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Arsenal and WorldRemit launch second edition of Future Stars
August 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
Two community football coaches, one male and one female, will attend an exclusive training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches in London

LONDON, United Kingdom, August 22, 2019/ — Arsenal and online money transfer service, WorldRemit (https://www.WorldRemit.com), are offering one male and one female football coach from Africa or the Americas the chance to attend an exclusive training programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches in London.

Now in its second edition, the “Future Stars” programme was developed by WorldRemit and Arsenal to celebrate the positive impact that grassroots youth football coaches have on their communities, helping the children they train to develop life skills both on and off the pitch.

Future Stars is free to apply for and open to youth team (under 16s) coaches from across Africa and the Americas. WorldRemit will sponsor two winners, one male and one female, to fly to London for a personalised coaching programme with Arsenal Football Development coaches. Through the programme, 20 shortlisted coaches will be rewarded with Arsenal shirts for their youth squad.

Apply now

Entries are now open on https://www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com/ or via a chatbot on the WorldRemit Facebook page (http://bit.ly/2ZeBf5O) until 4 September. To enter, coaches simply need to complete a short application form explaining why they deserve to be granted this unique training opportunity and how they would use it to build a lasting legacy of positive change through football.

How it works

1. From the online applications, 20 coaches will be shortlisted to receive Arsenal youth shirts for their team. Applicants will be assessed against the following criteria by a panel of judges including Catherine Wines, Co-Founder at WorldRemit; Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development; and Marc Thorogood, Business Manager at Arsenal Football Development.

Selection criteria:

  • The commitment of the coach to improving the lives of their community
  • The impact the coach has had on young people within their community
  • The strength of the coach’s proposal to pass on their training on their return home

2. From the shortlist of 20, the judging panel will select eight coaches as finalists – four male and four female.

3. The eight finalists’ stories will be shared on https://www.FutureStars.WorldRemit.com/ and the winners will be chosen based on a public vote on the website.

Andrew Stewart, Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa at WorldRemit, said: “Our customers work hard every day to send money home to support their communities. Inspired by them, we developed the Future Stars programme with Arsenal to shine a spotlight on youth community coaches who use their passion for football to build a better future for others.

“The standard of applications for last year’s programme exceeded our expectations. We’re excited to build on this success and celebrate the incredible contributions of male and female coaches from across Africa and the Americas.”

Simon McManus, Head Coach at Arsenal Football Development said: “Community engagement has always been at the heart of everything we do and we continue to work hard to promote greater levels of participation in sport, both in north London and around the world.”

“The Future Stars programme is all about recognising youth coaches across Africa and the Americas who bring communities together and are changing lives through football. We are looking forward to celebrating them and welcoming the two winning coaches to train with us at the Emirates!”

Last year’s Future Stars winner was Hamisi Mohamed from Young Talents Soccer Academy. Hamisi founded Young Talents, a mixed academy outside Nairobi, Kenya, to bring young members of his community together and help them avoid falling into tribalism, drug abuse and crime.

Hamisi said: “Training with Arsenal Football Development was the opportunity of a lifetime. For my own coaching, it was amazing to hear about the Arsenal coaching philosophy and how it can bring teams of all levels together. The exchange of ideas and practices is beneficial for both sides and leads to a higher standard of football at a grassroots level. Good luck to this year’s Future Stars!”

 

https://youtu.be/qwf8GMlFWoE

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African Energy Chamber to Conduct Working Visit in Beijing and Discuss Energy Deals with Chinese Investors
August 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Kenya ranked among the worst in the rule of law
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

File Picture.President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates the newly-sworn-in Chief Justice David Maraga at State House. /PSCU

File Picture.President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates the newly-sworn-in Chief Justice David Maraga at State House. /PSCU

The World Justice Project has ranked Kenya in position 101 out of 126 countries in a worldwide ranking on the rule of law.

The WJP Rule of Law Index 2019 report shows that Denmark, Norway and Finland are the top countries in adhering to the rule of law whereas Democratic Republic of Congo, Cambodia and Venezuela, the countries married with incessant chaos as the worst.

On region, Kenya emerged position 27 out of 30 states in Sub-Saharan Africa with Namibia on top. In East Africa Kenya was beaten by Rwanda which is number 40 globally but better than Uganda which is ranked number 113. In other regions, United Arabs Emirates topped the list in the Middle East and North Africa, New Zealand (East Asia and Pacific), Denmark (Western Europe and North America), Nepal 9(South Asia), Georgia (Eastern Europe and Central Asia) and Uruguay (Latin America and the Caribbean).

