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President Mnangagwa Faces Embarrassment Over Disputed Burial Decision of Robert Mugabe
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

President Mnangagwa consoles mourners at a funeral wake for the former President and National Hero Robert Mugabe, in Borrowdale, Harare, (Picture by Justin Mutenda,Chronice)

Harare-There are strong signs of fears come Sunday end of this week if it is finally decided that the late nonagenarian Robert Mugabe will be finally buried in Zvimba Rural his home area, 60 kilometres west out of Harare. An atmosphere of nasty animosity grips the Mugabe family versus the Government of Zimbabwe over the burial place of the purported founding Father of Zimbabwe.

This, the Pan-African-Visions Journalist confirms with whole-hearted truth that the President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa may face remorseful embarrassment if the former President gets buried in Zvimba  his home of vestige. There has been growing nasty symptoms of misanthropy between President Mnangagwa and Mugabe family since the former President was ousted of power in 2017 on 21 November.

A close top source in Government contacted for comment took it up that there has been mistrust between the Mugabe family and the current Government leaders who removed Mugabe out of power. The source was caught hold of for comment late yesterday sun-set time after Robert Mugabe’s body had arrived.

‘’There are fears that President Mnangagwa may be embarrassed. There is a vibrant wave of mistrust, hatred and lack of faith in each other between the family and the Government led by Mnangagwa .

‘’Leading to the death of the former Leader last week on Friday in Singapore at Glen-Eagles Hospital , there have been spate of meetings about the burial of the former Leader who had announced a month before that he does not want to be buried at the Heroes Acre .

‘’The  Government obviously says the former President must be buried at the National shrine but this is against family members and relatives .There has been bad blood between two fighting groups ever since .

‘’There have not agreed yet. You will receive communication about the final decision in terms of burial. There is likelihood that there could be more nasty fears concerning burial place of the former Leader’’.

Mugabe’s Body Arrives..

His body arrived yesterday around 3pm in a Chartered plane. Grace Mugabe former First Lady was accompanied by Sydney Sekeramayi Former Minister of State Security, Ednah Madzongwe the former Senate President and Vice President Kembo Mohadi .

There was tense atmosphere of mistrust between two factions created by the nature of ZANU PF politics. There were groups of supporters on the side of Mugabe family and the other on President Mnangagwa’s side.

Grace Mugabe who kept on weeping bitterly according to sources who were at the airport was in black clothes, sad funeral regalia colours, with a face covered. President Mnangagwa later addressed people before the body was taken to his home at the blue roof in Borrowdale.

‘’We are here gathered to give homage to the Founding Father of our country. He is the man who led Zimbabwe to Independence. He has been our Leader since time memorial when we were fighting for black rule. He is a Pan-Africanist , said Mnangagwa at the Airport .

‘’We shall announce to you about burial arrangements but for now the body will proceed to his home in Borrowdale. I kindly urge you to attend in big number to pay your last respect to the icon of Zimbabwe’s Independence’’, he said .

 

 

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Zimbabwe Grapples with Big Shortage of ARVs.
September 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Taurai Nyandoro

Taurai Nyandoro

The Government of Zimbabwe has been urged to un-lock the US$400 Million Global Fund HIV and AIDS Finance. This will make it work way-forward solutions to prevent the further spread of HIV and AIDS. The call has come at a time the country is running serious shortage of ARVs.

Secondly, the Executive Director of the Zimbabwe AIDS Net-Work [ZAN] Taurai Nyandoro advised the Government to pay US $6, 9 Million owed to suppliers of ARVs between 2017 and 2018. This, he said is the other reason why suppliers of ARVs are not supplying the country with drugs.

According to ZAN Director, to un-lock the Global Fund US $4 million, the Government must increase support to programs that focus on HIV and AIDS.

‘’ Zimbabwe must un-lock US$ 400 million Global Fund HIV  finance which can help in alleviating poverty related to the spread of the deadly HIV which progresses to AIDS if not well managed .

‘’How-ever, to un-lock the finance, the Government must support programs in line with HIV and AIDS in the country.’’

‘’We want the number of those clients under the Global Fund to increase from 710,000 clients to a much bigger figure. The Government working with NAC has 113, 000 [Anti-Retroviral Therapy] ART Clients while PEPFAR has 193 clients .This will help eradicate HIV. Even by 2030 it’s possible to eliminate HIV if as well 90%, 90 %, 90% targets of the UNITED NATIONS are put in place.

Nyandoro further highlighted that the Ministry of Health and Child-Care has 100,000 people on ARV TEST and TREATMENT. This brings to 8000 new clients a month accessing services. He further advised the Government to give 15% support to the Health sector in its budget. This 15% increase which is Z$502 million makes it easy to get Global Fund support.

‘’The need to unlock the Global Fund finance facility is a big way-forward in making an end to the spread of HIV. There is shortage of ARVs of which the problem must be solved as fast as possible in the country’’, concludes Nyandoro .

A National AIDS Council official who declined to be named out said NAC in 2019 availed Z $23 million for HIV and AIDS in the country. He pointed out that besides this big money availed, the shortage of ARVs and STI Anti-Biotics is there because the Government owes suppliers much money.

‘’Yes. The shortage of ARVs must be addressed now. Anti-Biotics on Sexual Transmitted Diseases Treatment are on the short supply list as well. The challenge is now with those who use ARVs, the HIV positive people’’, he said.

 

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Kenya:Huawei’s new approach in involving more women in Technology
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27

Huawei Kenya has committed to support women in the IT via charitable aid through an initiative called Women In Technology Huawei (WITH) aimed at doing away with a notion hold by majority that only men can do well in technology sector. The program targets 4,000 girls and women within one year.

