have respiratory problems, or are running a fever, must not go to their workplaces or to any schools.

Nyusi announced that anyone entering the country must have a negative Covid-19 test result. Truck drivers will be expected to show test results at control posts set up inside the country.

Non-compliance with these measures will constitute a criminal offence.

All measures announced previously remain valid if they do not contradict the new decree. This includes, the obligatory wearing of masks on buses, minibuses, in markets or anywhere else that crowds are likely to gather.

The new government decree takes effect today. Nyusi said the measures will be reviewed in three weeks. If citizens behaved responsibly, then it might be possible to relax the measures “so that we can return to a normal, or near normal, life”.

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South Sudan announces environmental audit of oil fields in move to curtail immense pollution
January 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Petroleum Minister Puot Kang Chol with President Salva Kiir
Petroleum Minister Puot Kang Chol with President Salva Kiir

Juba – South Sudan Thursday announced a comprehensive environmental audit of all its oil – producing fields in a bid to reduce pollution following years of negligence and witlessness.

Petroleum Minister Puot Kang Chol said comprehensive environmental audit of all the country’s producing oilfields is to inspect the impact of pollution on the people and the land.

Minister said his ministry formed the committee that comprised of all agencies of the government and include the civil society to do the selection of the firms to carry out environment audit. Currently, 11 tenders are in its finale scrutinizing from the committee – both are international tenders or companies.

 “I am pleased to announce the full environment audit in all the oil fields of the Republic of South Sudan – the audit will come in the current oil fields of block 3 & 7, block 1, 2 & 4 and block 5 A,” Kang said.

Tender for audit comes amid efforts to reduce pollution affecting communities living in oil-producing areas in South Sudan.

This audit will allow the country to put systems in place to prevent further damage and pollution as the country looks to ramp up production.

In August 2019, President Salva Kiir warned that his government would be taking a stronger stance against pollution in oil-producing areas. He warned: “I will not tolerate irresponsible activities in the oil sector.”

The lack of environmental standards and guidelines to safeguard the exploration and exploitation in the extractive industry has led to pollution in the oilfields and in the surrounding areas.

Despite the 2012 Petroleum Act that imposed high health and safety standards on oil production activities.

This had caused losses of properties and livestock, losses of grazing land, as well as deforestation, soil and water contamination and health issues in and around oil-producing areas resulted a human deformation, infant deformities, miscarriage and death.

“We are here to please the law, not individual and I would want the committee to make sure whether they do, they do it within a parameter of the law, not the minister or individual,” said Kang.

Kang said the whole world and our citizens were being looking after us, they were condemned us that something need to done about our environment.

“It is time to save the life of our people and to save our environment. “I say lives of people first – this oil can deplete tomorrow but our land should not deplete – the land must remain there because is the first resource that our people have, not the oil,” Kang told the press in Juba. “We need to protect the lives of our people and we should not give them any reason to think that oil is the problem to them but instead to be blessed to them, particularly to the oil – producing communities. So, whatever we do let have it at the back of our minds that the people living in land and that land come first before the oil itself, therefore we must save lives and the land,” he added.

Oil is the dominant source of revenue for the East African’s youngest nation, which has boosted output to stand at about 170,000 barrels per day, as it struggles to rebuild an economy shattered by six years of civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes.

Mary Ayen, Acting Speaker of the Council States acknowledged that the oil pollution has caused uncalled damages on the locals, which need urgently bold decision to mitigate the suffering on time.

“What is taking place is not a joke,” said Ayen, seeing that human being is deformity – we witnessed kids are deformities – this is not the nation we want, we want everyone to enjoys free, have a dignify life, healthy and enjoys all the basic rights,” she added.

Ayen further said the life of the people and environment is a most better because at the end we want resources to enhance our lives.

She urges the oil companies to cooperate with the government and do the best practice to the oil – producing communities.

Last year, the SUDD Institute documented 13 cases of babies born with deformities in Melut, Ruweng and Rubkona in the country’s northern part.

Also, a research conducted by a German organization, Sign of Hope, years ago found that more than 180,000 locals who live near oil fields use water that is contaminated by the oil companies.

The actual work of the full environment audit will kick on after the finalization of tender process that due to commence at the end of March and to continue for the period of six (6) months.

The audit exercise is expected to reveal the environmental damage that may have been caused by the oil activities over the years since the start of oil production in then Sudan in the late 1990.

“We don’t want to assume the findings but we believe whatever they come up with, being the government and partners should be ready to accept and implement whatever they recommend for us to do and also to mitigate any further pollution of the environment,” the minister said.

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CHAN 2020: Banga Solomon’s Strike Gives Cameroon Victory against Zimbabwe
January 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Banga Solomon, the hero for the intermediate lions
Banga Solomon, the hero for the intermediate lions

An overhead kick from Coton sport of Garoua’s Banga Solomon was enough for the Intermediate Lions to win the Warriors of Zimbabwe in the opening game of the Africa Nations Championship, CHAN.

The goal from Banga Solomon which turned out to be the winning goal came in the 72 minutes of play through a freekick on the edge of the Zimbabweans goal. A missed header from the Warriors saw the ball come to Banga who produced a spectacular overhead kick to score. 

The team were made to work hard for that victory with little scoring chances created by the intermediate lions. Captain Jacques Zoua has a series of these chances but could not deliver. The player was substituted at the 80 minutes with many looking at him to be the scorer should Cameroon need goals.

The intermediate Lions had been under pressure to deliver as many had questioned the selection of the final 23 man squad released by Coach Martin Mpile. A squad of 23 players were called up with 10 on the waiting list.

There was a beautiful display from Martin Loic Ako Assomo for the intermediate Lions. His beautiful display during the game saw him picking up the man of the match award.

Goalkeeper Haschou Kerido of PWD Bamenda showed his class in the game. He was calm and collected in the face of opposition, coming out of his box to catch the ball – a display that will surely raise confidence in him and his backline. The backline of the intermediate lions was manned by players from Coton Sport.  

It should be noted that Cameroon is in Group A alongside Zimbabwe, Mali and Burkina Faso. In the second game played, it was Mali that defeated Burkina Faso by 1-0. The goal for the Malians was scored by Bagayoko at the 70th minute.

The Intermediate Lions of Cameroon will next be in action on January 20 at 5 pm local time against Mali. It is a crucial game as both teams are tied on 3 points. A victory by the intermediate lions or Mali guarantees them a spot in the next round of the competition.

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Cameroon: Donation from Fomunyoh and Partner to Physically Challenged in Kumba
January 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh
Dr Christopher Fomunyoh

More than 20 Persons living with disability in Kumba, the chief town of Meme Division of the South West Region have benefited from financial support and start-up capital to help them start-up small businesses.