The 126 countries were rated on a score ranging from 0 to -1 where 1 heralds the highest score and 0 the lowest. In overall Kenya scored 0.45 against 0.90 recorded by Denmark.

Law Index determines the observance of the rule of law based on eight factors like Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Constraints on Government powers, Regulatory enforcement, Criminal Justice and Civil Justice.

In absence of corruption Kenya is in position 120, criminal justice 84, fundamental rights 101, regulatory enforcement 89, open governance 69 and order and security 119.

“In countries where the rule of law is not established there is violence, conflict and extremism. The annual analysis helps to determine where to allocate resources,” reiterated the executive vice president of the United States Institute for Peace (USIP).

The project recorded a drop in Constraint on Government globally in comparison to last year’s report. Criminal Justice, Open Government and Fundamental Rights have also declined. However, the countries have improved in fight against corruption.

 

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Kagame and Museveni agree to end hostilities
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Museveni (left) shaking hands with Kagame (right) after signing while João Lourenço looks on

President Museveni (left) shaking hands with Kagame (right) after signing while João Lourenço looks on

 

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has come to the agreement after signing memorandum of understanding to end years of hostilities between the two countries.

The agreement was signed this Wednesday in Luanda the capital city of Angola before the host president João Lourenço; Félix Tshisekedi of Democratic Republic of Congo and Denis Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo.

Inside the agreement, both parties have agreed to respect the sovereignty of each other’s and of neighboring countries,  refrain from conducive to destabilization or subversion in the territory of other party and neighboring countries thereby eliminating all factors that may create such perception as well as that of acts such as financing, training and infiltration of destabilizing forces.

Rwanda has been accusing Rwanda of imprisoning, torturing Rwandans living in Uganda without giving them justice. It also accuses Uganda of supporting groups that aim at destabilizing Rwanda.

Uganda has accused Rwanda of sending spies on its territory.

Both countries have agreed to protect and respect the rights and freedoms of nationals of the other party.

Since March this year, Rwanda had advised its nationals to avoid crossing to Uganda, over ill treatment they may get if they enter. The busy Gatuna border was also closed on Rwanda side, thus bothering the movement of goods and persons.

The Agreement signed today urges both party  to resume as soon as possible the cross border activities including the movement of persons and goods.

 

After signing, President Kagame promised to act accordingly with the agreement, and he said it is not difficult to do so.

“I think it is not very difficult to address many of the problems we have had, it may take a bit of time to understand each other but I think we have come a long way”, said Kagame adding that “I see no problem in Rwanda working with President Lourenço, President Tshisekedi and more specifically with President Museveni to address what we have agreed to address.”

Kagame emphasized that  “when you have an open border, you have goods and people. When you create a problem for people to move across the border from one side to another, then you have closed the border to people and goods.”

For Kagame, respecting the agreement means respecting mediators who brought both countries together.

“We are not going to be found wanting in not only respecting the communique, but also our brothers who have brought us together to reach this understanding”, he added

President Museveni noted that even the problem was in the line of being resolved however the agreement comes as reinforcement.

“I was already in touch with President Kagame through our own channels, but this came as a reinforcement. We are just re-affirming what we have always held as principles of the African Union”.

The pact that was signed says that agreement enter  into force immediately upon signature.

 

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New CNPC Discovery Confirms South Sudan’s Immense Oil Potential
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

While the country sits on over 3.5bn of proven oil reserves, the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of its territory remains under-explored

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 21, 2019/ — In what has become a remarkable month for exploration in Africa, a CNPC-led consortium has made a 300 million barrels of recoverable oil discovery in South Sudan’s northeastern Upper Nile state. It is almost as much as the Oyo Discovery announced earlier this month in Congo.

The exploration well was drilled at a total depth of 1,320m near the Adar oilfield in Block 3, operated by the Dar Petroleum Operating Company (DOPC), which includes CNPC, Petronas, Nilepet, Sinopec and Tri-Ocean Energy.

“This is a remarkable achievement for the country,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the Chamber and CEO of the Centurion Law Group. “Since independence, South Sudan has worked tirelessly to bring back damaged fields to production, and especially encourage exploration. Their efforts to maintain peace and stability and a safe environment for investors has paid off. We have always believed that stability goes hand in hand with economic prosperity. Such a large discovery confirms the huge potential of South Sudan in oil & gas just before the country launches a new licensing round in October.”

South Sudan has signed earlier this year an exploration and production sharing agreement (EPSA) with South Africa’s Strategic Fuel Fund for the highly prospective Block B2. The move was part of South Sudan’s strategy to diversify its basket of investors and encourage further exploration.

While the country sits on over 3.5bn of proven oil reserves, the third largest in sub-Saharan Africa, 70% of its territory remains under-explored. To boost exploration, South Sudan will be launching a new and much-awaited petroleum licensing round at the upcoming Africa Oil & Power conference in Cape Town on October 9th, 2019.

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Cameroon: Serious Fair Trial Violations In Such A Rushed Process- ICC’s Charles Taku on Life Sentence for Ayuk Tabe & Others
August 21, 2019 | 1 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The trial, conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others may complicate the much sought after but so far elusive dialogue, says Chief Taku

The trial, conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others may complicate the much sought after but so far elusive dialogue, says Chief Taku

 

Chief Charles Taku, immediate past President of the International Criminal Court Bar Association- ICCBA, says the trial and life sentence slammed on Julius Ayuk Tabe and others does little to foster the peaceful settlement of the current dispute as articulated by the international community. In an interview with Pan African Visions, the legal luminary says there were serious fair trial violations in the rushed process that culminated in the sentence for Ayuk and others arrested in Nigeria and brought to Cameroon .

To Chief Taku, the prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite no matter what to confront this and other challenges on the way towards attaining their defined objectives

“International justice may never entirely look  away from impunity and atrocity crimes;” Chief Taku said in warning to those excelling in gross human rights abuses.  

Chief Taku, what is your reaction to the jail sentences to Julius Ayuk Tabe and his co-detainees abducted from Nigeria?

The trial and its outcome do not advance the objectives of a peaceful settlement of the dispute favoured by the International Community.

From what you have learned, on what grounds did the court based its arguments in giving its verdict?

The information that I have about the judgment is incomplete. However, I have learnt that the trial, conviction and judgment took place in one day, underscoring the fact that the trial might have been rushed. I cannot second guess the reasons for the rush to convict and sentence them to life imprisonment.  There must be serious fair trial violations in such a rushed process.

Is there any legal precedent for this kind of cases in Cameroon?

Precedents exist within the legal framework that existed in the past. Since the enactment of a new Criminal Procedure Code a few years back, it is no longer possible to conduct a trial of this magnitude in a single day, deliberate, convict and enter judgment.  Each process in a trial requires procedural fair trial imperatives that may give rise to interlocutory appeals. Without a copy of the judgment before me, I am unable to ascertain the fair trial hurdles the tribunal panel surmounted to attain this feat.

What options are available for Ayuk and others, could the judgement be appealed?

This is one case where the integrity of the trial will be tested on appeal.  Fair trials and the due process of the law has taken central stage in the international human rights regime.  This appellate outcome of this trial and judgment will surely define the extent to which Cameroun is compliant with international human rights treaty obligations.

Looking at the whole conduct of the case, what does this tell the world about justice in Cameroon?

The world will surely not make an informed determination about the quality of justice in Cameroon and Cameroon’s commitment to its international human rights multilateral treaty obligations based on an informed evaluation of this and other judgments.  What I am certain is that, international human rights bodies have expressed strong reservations about submitting civilians to court-martials and military justice.  This type of justice is unconstitutional even under the operating Cameroun’s constitutional arrangement.

Just a hypothetical question Chief Taku, if this case was on trial in the kind of common law system that Anglophones Cameroonians clamor for, how different would the process have been?

A fundamental attribute of justice is fundamental fairness.  Through fair trials, the standards and precedents for future trials are established, including trials in which the judges themselves may be defendants some time along the line. This is the threshold on which the common law system that Southern Cameroonians once upon a time enjoyed and are clamoring for.  To underscore the rationale for this quest for a credible system of justice where rule of law and fair trials are well-founded, permit me to quote the memorable submissions of the Hon. Justice Robert H. Jackson of Counsel for the United States before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg established to hold Nazi war criminals accountable for the crimes that shocked the conscience humanity on November 21, 1945, reminded the Military Tribunal and the world at large that: “Fairness is not a weakness but an attribute of our strength. We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants today is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well. We must summon such detachment and intellectual integrity to task that this trial will commend itself to posterity as fulfilling humanity’s aspirations to do justice”

At a time when people are calling for dialogue, what impact do you think the sentencing of Ayuk, and others could have on the present crisis?