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central Africa Programs at NDI and a philanthropist and partner Madam Robison made available cash envelopes and other items (groundnut oil, soap and others) to make the persons living with disability to be financially independent.

The physically challenged were encouraged to use the money provided to them with care which will encourage the donors, Dr Christopher Fomunyoh and madam Robison to do more for them.

Toko Virginie, a bridge between the donors and the physically challenged said: “I want to appreciate and thank Dr Fomunyoh and Sister Robinson. We are so happy and that could be seen on the faces of the physically challenged who benefited.”

“With this money that has been provided to me I am heading straight to the market,” Tayong Anna, another beneficiary stated.

“I want to thank our sister for what she has done to think about us,” one of the beneficiaries said.

To another, he said: “This money will help to empower me in the small business I have been carrying out.”

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh is an expert on democratization in Africa and also a former adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University.

It should be noted that another huge package from The Fomunyoh Foundation is to be made available to internally displaced persons, IDPs of the Anglophone crisis.

Beneficiaries of the aid from Dr Christopher Fomunyoh and Madam Robison
Beneficiaries of the aid from Dr Christopher Fomunyoh and Madam Robison

For the past four years, separatist fighters have been battling government forces in the North West and South West regions. The former is looking to establish an independent state of “Ambazonia”. The conflict started in 2016 has seen thousands of people who have been killed, maimed, kidnapped and others forced to flee their homes for shelter in neighbouring Nigeria and other parts of the country.

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Senegal already produces Gas: Investors should look Onshore
January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments
The emergence of Senegal as a regional energy power is an exciting story

DAKAR, Senegal, January 15, 2021/ — Senegal is the hotspot for energy investment in West Africa right now, owing to a string of huge offshore hydrocarbons discoveries since 2014 (as well as its compelling renewables potential). The emergence of Senegal as a regional energy power is an exciting story. But for almost two decades, in fact, the country has been producing its own natural gas onshore, an hour’s drive from Dakar. Further investment could unlock Senegal’s onshore potential.

Introducing Onshore Senegal

Fortesa International, led by CEO Rogers Beall, started exploring in Senegal in 1997 and from the start, Beall aimed to create a business that was fully Senegalese. Today, the company has a staff of 125, with two expatriate mentors and some African expatriate staff, but the vast majority (around 98 percent) is Senegalese nationals. Beall has continually advocated for Senegal with U.S. companies and now serves on the U.S.-Africa Committee for the African Energy Chamber.

As AOP drove out to the Fortesa production site this week, Beall pointed to a plateau in the far distance, while we passed through a shallow valley. That, he said, is the edge of the 120-square-kilometer Thiombane Dome geological formation. It sits on the eastern side of the carbonate shelf edge that runs north to south along the coast of West Africa.

Volcanic eruptions in the sea 175 million years ago, joined up by sand blown in from the Sahara, created the Dakar peninsula. That same feature on the carbonate shelf edge extends deep into the Atlantic Ocean, and this is the basis for the massive offshore oil and gas fields generating so much excitement globally. This is where North America used to connect to Africa, and where we are driving now used to be the state of Georgia before it was the deep ocean bed. The African plate itself never moved.

“The single place between Morocco and Guinea where that shelf comes onshore is east of Dakar,” says Beall. Here, on land and a short drive from the capital, Fortesa is operating seven wells (one out of service temporarily due to an accident – the company’s first serious one – on December 20, 2020) tied back to a gas processing plant. The manifolds and tanks were built in Senegal, the whole facility was assembled by a local team, and on our visit, we met with dozens of Senegalese workers who had trained with Fortesa and were operating the facilities.

The Gadiaga field usually produces 3 million cubic feet (mcf) per day and could produce 7 mcf per day. This small field has produced just over $95 million of natural gas. But, as Beall says, “This is small potatoes compared to what Senegal needs.” The geology says that Gadiaga may sit next to a much larger gas field situated on the edge of the shelf in the Thiombane Dome. This strong potential is what Fortesa wishes to explore and develop, with fellow investors.

Natural Gas Could Do More

Fortesa’s operation may look familiar in the Niger Delta, where local companies have been producing onshore from marginal fields since 2002. But in this region, Fortesa’s gas production business is unique, and like the most effective Niger Delta marginal field companies, it enjoys the support of the local community to staff and safeguard the well sites, pipe yard and processing plant.

Energy independence is the key to Senegal’s success, says Beall. Energy poverty is a trap that ties people down to subsistence living from Senegal to Somalia. Natural gas, available in abundance onshore as well as far out to sea, can be a fuel to remove those limits.

“Right now, this country is paying $14 per mcf by using heavy fuel oil. [In doing this] they are making six times the pollution, six times the negative effect on the planet, and nearly double the cost,” says Beall. “We are able to make the investment and take the risk of drilling onshore, and [in this region] only Fortesa is doing this.”

Natural gas is cleaner and cheaper than the alternatives. It provides direct and indirect jobs for hundreds at Gadiaga, and more of it is available onshore. The company is keen to expand within its acreage to find and develop the onshore elephant that the geology points to, as well as optimizing current production. But with European and other Western financing institutions now shutting down funding for hydrocarbons, few options are available to fund expansion.

The Foundation Is Already There

Fortesa built a foundation for Senegal’s emergence as an energy player. Beall believed in the potential of Senegal before many in Europe and North America had thought to examine the country’s subsurface. His company worked with or trained many of the people now going on to run the sector or work at the national oil company Petrosen and others.

Onshore gas growth is possible and would lead to direct job creation and sustainable energy provision to households and businesses – and save on costly and high-polluting fuel oil imports.

“This is one of the most cost-effective operations in Africa. Fortesa has essentially unlocked the value of Senegal’s energy resources. The projects run by Rogers and his team are sound and are an example of projects that can generate cash and deliver the return on capital that investors are looking for,” said NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, to AOP. “I see a team that is focused on improving asset-level economics, reducing capital outlay, and stretching their dollars to do more with less.”

AOP’s mission is to bring investment to African energy of all kinds, with a view to making life better for people and businesses. Issues of climate change and sustainability must be addressed urgently. But comparatively clean natural gas and the people that produce it (and industries that can use it) should not pay the price for Western institutions’ opposition to funding hydrocarbons. “We need to give a chance to people to advance,” Beall told us. “Let’s do things that work.”

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Cameroon: Security Beefed up Ahead of CHAN Tournament
January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Security forces patrolling Muyuka, a town in the South West Region of Cameroon, as they try to battle separatist fighters

Barely a day to the start of the Africa Nations Champions, CHAN in Cameroon, security forces have been heavily deployed to the South West Region to protect the various teams, fans who are scheduled to watch the games.