The trial, conviction and sentencing to life imprisonment of Sisiku Ayuk Tabe and others may complicate the much sought after but so far elusive dialogue to examine the root causes of the crisis.  I strongly call for the vacation of these sentences and their release to facilitate the dialogue and the peace process.

Some people have mooted the idea of a Presidential pardon or the kind of amnesty that was granted to people like Issa Tchiroma, and others accused of plotting the 1984 coup d’état, do you see this as an option?

I cannot second-guess the political calculations of the government of Cameroon in pursuing this route when the international community is insistently calling for an all-inclusive dialogue with no preconditions to tackle the root causes of the conflict.  Most people believe that these sentences and others before and perhaps after, will not bring about an acceptable solution to the crisis that is claiming the lives and property of millions of civilians.  The sentences will complicate and aggravate the peace and security situation.  Will an amnesty or pardon attenuate the situation? I sincerely cannot tell.  What I believe is that a prompt vacation of the sentences no matter how, may be a palliative to calming the storm in attempts to averting an escalation in times when the mode of the international community is for a negotiated settlement.

The prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite , says Chief Taku

The prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite , says Chief Taku

There has been near unanimity from all segments of the fractured leadership in condemning the verdict, could this move have the unwitting effect of uniting the various leadership factions of the Southern Cameroons struggle?

Indeed, there were clear indications that the various components of the leadership were pussyfooting towards some form of unity towards the prosecution of the struggle and the proposed peace process.  This move towards unity might have been fast tracked had some activists not kept the fuel of disunity, needless rancor and misdirected antagonism alive.  Activists have played a critical role in this struggle and may continue to do so. However, they must be alive to the fact that their intended audience is more sophisticated that some of them can image.  They must finetune their language of delivery of their ideas or commentary to meet acceptable degrees of decency, respect and humility.  The prompt condemnation of the sentences is a clear indication that the leadership of the struggle will unite no matter what to confront this and other challenges on the way towards attaining their defined objectives.

And for all those perpetrating gross human rights abuses, could the ICC that you are part of hold them accountable someday?

I am just a lawyer at the international criminal court and other international criminal tribunals but I may venture to state that International justice may never entirely look  away from impunity and atrocity crimes.  

 

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Between extortion and the sanctity of Petroleum contracts in Nigeria, DRC and Senegal
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

Investors need to know that their investments are safe and that they will be protected by the law in case the other parties falter on their obligations

NJ Ayuk

NJ Ayuk

By NJ Ayuk*

Last week, a commercial court in the United Kingdom gave reason to a claim by engineering company Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID), which demands over USD$9 billion from the Nigerian government over a failed gas deal. The decision follows a 2017 arbitration award and turns it into a legal judgement, which could allow P&ID to seize Nigeria’s international commercial assets.

P&ID’s claim is based on a 2010 contract signed with the government of Nigeria for the construction and operation of a “gas processing plant to refine natural gas (“wet gas”) into lean gas that Nigeria would receive free of charge to power its national electric grid,” the company’s website states. Under the deal, the Nigerian government should have provided the necessary infrastructure and pipelines needed to supply gas to the plant. P&ID would build the plant for free and then operate it and commercialize the output for a period of 20 years.

The company claims that over this period it would have earned USD$6.6 billion in profit, an incredible figure that becomes ever more fantastic as the company claims that the yearly 7% interest it is supposedly charging on this capital has now accrued to USD$2.4 billion, at the rate of USD$1.2 million a day, which closes the full amount at a perfectly round USD$9 billion. The whole situation is in itself extremely puzzling. Afterall P&ID, a company created specifically for this project, is claiming it is entitled to the full amount of what it would have gained over a period of 20 years of work, even though that period would not be over for another decade and some. Further, it is already charging interests on capital it would, if the project went forward, it would still be a decade away from generating. On top of that, it has chosen to pursue the matter in a British court, and has a separate law suite in an American court, when the contract was signed in Nigeria, under Nigerian law, and should be pursued in a Nigerian court, as the Nigerian legal team has repeatedly stated.

Nigeria is seeking an appeal to the decision, but P&ID is not wasting any time in trying to seize Nigerian assets abroad, and it might well manage to do so, at least in part.

Further, P&ID has never even broken ground on the construction of this power plant, which it claims would have benefitted so many thousands of Nigerians. The company has reportedly spent USD$40 million on preparatory work, although it is impossible to attest what that work has been.

Even just looking to the amount spent, work done and compensation sought, the figures seem simply absurd. USD$9 billion corresponds to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign exchange reserves, it would be unthinkable that a nation state would pay that much capital to a small unknown enterprise that invested not but a small fraction of that amount in the country and done none of the contracted work. Further, it is perplexing that a British court would even consider such a decision.

However, this issue represents an important cautionary tale for African governments everywhere. Very few things matter more in the struggle to attract investment and build a favourable business environment that will push the economy forward than the absolute sanctity of the contracts signed.

Investors need to know that their investments are safe and that they will be protected by the law in case the other parties falter on their obligations, as it seems to have happened with the Nigerian government. It is by no means the first time a situation like this happens. Just in March, an international court ordered the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay South African DIG Oil Ltd USD$617 million for failing to honor two oil contracts. This is an unacceptable and unjustifiable loss of capital for the people of the DRC. Particularly taking into account that the loss is incurred because the country’s leaders failed to comply with a contract that could have brought a considerable amount of wealth for the country for many years to come, in both royalties and taxes, as well as help develop its oil industry.

Senegal’s government under President Macky Sall was very smart to avoid this kind of litigation when it was confronted with the issue of the Timis Corporation and its ownership of acreage that included the Tortue field, which is estimated to contain more than 15 tcf of discovered gas resources. If President Macky Sall would have proceeded with terminating a valid contract for the acreage, the Timis Corporation would have engaged in arbitration and would have probably gotten a favorable judgment against Senegal. In the process, the gas fields would have sat dormant and produced no returns for Senegal and its citizens. Sometimes leaders are confronted with tough choices and it takes a profile in courage to find solutions and still respect the sanctity of contracts.

Even with criticism from civil society groups, Equatorial Guinea has honored contracts with U.S. oil companies that many oil analysts believe are unfavorable to the state. This principle has kept Equatorial Guinea’s oil industry stable and US firms continue to invest in new projects like the EGLNG backfilling project with Noble, Atlas Oranto, Glencore Marathon and the state.

African leaders and African nations can not afford this sort of mistakes anymore. If on the one hand, contracts must be respected, protected and followed through, the people in charge of evaluating and signing those contracts must have the project’s feasibility as the dominant reasoning behind any decision. What is the purpose of signing contracts for fantastic projects where there is neither the capital nor the conditions to pull it through. Our economies live out of their reputation too. No investor wants to work in a system where contracts are not honored and where their investments are not protected.

While P&ID’s request for USD$9 billion in compensations seems absurd, companies that see the contracts they sign with African governments, or any governments, disrespected, must have the right to claim compensation, just in the same way that African leaders must be responsible for the contracts they sign and must make sure that situations like this do not repeat themselves. Enough money has been wasted on lawsuits that could be used to benefit the lives of Africans. This is true for the oil and gas industry and in any other industries.

*NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group, Executive Chairman of the Africa Energy Chamber, author of the upcoming book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

 

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South Sudan Parties in Addis Ababa to discuss security, states issues
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

File picture.South Sudan's President Salva Kiir (front L) and South Sudan's rebel commander Riek Machar exchange documents after signing a cease-fire agreement during the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit on the case of South Sudan in Ethiopia

File picture.South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir (front L) and South Sudan’s rebel commander Riek Machar exchange documents after signing a cease-fire agreement during the Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Summit on the case of South Sudan in Ethiopia

Juba – South Sudanese parties to the conflict convened for a consultation meeting in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa to discuss the stalled security arrangement and the number of states.

This comes after Intergovernmental Authority on Development, IGAD, summoned representatives of the parties to the revitalized peace agreement to converge at the Ethiopian capital on August 20 – 21.

The security arrangement and the states border are tasks that were meant to be completed within the pre-transitional period.