Games for the CHAN, a competition for locally-based players will be played in Limbe, Douala and Yaounde.

Separatist fighters had earlier warned people not to go and watch games and the fighters had cautioned the teams taking part not to go to the Region. That decision has, however, not been adhered to as the Zambians and Tanzanians made their way to Buea and Limbe but under tight security.

The separatist fighters seemed to have lied up to their bidding as they are reported to have set ablaze some vehicles closer to the middle farms’ stadium in Limbe – the middle farms’ stadium serves as a training facility to some of the teams.

Breaking this January 15 gunshots were heard in Likomba with reports of the main transformer at the Tiko market set ablaze. 2 separatist fighters were killed by Cameroon’s security forces that have been stationed along the roadside.

Local authorities and CAF officials have assured the players of their safety in the Region as they said security dispensation have been stepped up. Zambia received a letter from CAF indicating that their security is assured as the Cameroon government has put all measure to guarantee their safety.

It promises to be an exciting Africa Nations Championship in the country. Cameroon gets the competition underway on January 16 against Zimbabwe, who came to the country with some 23 players to participate in the competition. The second game that comes up at 8 pm local time will see Mali facing Burkina Faso. Both teams are already in the country and carrying out various training sessions.

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Cameroon: Nkafu Policy Institute Publishes Report on the Effect of BEAC’s Monetary policy
January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Officials of Foretia Foundation during the launch of the report on BEAC's monetary policy
Officials of Foretia Foundation during the launch of the report on BEAC’s monetary policy

The Nkafu Policy Institute, a think-tank at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation has published a report detailing the effect of BEAC’s monetary policy in Cameroon brought about by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The report was made public during a press conference January 13 at the Foundation’s headquarters in Yaounde. It had as panellists Dr Jean Cédric KOUAM – Economic Policy Analyst, Head of Fiscal and Monetary Policy Sub-Section at the Nkafu Policy Institute; and Mr Ulrich D’POLA – Senior Economic Policy Analyst, Co-Coordinator of the Nkafu Policy Institute.

Cameroon’s Monetary Policy Report published by the Nkafu Policy Institute was born out of the need to evaluate the decisions taken by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) on the activities of economic agents (firms, households) and the general price level. These are reflected in three main transmission mechanisms, namely: interest rates (interest rate channel), stock prices (other asset price channel) and the number of loans offered by commercial banks (credit channel).

Opening the press conference, Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer of Foretia Foundation said: “We hope that the operational recommendations in this report will be widely disseminated to inspire decision-makers to propose policies and reforms that will effectively transform Cameroon’s potential for the benefit of its citizens.

“The report is structured around five key inter-related thematic parts as follows While Part I examines the socio-economic situation in Cameroon before Covid-19 Part II focuses on the economic and social repercussions of the pandemic on the economic conjuncture in 2020 Part III then, presents BEAC’s responses to this gloomy economic conjuncture while part IV brings forth the reactions of the Cameroonian economy to BEAC’s monetary policy decisions in 2020. Finally, part V proposes some monetary policy options to decision-makers (V). 

The objective of the report is to analyze the contribution of the monetary policy conducted by the Bank of Central African States in strengthening the resilience of the Cameroonian economy in 2020. More specifically, it examines whether the monetary policy decisions taken by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) have influenced the general price level, the average overall effective rates practised by financial institutions and their deposit and credit operations, as well as the contribution of monetary aggregates to growth.

A host of key recommendations were taken from the Monetary Policy Report. One of them called on BEAC through the banking commission in central Africa should multiply its efforts to encourage commercial banks to easily grant credit to individuals and SMEs. 

The second key recommendation indicates that BEAC should ensure that their lending and deposit rates from secondary banks reflect the interest rate on call for tenders to improve the functioning of the interest rate channel.

BEAC should consider a policy of inflation targeting to the detriment of price-level targeting. By setting expectations on price developments, inflation targeting would enable BEAC to provide greater incentives for banks to facilitate access to credit and encourage consumers to spend while guaranteeing financial and microeconomic stability.

Ulrich D’POLA KAMDEM, Senior Economist at the Nkafu Policy Institute and Coordinator of the Nkafu Policy Institute

About the Nkafu policy institute and the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation

The Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation was created to catalyze Africa’s economic transformation by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science and technology, innovation, public health, and progressive policies that create and expand economic opportunities for all.  

The Nkafu Policy Institute is a Think Tank within the Foundation that focuses on using the independent analysis to inform public debate. Its mission is to advance public policies that help all Africans prosper in free, fair, and democratic economies. The Institute has distinguished itself as a leading research centre in Cameroon, committed to promoting open debate that builds consensus toward a democratic future. 

Note: the full report of the Nkafu Policy Institute Report on the Effect of BEAC’s Monetary policy can be downloaded on the websites of the Denis & Lenora Foretia Foundation and the Nkafu Policy Institute; as well as on the foundation’s various social networks.

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What happened to Turkana oil exploration, Kenyans ask amid hike in Fuel prices
January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

The news about oil discovery in Kenya’s northwestern Turkana region in 2012 was met with celebrations.

The discovery was made following exploratory drilling by Anglo-Irish firm Tullow Oil, and the then Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki termed it a breakthrough.

In August 2019, the East African nation made one step ahead by exporting the first oil shipment to a British-based Chinese firm.

President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off the country’s first shipment of oil, above 200,000 crude oil barrels raising citizens’ expectations.

Since then, there has been no much information about oil.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), on January 14, 2021, announced the increment in the prices of petroleum products, and Kenyans did not hesitate to inquire about the Turkana Oil exploration.

“What happened to our Turkana oil exploration? “Asked John Nthiga.

In its latest review, the diesel, kerosene, and super petrol prices have gone up by Ksh4.57, Ksh3.56, and Ksh0.17, respectively.

This means a litre of diesel will be sold at ksh96.40, Kerosene ksh87.72, and super petrol ksh106.99 in Nairobi.

In Mombasa, a litre of diesel, kerosene, and super petrol will cost ksh94.01, ksh84.75 and ksh104.60, respectively.

The changes will take effect on January 15 run until February 14.

“The changes in January’s prices are as a consequence of the average landed cost of imported Super Petrol increasing by 1.51 % from the US $ 318.71 per cubic metre in November 2020 to the US $ 323.52 per cubic metre in December 2020,” EPRA said.

EPRA noted that the prices were inclusive of the eight percent Value Added Tax (VAT) in line with the Finance Act provisions.

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CHAN 2021: A Look at the Major Contenders for the Trophy
January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Cameroon will hope to host and win the CHAN for the first time
Cameroon will hope to host and win the CHAN for the first time

The 6 edition of the African Nations Championship, CHAN 2021 gets underway in Cameroon from January 16 to February 7, 2021. 16 teams are participating in the competition with host Cameroon looking to go beyond the quarter-final of the competition.