According to the program seen by Pan African Visions, the consultation meeting will listen to reports from the National Pre-Transitional Committee, the Ceasefire and Transitional Security Arrangement, Monitoring and Verification Mechanism, and the Revitalized Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission.

The participants shall also go into closed-door meetings to discuss the “Security Arrangements Implementation, its challenges and the way forward.” This meeting is intended to review progress made during the pre-transitional period which is about to elapse.

In May, President Kiir and main opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar extended the pre-transition period after falling to implement the security arrangement such as cantonment of forces, screening, reunification and deployment.

However, the parties are left with less than three months to complete these tasks and to form the unity transitional government.

President Kiir’s group is headed by the Minister of Information, who is also the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei Lueth.

“We are going for this meeting to go and thrash out some of the outstanding issues and we identified the challenges and see how best we will address them,” Makuei said quoted by Eye Radio.

The parties shall also listen to a summary report of the Independent Boundaries Commission, a report which has already been submitted to the parties. The body recently completed its finding on the number of states needed in the next transitional period.

But Makuei said this report was submitted late, thus hindering the parties from properly scrutinizing the document.

“They only gave us…a copy to each party yesterday [Monday, Aug 19]. They have not yet reproduced the official copy to the members, so I doubt if we are going to discuss the report of the IBC,” Said Makuei. “They should have given to the parties earlier so that they discuss and come out with their positions,” He added.

Meanwhile, the government, including other opposition groups, says the parties to agree are not expected to extend the pre-transitional period beyond November 2019.

The SSOA, SPLM-IO, FDs and the incumbent government are expected to share various portfolios in the next coalition government -at the national and state levels.

President Kiir and Dr. Machar as First Vice President are expected to lead a government of national unity with four other Vice Presidents represented by the Former Detainees and the Opposition Alliance.

The main task of the unity government is to restore permanent and sustainable peace, stability and security in the Horn of Africa’s country.

Dr. Machar has repeatedly led descending voices not to form the government without proper security measures as guaranteed in the security arrangements, argued that they want a well- trained and unified security sector that can “guarantee the stability” of the next power sharing government.

Joseph Bangasi Bakosoro, South Sudan Opposition Alliance’s leader said any further delay will not be in the interest of the ordinary person.

“I think the public is putting pressure that we need to implement this peace in latter and spirit, and the extension is non-renewable,” said Bakosoro. “We are going to table that and see what is the next move. Of course, we put the interest of the public first rather than the interest of the individual.”

IGAD also extended the invitation to local pressure groups or civil society groups to act as observers during the discussions.

This is a first evaluation meeting of the parties to the revitalized peace agreement since the extension of the timeline in May this year.

The one-day consultation discussions will be addressed by IGAD Executive Secretary, representatives of Troika [US, UK and Norway], China, EU, UN, AU, IGAD Special Envoy for South Sudan, and the Chairperson of IGAD Council of Ministers.

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ME, FARAGE AND BREXIT…
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Omar Arouna*

I was introduced to Nigel Farage in January 2017 by a friend and a business partner shortly after he pulled off the Brexit win. –For those who don’t know him, Nigel Paul Farage is a British politician, broadcaster, and political analyst serving as Leader of the Brexit Party since 2019 and has served as Member of the European Parliament for South East England since 1999— We will connect at events time permitting whenever he is in Washington DC.

At tonight reception honoring him, Nigel directed my attention to the picture below and asked, “Ambassador do you approve?” I guess Nigel wanted me to reach beyond the noise and grasp a deeper meaning of his fight for Brexit. I read the message on the picture and it got me thinking.  Think about it as well…

It is well documented that EU policies affect Africa’s ability to address its agricultural and food challenges: Tariff escalation; technological innovation and food export preferences are major challenge that the continent needs to overcome. African shouldn’t be viewed simply as raw material exporters. However, adding value to the exports out of the continent continue to be frustrated by existing EU policies.

According to Calestous Juma a professor of the practice of international development at Harvard Kennedy School “EU charges (a tariff) of 30 per cent for processed cocoa products like chocolate bars or cocoa powder, and 60 per cent for some other refined products containing cocoa.” The impact of such charges goes well beyond lost export opportunities. They suppress technological innovation and industrial development among African countries. The practice denies the continent the ability to acquire, adopt and diffuse technologies used in food processing. It explains to some extent the low level of investment in Africa’s food processing enterprises.

Such High import duties keep products from developing countries out of Europe. Highly processed products are taxed more heavily than raw products. Import tariffs increase the more processed a product becomes. This measure ensures that most imports to the EU are raw products like coffee, cocoa or pineapples which cannot be cultivated in Europe.

MAYBE BREXIT MIGHT NOT BE A BAD THING FOR AFRICA AFTER ALL…just a thought

*Omar Arouna is a Cybersecurity Technologist, Diplomat, International Relations and Africa market entry strategist

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With Brand New Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal and a Gas Mega Hub, Equatorial Guinea Drives the African Game
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
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Rachid Taha leaves us Je Suis Africain
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
Rachid TAHA, Paris, 2004

Rachid TAHA, Paris, 2004

A posthumous record? “Nothing to declare!” as Rachid would have said, leaning on the bar counter, with messy hair, bright eyes, and a raspy voice. He’s there, you can’t miss him. He may be laid to rest in Algeria, but he hasn’t left us. He knew that those who are allegedly missing are well and alive: “Do you really know the others?” the master of rock-Chaâbi once asked, quoting the greats Johnny Cash, Oum Kalthoum, and Andy Warhol in a prophetic song titled Andy Walhoo. He wrote this arabic-punk-electro piece with guitars, balafon, and mouth harp before succumbing to a heart attack on September 12, 2018. “I was there with you last night, you told me to come. Every week you tell me, I’m waiting for you in my slum, there’s a Picasso exhibition, go see him. What a bastard, he had a nice mirror, I saw Jean Cocteau kissing Jean Marais,” he sings, ending with a big laugh. So nobody is gone, they live on in us.

With boundless energy, Taha wrote eleven songs together with Toma Feterman for his eleventh solo album, diving deep into his roots as usual. First, Algerian Chaâbi, so subtle, yet so complex. Then rock, which took the world by storm during the postwar period, and punk, its offshoot, in the style of The Clash. Finally, electronica, the musical revolution of the late twentieth century, as hypnotic as the Gnawas guembris or Sufi trance sounds. Rachid was influenced by all of it.

Youyous, flutes, women’s choirs, metal riffs: the French-Algerian, however weakened by the paralyzing effects of Chiari malformation, which he suffered from, created whirlpools, deluges, torrents. He invited us to dance with Andy Walhoo, and also with Like a Dervish, his “first song in English, I know I’m cheating, my English is not so rich.” His plays on words were irresistible: English, backich, dervish, merlich… The troublemaker of the “alternative Koran” also used to speak francarabe, a mix of French and Arabic, which he used to both celebrate and mock the Jewish masters (Lili Boniche, Reinette l’Oranaise, Line Monty…), humming their oriental boleros, such as Chérie je t’aimechérie je t’adore and Bambino.

That’s why his new record, which he had been working on for two years before he was buried in the Sidi Benziane cemetery, had to be in mandoline-embellished French. One of the songs is called Minouche: “Minouche ma minouche, pourquoi tu te fâches, ne prends pas la mouche, ma jolie peau de vache… Minouche, donne-moi ta bouche” (Minouche, my little Minouche, why are you upset, don’t get into a huff, my pretty vixen… Minouche, let me kiss you). A popular dance tune for sure, with words sculpted by Jean Fauque, who worked closely with Bashung and Erwan Séguillon.

The rough voice and wild blend of styles don’t give an accurate description of this son of immigrants (born near Oran, Algeria, he was raised in eastern France and later settled down in Lyon). Rachid the rebel built bridges, “introducing beautiful people to the world” by singing Charles Trenet’s Douce France with his first band, Carte de séjour (French for “resident permit”), in 1986 to mock French integration while the Marche des Beurs (March of the French Arabs) was being broken up and François Mitterrand was celebrating the creation of SOS-Racisme (a movement of anti-racist NGOs founded in France in 1984). In 1998, he created a transgenerational hit with the album Diwân, which included a cover of Ya Rayah, the anthem of Algerian immigrants composed by the Chaâbi idol Dahmane El-Harrachi (1925-1980).

Throughout these years of experience—which also marked the rise of Oranian Rai music, which Rachid sang the traditional way, following in the footsteps of the great Cheikha Rimitti—he worked with Steve Hillage, whom he met in 1984. The former Gong guitarist was a lover of looped electronic rhythms, and starting in 1997, he infused his energy into the creation of Voilà, voilà, an anti–Front National, anti-xenophobic song that Rachid would never stop singing.