The Africa Nations Championship, a competition solely for local players was scheduled for 2020 but had to be postponed to 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It promises to be a mouth-watering and a high-level competition from all the countries involved with some trying to win for the first time while others will look to extend their title cabinet. Here, Pan African Visions looks at some of the countries who are tipped to win the trophy either for the first time or added to their trophies already won.

Cameroon

Cameroon competes in the tournament as host. The country did not enter the qualifiers after the won the rights to host the CHAN. The intermediate Lions will participate in the competition with new coach Martin Ntoungou Mpile after the sacking of Yves Clement Arroga.

It is his second stint as head coach of the intermediate Lions of Cameroon having managed the team to quarter-final during the 2016 African Nations Championship in Rwanda. Cameroon will be making their fourth appearance in the tournament, after previously taking part in 2011, 2016 and 2018.

The Indomitable Lions have never gone past the quarterfinals. They did so in 2011 and 2016 and will hope to correct those statistics when they host Africa. Mpile and his team have been handed the mission to take Cameroon right to the final and to improve the system of play of the team in the CHAN.

Cameroon will rely on players like Banga Solomon, Bamboutos Player Christian Mayo, Yannick Ndjeng, Banga, Rene Ndi amongst others to propel them to the title.

Morocco

Morocco is the defending champion
Morocco is the defending champion

Morocco is coming into this competition as the defending champions. They became the first country to host and win the trophy in 2018 during the 5th edition of the competition. They beat Nigeria by 4 goals to 1.

The North Africans will be appearing for the fourth time at the continental tournament, having made their debut in 2014 in South Africa.

The Atlas Lions got as far the quarterfinals six years ago, topping Group B ahead of Zimbabwe, Uganda and Burkina Faso before losing a 4-3 thriller after extra time to Nigeria.

In Rwanda in 2016, Morocco was eliminated in the first round, as they finished behind Ivory Coast and hosts Rwanda in Group A.

Morocco will open their campaign on January 18, 2021, in Douala when they face tournament debutants, Togo. Four days later they take on Rwanda, while their group stage campaign will be wrapped up on January 26 when they battle Uganda.

Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo headlines group B. They are the most successful team in the competition. They have won the competition twice (2009 and 2016) out of the five editions and will hope to make it three times during the Cameroon expedition.

The DR Congo Intermediate Lions is under TP Mazemba trainer Pamphile Mihayo and he has hope that before the start of the championship, his team will be ready.

Libya

The Mediterranean Knights crowned CHAN champions in 2014 will begin the quest to become champions for the second time as they face Niger on 17 January 2021. Montenegrin Zoran Filipovic will lead the Libyan national team in the Chan championship with the assistance of national coach Mohamed Al-Kikli.

The Libyan Football Federation (LFF) recently released a list of players to participate at the 6th edition of the CHAN. The team includes 28 players from seven clubs that are playing in Libya’s premier league, which was suspended for about 18 months.

Libya secured a place in the competition for footballers playing in their country of birth after Tunisia, the team that defeated them in a qualifier, withdrew.

Zoran Filipovic has previously worked in Africa 10 years ago, saving South African Premiership club Golden Arrows from relegation during 12 months with the Durban club.

The first task of Filipovic, who was capped 13 times by the then Yugoslavia as a forward, will be to prepare Libya for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Cameroon next month.

“I promise to give my all to the cause of the Libyan national team,” said the 67-year-old during a press conference in Tripoli.

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso will be making its third appearance during the Cameroon expedition after that of 2014 and 2018.

The Head coach of the local Stallions of Burkina Faso Seydou Zerbo made known a list of 33 players instead of the normal 23 player squad to participate at the 6th edition of the Africa Nations Championship, CHAN 2021.

Burkina Faso summoned top scorer of the first leg, Mohamed Lamine Ouattara of AS Sonabel, striker of EFO, Yannick Pognogo, and experienced goalkeeper, Babayouré Sawadogo were all called up to the group.

The country will hope to improve their performance has never gone past the group stage and the Cameroon expedition may just be that year that the country finally improves on that performance as wins the competition. They will first have to battle their way out of the group stage if they are to be victorious this year.

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OUT NOW! 2nd Edition of “Billions At Play” charts recovery path for African Oil & Gas Sector
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Loyal to his upbeat approach and straightforwardness, NJ Ayuk offers pragmatic answers and solutions to the historic challenges the industry has faced throughout 2020.

Talking about oil & gas isn’t easy, especially at a time of widespread anxiety about the link between fossil fuels and climate change. But NJ Ayuk, the experienced oil and gas dealmaker who heads the Pan-African legal conglomerate Centurion Law Group  and serves as Executive Chairman of the, African Energy Chamber  has never been one to shy away from difficult conversations. Instead, he embraces opportunities to approach thorny questions head-on, with a spirit of optimism about the future.

Following the widely acclaimed release of his second book, Billions At Play: The Future of African Energy and Making Deals, Nj Ayuk has now released a 2nd edition of the best-seller that takes into account new market realities in a post-Covid19 era. Loyal to his upbeat approach and straightforwardness, he offers pragmatic answers and solutions to the historic challenges the industry has faced throughout 2020, detailing how a recovery can rely on better gas monetization, wider energy cooperation, stronger capacity building, an a more sustainable development of African natural resources.

This second edition opens once again on a foreword by H.E. Mohamed Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and features a new chapter dedicated to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on African oil markets. It is now available on Amazon  and has for the first time been narrated by Adera Gandy and Boet Schouwinck as an audiobook also available on Audible  and Barnes and Noble’s Nook .

The book is also available through leading retailers including Exclusivebooks.com , TakeAlot.com , Google Books , eBooks.com , Kindle  and many more!

In Billions At Play, Ayuk places the energy sector at the center of the continent’s economic growth and argues that the oil and gas sector is well-positioned to turn the African narrative around. Billions At Play became number one on Amazon in several categories only a few days after its initial release in 2019, making it one of Africa’s energy best-seller.

The book’s critical solutions to key issues such as investment deals negotiations, electricity shortage or technology have earned it the support and praise of several leading industry executives from North America, Europe and Africa. At a time when the continent tries to position itself within the global energy transition debate, this second edition will be offering a comprehensive road map for Africa to do a better job at using its vast natural resources to fuel economic growth and improve the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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The 60th Anniversary of the Murder of Patrice Emery Lumumba
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Dr. Gary K. Busch*

Sixty years ago today the leading nationalist figure of the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) Patrice Emery Lumumba was murdered by the Belgians.

The parallels with today’s Africa are so stark that perhaps a fuller description is necessary.

The Belgians, who had just recently been compelled to allow its colony to reach independence in June 1960, continued to demand a strong and decisive role in Congolese affairs despite this independence; or, if that was not possible, to separate the mineral-rich region of Katanga from the rest of the Congo to remain under Belgian control through its puppet Moise Tshombe.

The main protagonist in the struggle for independence was Patrice Lumumba, who became head of the MNC (Mouvement National Congolais) and then, at independence, the first Prime Minister of the new state. The Belgian point of view was made clear when Lumumba was not invited to participate in the Independence celebrations. The Belgians insisted on keeping many of its colonial officers in charge of key positions in the Congolese administration. Most of the officers in the Army were still Belgians after independence. At independence there were only eight African college graduates in the whole of the Congo. It was a General Jannsens who announced to the troops that their pay would not increase after independence and that they would remain under Belgian officers. The army revolted and civil disorder spread across the land, fostered and armed by the Belgians. This disorder had the required effect and on the 11th of July 1960 Katanga seceded from the Congo. The Belgians and their giant mining complex, Union Miniere, adopted Tshombe as their own.

The United Nations sent its first peacekeeping mission to Africa; to the Congo, but it was ineffectual. It refused to intervene in the Katanga secession so Lumumba was powerless to seek the re-unification of the province. Unable to garner Western or UN support he turned to the Soviet Union to send weapons, airplanes, trucks and medicines to the Congolese forces opposing Katanga. This triggered off a major Cold War crisis. The US and the UK joined with Belgium to support Katangan secession and the ouster of Lumumba.

In a series of documentaries by the BBC in London in 2000 the records of their intervention were exposed. Ludo de Witte  uncovered documents in the Belgian archives showing that Moise Tshombe, who led the secession, acted on orders from the Belgian government, which has always claimed that it only sent troops into Katanga to protect Belgian lives and property. De Witte’s researches have shown that the Belgians plotted to dismember the Congo. US Documents released August 2000 revealed that President Eisenhower directly ordered the CIA to assassinate Lumumba. Minutes of an August 1960 National Security Council meeting confirm that Eisenhower told CIA chief Allen Dulles to “eliminate” Lumumba. The official note taker, Robert H. Johnson, had told the Senate Intelligence Committee this in 1975, but no documentary evidence was previously available to back up his statement. A British Foreign Office document from September 1960 notes the opinion of a top ranking official, who later became the head of MI5, that, “I see only two possible solutions to the [Lumumba] problem. The first is the simple one of ensuring [his] removal from the scene by killing him.”

Their first step was to promote a military coup in the Congo. On 14 September 1960 Col. Joseph Desiree Mobuto, with the active assistance of the US and the UN, overthrew the Kasavubu-Lumumba government and took power. Lumumba was placed under house arrest but escaped to Stanleyville. Mobutu’s troops captured him on 1 December 1960 and Lumumba was flown back to Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) where he was placed in prison. The Russians raised the issue in the Security Council and asked for the immediate release of Lumumba, the jailing of Mobutu and the evacuation of the Belgians from the Congo. The UN refused as it said this would cause severe problems in the Congo.

Their problem was resolved with the forced flight of Lumumba, in chains to Elizabethville (Lubumbashi) on 17 January 1961. According to the documentaries, he was conducted under arrest to Brouwez House and held there bound and gagged. Later that night, Lumumba was driven to an isolated spot where three firing squads had been assembled. According to David Akerman, Ludo de Witte and Kris Hollington, the firing squads were commanded by a Belgian, Captain Julien Gat, and another Belgian, Police Commissioner Verscheure, had overall command of the execution site. Lumumba was killed that night.

*  Dr. Gary K. Busch is the editor and publisher of the web-based news journal of international relations www.ocnus.net and the distance-learning educational website www.worldtrade.ac. He speaks and reads 12 languages and has written six books and published 58 specialist studies. His articles have appeared in the Economist Intelligence Unit, Wall Street Journal, WPROST (a leading Polish weekly news magazine), Pravda and several other major international news journals

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Ugandans go to the polls amid Internet shutdown after violent campaign
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

Tensions have been rife between incumbent President Museveni and opposition challenger Bobi Wine
Tensions have been rife between incumbent President Museveni and opposition challenger Bobi Wine

Following violent and tense campaign marred by clamp down on opposition rallies, media amid covid-19 pandemic across the country more than 17 million eligible voters go to the polls to elect president and parliamentarians.

Eleven candidates are running for the presidency in elections the incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, one of the longest serving African leaders is seeking to extend his rule for sixth term in the office. Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine, the main challenger to the former rebel leader who took power in 1986 after a war in the East African country hopes to remove the man he is half of his age from power despite numerous obstacles faced on campaign trail and before.

Commenting on his bid for the sixth term in office, yet he had long time ago said the problem of Africa in general and Uganda is leaders who overstay in power, the incumbent said in an interview: “Yes I said staying in power for long time without democracy, mark those words,”

While historically elections have been characterized by violence in Uganda, the latest polls have been cited as the most violent in which journalists were brutalized by security forces, opposition candidates and their teams arrested several times, some opposition supporters died in mysterious circumstances while others disappeared. According to media reports, hundreds of supporters of the National Unity Platform, Bobi Wine’s party are detained.

Nicholas Opiyo, a prominent Human rights lawyer was quoted on the eve of voting day as saying the mood in the country is not for an election. “It feels as though the country is at war.”

There have been heavy army and other security forces presence in Kampala and other parts of the country.

Earlier today in Kampala and in some other areas, polling stations had not yet opened at around 8h30 local time because the country’s election commission had not yet brought electoral materials.

Mr. Museveni who has been in power for 34 years has been credited for the country’s stability and economic development, but critics accuse the 76 year old president for undermining institution’s independence and sidelining opponents.

Museveni said on Wednesday in an interview that he lost in a free and fair elections he would accept the results.

On the eve of the voting day, the country’s communication authority ordered service providers to shutdown Internet until further notice without citing any reason. The Internet shutdown followed the blockage of social media platforms in what appears to be a retaliation for Facebook’s decision to block accounts linked to the government for allegedly spreading disinformation to manipulate debate ahead of the highly disputed polls.

In his state address on Tuesday president Museveni criticized Facebook saying his government can’t tolerate “the arrogance of anybody deciding’ who is good or bad in Uganda and saying it would not operate in the country again.

However, many social media users have turned to VPN to access restricted platforms such as Facebook and twitter.

Presidential hopeful Kyagulanyi who is popular among the youth, on the eve of the polls said on twitter that internet shutdown is a plan to rig elections. “A plot to rig is set, internet is completely shut down and media is censored. However, the people of Uganda are firm and nothing will stop them from ending this oppressive regime.”

Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner Lead at ‘Access Now’, an international digital rights organization said in a statement that “shutting down or blocking Internet while reports of state violence and oppression are emerging is incredibly worrisome,”

 The United States embassy in Kampala have canceled their observation following the refusal of accreditation of 74 percent of its observer team as it could not monitor the whole country.

“With only 15 accreditations approved, it is not possible for the United States to meaningfully observe the conduct of Uganda’s elections at polling sites across the country.” Said the US ambassador Natalie E. Brown in a statement issued on Wednesday 13 Jan.

According to the US embassy, the Electoral Commission provided no explanation for its decision, which it communicated few days before the elections.

However, the country’s election body said it accredited those who fulfilled the requirements and cited several embassies that got accreditation adding those who were not satisfied could re-apply.

Regional bodies that have been allowed to observe the 14 January elections include the East African Community and Intergovernmental Authority for Development.

The chairman of electoral body Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama told the media on Wednesday that elections materials were already in all districts of Uganda and would be deployed in polling station before daybreak. But it appears logistical issues will affect today’s polls as some polling stations might open late.

Meanwhile, the heavy deployment of security forces including the military is being seen by some as intimidation, while government assured the population security. The Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo has called on eligible voters to go and cast the ballot.

So far elections are peaceful, twitted a local journalist working for NTV at around 10 am East African time.

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DHL Global Forwarding invests 126.5 million rand in new facility in South Africa
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments
Clement Blanc, Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding, South Africa
Clement Blanc, Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding, South Africa

The new facility will boast 10,000 square meters of warehousing space, doubling the existing capacity to meet future demand.

Signs exclusive ten-year lease for approximately 13,000 square meters of office and warehousing space at the newly-developed Skyparks Business Estate near Oliver Reginald (O.R.) Tambo International Airport; the new facility will boast 10,000 square meters of warehousing space, doubling the existing capacity to meet future demand.

In a strategic move that reinforces its commitment to the country, DHL Global Forwarding  is investing ZAR 126.5 million into a new facility in Johannesburg. Aimed at cementing its market-leading position in South Africa, the new 13,000 sqm facility will be located within the bonded  zone at Skyparks Business Estate – a hair’s breadth from the O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Clement Blanc, Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding, South Africa said, “While it’s too early to fully grasp the economic impact of the current pandemic, our confidence in investing ahead of the curve is abetted by our diverse service portfolio and long-established foothold in Africa. As the world’s largest free trade  area moves toward economic integration, our five-year strategy  to sharpen our core business offerings and accelerate digitalization will further our growth in the region and specifically, in South Africa.”

Twice the size of its current set-up, this new facility will consist of a 10,000 sqm warehouse that enables the leading forwarder to consolidate all its customers’ warehousing requirements. There will be an exclusive and specialized cold chain  facility that consists of three adjustable temperature controlled refrigerators geared to handle the life science and healthcare products in and out of South Africa. The warehouse will also support other value added services including cross-docking, storage for air, ocean and road freight services, and a platform for breakbulk cargo.

“Custom-built to our world-class specifications and located in proximity to the airport, arterial thoroughfares and upcoming industrial parks, this new facility will be the game-changer for DHL in the country. We are well-poised to focus on delivering excellence to our customers as we surround ourselves with the critical infrastructure that is needed to enhance our productivity and efficiency,” added Blanc.

Even as the South African economy is expected to inch forward by about 1-2%  in the next two years, industry observers are optimistic that the government’s commitment to improve investment and efforts to revitalize townships and industrial parks will reap much-needed benefits. Equally, a flourishing e-commerce sector will drive greater demand  for retail warehousing and distribution space, especially for perishables and fast-moving consumer goods.

DHL (www.DPDHL.com) is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfilment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 380,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global sustainable trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, engineering, manufacturing & energy, auto-mobility and retail, DHL is decisively positioned as “The logistics company for the world”.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 63 billion euros in 2019. With sustainable business practices and a commitment to society and the environment, the Group makes a positive contribution to the world. Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to achieve zero-emissions logistics by 2050.

*SOURCE Deutsche Post DHL

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WHO DG, TEDROS GHEBREYESUS, GHANA’S PRESIDENT, AKUFO-ADDO, MO IBRAHIM, GRACA MACHEL, OTHERS, EMERGE WINNERS IN THE ALM PERSONS OF THE YEAR 2020 AWARDS
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

PORTSMOUTH, United Kingdom, January 13, 2020 — The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Awards committee has unveiled the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as the African of the year 2020; the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, as the African Political leader of the year 2020; Graca Michel as the African Climate Champion of the year 2020, alongside 10 other distinguished Africans in a keenly contested poll.  The poll attracted over 120,000 votes on the ALM website; over 7 million active online engagement during the voting period; and over 5000 votes via email.

The winners shall be decorated and presented with honour instruments on February 26th, 2021, during the annual African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Award ceremony. This year, the event is billed to hold virtually and set to host influential Africans in business, politics, and all spheres of African leadership spectrum. As has been the tradition, the winners were unveiled by the Publisher of the Magazine, Dr Ken Giami, at the U.K. Head Office of the group. The announcement of the winners was preceded by the awards committee working with the editorial team to collate online and offline votes and submissions from the over 1 million subscribers/followership base of the publication.  The full list of winners as below:

African of the Year 2020: 
1.    Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, – Winner
2.    Strive Masiyiwa, Founder & Executive Chairman, Econet Group, Zimbabwe – Runner-up 

African Political Leader of the Year 2020: 
1.    H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana – Winner
2.    H.E. John Magufuli, President of Tanzania – Runner-up    

African Female Leader of the Year 2020: 
1.    Tiguidanke Camara, Chairman & CEO, TMG Group, Guinea – Winner
2.    Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Africa – Runner-up           

African Educationist of the Year 2020 
1.    Professor Samuel Edoumiekumo, Vice-Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Nigeria – Winner
2.    Dr Patrick Awuah Jr. Founder & President, Ashesi University, Ghana – Runner-up     

African Industrialist of the Year 2020
1.    Nicky Oppenheimer, Chairman, Oppenheimer Generations, South Africa – Winner 
2.    Abdulsamad Rabiu, Chairman, BUA Group, Nigeria – Runner-up  

 African Philanthropist of the Year 2020 
1.    Mo Ibrahim, Founder, Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Sudan – Winner 
2.    Ayo & Helen Oritsejafor, Founders, Eagle Hand Foundation, Nigeria – Runner-up 

ALM Young Person of the Year 2020 
1.    Sadio Mane, Footballer, Senegal – Winner 
2.    Eder pale, Founder & CEO, Mozhandlings, Mozambique – Runner-up    