And ever since this sensory overload, Rachid continued to speak to us, and jostle us, in Arabic, French, Franglish, and even Spanish, through the limpid voice of the young Flèche Love (Amina Cadelli, born in Geneva of an Algerian mother), whom he discovered on YouTube after finally being introduced to the digital tablet. This extraordinary tattooed and esoteric artist accompanied him on Wahdi, a song with Gnawa rhythms, to which he added a Mexican trumpet, evoking Ennio Morricone.

The album was produced and co-written by Toma Feterman, a gifted multi-instrumentalist and founder of La Caravane Passe, a band that mixes rap, gypsy jazz, Balkan fanfare, alternative rock, and electro.

Toma and Rachid hung out at the same bars and clubs in the north of Paris (Bellevilloise, Cabaret Sauvage), following their friend Remy Kolpa Kopoul of Radio Nova (a French radio station created in 1981, which played non-mainstream and underground artists of various musical genres), whose death in 2015 left Rachid feeling orphaned.

Toma then asked him to sing Baba, a song that he had just written for Canis Carmina, his band’s next album. Over the course of one night, the two friends recorded a dozen tracks. “I used the recordings from this first session,” Toma said, “without needing to make him sing again, because there was nothing to change.” They improvised, and it was the beginning of a frenetic, productive adventure, of nights partying at Toma’s or Rachid’s, or spent in the studio. Hours of creation and surprises shared with his son Lyes, his friend Toufik, his mandolin player Hakim Hamadouche, and his former keyboard player Yves Fredj Aouizerate, who was also his last manager.

It was a club, a family, a community, a trip. The adventure even passed through studios in Bamako, because Rachid is African, having been born in Algeria, bordering Mali, the Mandingo musical empire. Je suis africain(I am African), the song that gives its name to the album, is an homage to the sounds of this great continent, that weaves together soukouss guitars, an Arab-Andalusian orchestra, Middle Eastern violins, balafon, and talking drums. “I am African, from Paris to Bamako, from New York to Congo”—the magnificent joker is having fun, playing with elegance. He takes the accent of a “fantastical” Africa and quotes Marley and Malcom X, Kateb Yacine, Franz Fanon, Patrice Lumumba, Angela Davis—all of them “African.”

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Technology is the game changer for sports betting, argues ICE Africa speaker, Seun Methowe
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
Seun Methowe, Head of Advertising and Partnership Sales, DAZN

Seun Methowe, Head of Advertising and Partnership Sales, DAZN

Seun Methowe, Head of Advertising and Partnership Sales, at global live sport OTT platform, DAZN, believes that new technologies and in particular streaming will create more demand from upwardly mobile players and lead to a transformation in the way that betting brands and broadcasters engage with the market.

Speaking ahead of his appearance at October’s ICE Africa where he will be one of 65 thought leaders contributing to the event’s learning streams, Methowe, confirmed: “DAZN’s platform Goal.com is the number one football destination on the continent with more than 20m users drawn from throughout the regulated gaming economies.  We are already working with major broadcasters and betting firms across Africa and there’s no doubt that technology will revolutionize the consumption of live and original sports content.”

He added: “New markets in entertainment, including virtual and fantasy football, are trends that experts in the gambling and betting industry will need to explore. Millennials in Africa are upwardly mobile and aspirational with huge numbers digesting information on sports, news and entertainment platforms with social media contributing to the ‘fuelling’ of this information digest.

“Content providers within the gaming industry are looking towards the creation of sustainable models and with a huge population base in excess of 1.3bn the potential in Africa is massive. ICE Africa is a powerful networking platform for stakeholders and therefore invaluable to any operator, decision maker or executive in the industry to garner knowledge and the opportunities that exist to grow their businesses.”

ICE Africa (2-3 October, Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa) provides an invaluable opportunity for operators, regulators and suppliers to meet, network, share best practice and see the very latest gaming products and services from the industry’s leading innovators.  Described by industry observers as ‘A showcase event that Africa can be proud of’ attendees will benefit from a programme of engaging content including Thought Leadership, Training, Regulation, Online vs. Retail, Integrated Resorts, Branding, Marketing, Sports and eSports.  Seun Methowe will be part of the panel entitled: Sports Content: How will the growth of streaming services impact sports betting and horse racing?

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