African Agricultural Champion of the Year 2020
1.    Onyeka Akumah, Co-founder, FarmCrowdy, Nigeria – Winner 
2.    Noel Doyle, Chief Executive, Tiger Brand, South Africa – Runner-up  

African Climate Champion of the Year 2020 
1.    Graca Machel, the former first lady and climate activist, Mozambique – Winner
2.    Agnes Matilda Kalibata, President, Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa – Runner-up      

Africa Peace & Security Leader of the Year 2020 
1.    H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Nigeria – Winner
2.    General Vincent Nundwe, Army Commander, Malawi – Runner-up 

African Energy Leader of the Year 2020 
1.    Kwameh Kyei, MD/CEO, Unity Oil Company Ltd, Ghana – Winner 
2.    Nkechi Obi, MD/CEO, Techno Oil, Nigeria – Runner-up 

African Public Health Champion of the Year 2020
1.     Dr John Nkengasong, Director General, Africa CDC, Cameroon – Winner 
2.    Jean-Jacques Muvembe, Ebola Vaccine, Congo – Runner-up  

Africa Disruptor of the Year 2020 
1.    Kamal Yakub, Founder, Uber for Tractors, Ghana – Winner 
2.    Ken Njoroge, Co-founder & Group CEO, Cellulant Corporation, Kenya – Runner-up  

The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year Awards, which has become the leading vote-based third-party endorsement in the continent, recorded an upsurge of over 50% votes from the previous year, mainly from Africans within and the Diaspora.  

The Publisher, Dr Giami, maintained that 2020 had been a very turbulent year, with the COVID-19 pandemic stretching Africa’s fragile health systems and exacerbating poverty in the continent. However, he stressed that certain Africans contributed towards minimizing the impact of the pandemic on the continent and helped in inspiring hope for the future. These Africans are deserving of a special commendation. In his words, “all the nominees for this year’s persons of the year have contributed in no small measure towards minimizing the impact of the pandemic on the continent through their work and are deserving of the crown.” Continuing, he stated that, “the nominees have demonstrated great faith in the Africa project, and are ‘walking their talk’ in their communities, helping in changing the negative narratives about Africa globally.    They all are true lovers of Africa, determinedly contributing, sometimes amidst challenging circumstances but undoubtedly making Africa and the world a better place for all.” 

The African Leadership Magazine Persons of the Year which is in its 9th year is an annual award reserved for distinguished Africans, who have blazed the trail in the year under review. A shortlist of nominees are selected from results gathered via a Call for the nomination – traditionally promoted via a paid online and offline campaigns across the continent, Europe, and the Americas. The call for nomination is the first step in a multi-phased process. 

This year, the selection committee expanded the categories to cover other key themes that are critical to Africa’s future ambition and sustainability aspirations. It included subjects that resonated with the continent in the year 2020, including – individual, institution and group contribution to the fight to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. Other themes included – Africans whose activities, policies and actions have contributed to ‘Investments in Africa’s young people, jobs & wealth creation; promotion of sustainable peace & development, delivering democratic values; & the promotion of Africa’s image globally.  

About African Leadership Magazine: 
The African Leadership magazine is published by African Leadership (U.K.) Limited, a company registered in the United Kingdom. The magazine focuses on bringing Africa’s best to a global audience, telling the African story from an African perspective; while evolving solutions to peculiar challenges being faced by the continent today.Since its maiden edition, African Leadership Magazine has grown to become a leading pan-African flagship leadership-focused publication read by over 1, 200, 000 targeted international investors, business executives, government policymakers, and multilateral agencies Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Europe, and the U.S. It is distributed at major international and African Leadership events around the world. The magazine has over 1 000,000 subscribers/Followers on Facebook and a virile readership on other social media platforms. It is a niche and unbiased African voice born out of a desire to tell the African story from an African perspective by focusing on individuals and corporates known for their legacy-based approach to leadership. 

*Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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Uganda the 15th country in Africa to restrict social media due to elections
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

The study conducted by the privacy protection company Surfshark shows that Uganda became the 15th country in Africa that has restricted social media access due to elections since 2015. Cutting off social media access is a common practice in African countries, especially during elections, protests, demonstrations, or exams. The researchers revealed that at least 27 countries in Africa blocked or heavily restricted social media access over five years.

Over five years, Burundi, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea, Togo, Tanzania, Benin, DRC, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone have also restricted access to social media due to elections.

“Social media has established itself as a key political player of its own. However, as its influence grows, so does the governments’ desire to censor it by introducing new laws, restricting access, or blocking social media altogether,” says Gabrielle Racai, Communications manager at Surfshark. 

“What’s especially concerning is the increasing number of countries worldwide that block or censor the internet amid the elections. Governments in Belarus, Tongo, Burundi, and Tanzania have already shut down social media during elections in 2020, whereas Uganda becomes the first country to do so in 2021”.

About the social media censorship report:

Privacy protection company Surfshark analyzed 185 countries and their social media blocking practices from 2015 to the present day, seeking to evaluate the extent of social media censorship. The research shows that 62 out of the 185 analyzed countries blocked or heavily restricted social media access in the past five years. 

The data was collected through open-source information from Freedom House, Netblocks, and reputable news reports from 2015 to the present day. Social media was conceptualized as social networking sites (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) and communication apps, including VoIP apps (i.e., Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber). Both local and national social media blockings have been taken into account in the study. 

The final social media censorship report with regional deep-dives can be found here:

Surfshark, a Gold medalist at 2020 Info Security Excellence awards as Hot Security Technology of the Year, is a privacy protection toolset developed to provide its users with the ability to control their online presence seamlessly. The core premise of Surfshark is to humanize online privacy protection and develop tools that protect users’ privacy beyond the realm of a virtual private network. Surfshark is one of very few VPNs which have been audited by independent security experts.

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Ending Violence in Mozambique Will Require United Effort; African Energy Chamber Stands Ready to Assist
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

To develop a long-lasting solution, we should think about the kinds of things that make an area ripe for insurrection

By NJ Ayuk*

I won’t sugarcoat it: The situation in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province is dire. Armed conflicts between security forces and the militant Islamic group, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamo (ASWJ), known locally as “al-Shabab” even though it has no connections to the Somali group with that name, have left dozens of people dead and displaced thousands since last fall.

The violence is not new: The insurgents have been mounting brutal attacks within Cabo Delgado since 2017. Some argue that these brutal incidents are a response to poverty and feelings of marginalization among the residents of the province. Others claim ASWJ is motivated by a desire to control the region’s vast natural gas and mineral resources. Government leaders have blamed global jihadism. Any certainly, many of these factors have played a role in the current situation to varying degrees.

In any case, the violence is now escalating and intensifying the area’s misery. People live in constant fear. Families are struggling to feed themselves. Many are still reeling from the aftermath of Cyclone Kenneth, which struck in 2019, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, so this situation is a particularly painful blow.

The violence is not only contributing to deaths and hardship, but also perpetuating the cycle of poverty and desperation that helps feed terrorist activity in the first place. It is jeopardizing one of Mozambique’s most promising paths to economic growth and diversification: strategic development of the area’s offshore gas reserves. In early January, Total began removing staff from the site where it is leading efforts to build onshore facilities for the Mozambique LNG (liquefied natural gas) project. It did so after fire was exchanged between government troops and insurgency members in Quitunda, the resettlement village Total built for local people who’d lived within the boundaries of the site.

Mozambique LNG is still alive, but progress has been delayed. And we don’t know how yet conditions in Cabo Delgado will impact other projects in the area. The stakes are high: Total’s Mozambique LNG is only one of three consortia that are slated to invest close to US$60 billion in large-scale LNG projects over the next few decades.

All of this is troubling. But there is hope. There is a path to a lasting solution. And the African Energy Chamber would like to help. Our goal is to offer solutions and to finance peacebuilding measures and a negotiation initiative.

To be clear, I’m talking about working toward a thoughtful, well-planned roadmap to peace and stability, not throwing money at the problem.

I’m certainly not talking about paying the militants in hopes of appeasing them, as some have proposed. This is a bad idea. A payoff cannot be expected to solve a complex, volatile problem like this. It might provide a temporary bandage, but it would not be a cure. Without more meaningful solutions, other armed groups could easily replace the current one.

What I’m calling for is the beginning of a dialogue. We recommend an investment not in payoffs, but in socio-economic projects that would empower youths in the region. We recommend replacing desperation with hope. We recommend replacing promises with tangible shows of support and respect for the community. That’s how we can create stability and make Mozambique less vulnerable to violence and turmoil.

We’re also convinced that arriving at a solution will require an “all hands on board” effort: Both the international community and oil and gas industry stakeholders have roles to play, ranging from financial support to contributions of expertise and resources.

Here are some of the steps that will get us there, along with potential hazards we must avoid along the way.

Mozambique’s Military Needs Support — Not Mercenaries

Mozambique’s armed forces are struggling to contain the insurgents, who appear to be increasingly more sophisticated in their tactics. I agree with Jasmine Opperman, an Africa analyst with the conflict-monitoring group, Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED), who recently pointed out that government forces are in a defensive mode. “They are spread thinly, and the insurgents have too much leeway in terms of time and pace with which they move, and in terms of attacking at free will,” Opperman told VOA News.

Mozambique should not be spending valuable resources on foreign guns for hire: That creates, at best, a checkmate that could drag out indefinitely. It would be much wiser to invest in Mozambique’s military and to devote national resources to creating stability through socioeconomic programs.

Mercenaries are not Mozambique’s only option. Mozambican troops should be properly trained to address the insurgents effectively while protecting – and rebuilding the trust of – civilians. They must have the resources they need to be successful. To achieve this, the international community should provide financial and training assistance. Once the training is complete, the troops would take the lead in protecting communities, and Mozambique could send the foreign mercenaries home.

We Must Empower Communities

But Mozambique’s military response is only part of the answer. To develop a long-lasting solution, we should think about the kinds of things that make an area ripe for insurrection. Desperation. Feelings of powerlessness. Of being unseen and unheeded. One factor contributing to those feelings in Cabo Delgado is a sense among the people there that gas projects like Mozambique LNG will turn into another instance of the resource curse, becoming enterprises that benefit a select few while bringing hardships down upon surrounding communities.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I already believe that community members stand to benefit from Total’s Mozambique LNG and other gas initiatives because of the long-term opportunities they will create to ease the area’s widespread energy poverty, support capacity building, and contribute to economic diversification and growth. But I realize that community members need to know they can count on tangible benefits; they don’t want to be asked to trust in potentials or opportunities on the horizon. That’s why we must create a framework that ensures community members reap concrete benefits from the LNG project sooner rather than later. I suggest creating a community trust, an oil-money management strategy that I wrote about in my book, “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.” This would allow an agreed-upon percentage of LNG project revenues to be set aside to meet residents’ most pressing needs — needs they themselves identify — which might include infrastructure, widespread power access, healthcare, education, and jobs.

This would be doable with the cooperation of Mozambique’s government and the oil and gas companies operating there.

As I wrote in my book, establishing carefully managed trust funds for communities can overcome a multitude of problems.

  • Instead of watching an elite few put petroleum revenues into their pockets while they deal with the consequences of extraction, everyday Africans would see tangible benefits in their own communities.
  • Individuals would finally have a say on how oil revenues are invested and how returns are spent. Their voices and insights would be valued and capitalized upon.
  • Communities would not have to rely on governments to be ‘middlemen.’ Companies would make the payments directly into the fund.
  • Communities could invest fund returns into programs that translate into improved quality of life and job opportunities. As a result, disenfranchisement, desperation, and violence would decrease.

Give Rebels a Safe Way Out

Our strategy must also consider the concerns of those who already have been recruited into the insurgency. Rebels need to feel they have another option – not just that their communities will be treated fairly, but also that they and their families can safely move forward.

To achieve this, Mozambique’s government should be prepared to create an amnesty deal for the rebels. Government leaders will need to reach out to militant groups and begin a confidence- and trust-building process that will, hopefully, culminate in a mutual ceasefire agreement. That should be followed by a disarmament and demobilization project, one that oil companies in the area should back.

This Must Be a Cooperative Effort with all Energy Companies

What’s more, the oil and gas industry should work with the government to make sure that Mozambique’s massive natural gas reserves, and efforts to capitalize upon them, truly benefit local communities. And, both government leaders and oil and gas companies need to inform, educate, and build awareness among the people of Cabo Delgado — from elders and youths to militants to local authorities — of the critical importance of a successful ceasefire and the need to support President Filipe Nyusi’s administration in its determined bid to ensure a sustainable solution to the current crisis.

I call upon the U.S. and French governments to support Mozambique’s efforts. Building stability and ongoing economic opportunities is in their countries’ best interests. The Biden and Macron administration have a unique opportunity to use economic support to develop one Africa’s most promising economies.

President Nyusi and Mozambique’s leadership has embraced the support of oil and gas industry stakeholders and the international community. They must deepened their ties and to work with them to develop long-term solutions – strategies that transition Mozambique from reacting to attacks and crises to proactively preventing violence and setting the stage for a better future. And as all of this unfolds, we must support the government in its efforts to maintain open communication:

Currently, insurgents are creating disorder and disrupting economic development in the region.  We need to give President Nyusi’s government our unlimited support and empower his team. We need to offer hope and support the aspirations of everyday citizens in the region. We need to do this together, starting now.

*NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber

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