Through WITH women in technical careers will be empowered, connected and supported to develop their careers, interest and leadership skills especially in Science, Technology and Mathematics. They will also be provided with role models and opportunities.

The initiative will see doubling of the number of young girls mentored and trained through Cooperative Research Centres  (CRC)program, promotion of one third of Huawei employees and training of one half of employees in 2019, increasing trained females students by 10 per cent and female lecturers by 5 per cent from 10 per cent. Other targets are partners with their women, at least 7 customers and women-owned suppliers.

“I am personally driving this Women In Technology Huawei initiative as a boost for the women in Technology. The data for Huawei is about average for the ICT industry in Kenya which is too low, thus the need to improve into a more strategic and ambitious strategy. Huawei has in the best done quite a lot to its staff and interns as well as to its charity and University partner, but still finds more things. We have set some plans and targets and we will do our best and try to improve,” said CEO of Huwai Kenya Stone He.

 

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South Africa’s Eastern Cape water crisis in urgent need of government response
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire

File Picture.A resident of the Masiphumelele informal settlement collects drinking water from a communal municipal tap in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

File Picture.A resident of the Masiphumelele informal settlement collects drinking water from a communal municipal tap in Cape Town, South Africa. Photograph: Nic Bothma/EPA

Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) in South Africa says that it is deeply concerned by the ongoing water crisis in the Eastern Cape, which directly affects communities which Sonke works with in the Amathole District Municipality.

The organisations says that the crisis infringes the fundamental rights of the community members, including the right of access to sufficient water; the right to clean and decent sanitation; the right to dignity; and the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls. Additionally, this crisis has devastating consequences for the economy of the affected areas, which is largely agricultural.

“A lack of access to water is invariably a gendered issue because it renders poor women and children of all identities (including women with disabilities) more vulnerable to gender-based violence and other human rights violations. There is a disproportionate burden on women and girls to collect water. These journeys are long and onerous, and sometimes take place at night, without well-lit infrastructure for protection and peace of mind, as some of these women and girls have to be at work and in school during the day. Without water, women and girls are unable to practice safe sanitation for menstruation, inhibiting their participation in meaningful economic and/or social activities,”they said .

They add that access to water is a fundamental, basic right. When it is violated, this has a devastating domino effect which impacts the enjoyment of other fundamental rights. For example, last month’s temporary closure of two (2) Eastern Cape universities, the University of Fort Hare’s Alice Campus and Walter Sisulu University’s Butterworth Campus, denied students their right to an education.

“Despite persistent calls to action via correspondence and community protests, local government bodies have been unresponsive and inefficient in answering these urgent calls for improved water and sanitation access in the areas of Mnquma and Mbashe (Wards 17 and 3 respectively).”

It is reported that since April 2017, Mnquma Ward Councillor, Xolisa Pupuma, has urged the Amathole District Municipality to increase access to water in the affected areas by installing water systems and drilling boreholes. Pupuma was later informed by the municipality that it was unable to increase the number of water taps in the district. Pupuma’s most recent letter, drafted in March 2019, addressed the Mnquma Municipal mayor and requested the municipal government to supply water tanks to these areas to assist in alleviating the crisis. Local government and the mayor have failed to answer Pupuma’s most recent letter and all other demands have fallen on deaf ears. This is a travesty which undermines the state’s constitutional obligation to ensure the rights of all people “to have their dignity respected and protected”.

It is reported that the situation in the Amathole District is dire: villages with anywhere from 300 to 600 households have on average two (2) communal taps from which all their water and sanitation needs have to be met. It is not enough to argue that ‘93% of the South African population has access to water supply services and 76%…have access to basic sanitation services’ . Our conversations should go further. They must be concerned with the quality of that access: is it reliable and what are the means in which that water can be accessed?

It is added that the  problems are neither unique nor isolated to the Eastern Cape. All over the country, be it in urban, semi-urban or rural areas, access to basic provisions such as water, electricity and sanitation is dismal and consistently denied to poor, black South Africans. Advocacy and activism has been carried out by several civil society organisations. It is time, however, for the government to respond earnestly and substantively; a responsibility all too often falling solely on the tired shoulders of NGOs. If government fails again in this mandate, litigation must be resorted to to bring government to account.

 

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MenEngage Africa denounces recurring attacks of non-nationals of African descent in South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
 

MenEngage Africa has said that it is of major concern that South Africa continues to be the site of persecution of fellow Africans from other parts of the continent. Cross-border long distance truck drivers transporting goods to, and through, South Africa have been under attack from locals in recent weeks. The economic capital, Johannesburg, came to a stand-still when businesses identified as belonging to non-national Africans were attacked and destroyed, resulting in damage to property, disruption of people’s lives and loss of income. The lives and livelihoods of men, women, children and entire communities who have migrated to South Africa from other African countries for various reasons continue to be in danger on a daily basis – and this needs to end now.

The organisations says that these events have sent shock waves throughout all of Africa, with the global family watching in horror as looting went on with little intervention from the security services. This recurring violence has resulted in mounting anger – and justifiably so. In a number of African countries including Nigeria, Zambia and Mozambique, nationals took to the streets to attack South African-owned businesses and trucks in retaliation to the attacks on their countrymen and women in South Africa. But this eye for an eye approach is not helpful. It should not be that violence begets violence. It is dangerous for diplomatic relations across Africa, as it could have untold implications, including for our economic development, peace and security.

“Thus, we are heartened that the African Union Commission and foreign governments have issued strong formal protests to the government of South Africa in response to these continued attacks. It is also good that the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, has announced that he was sending a special envoy to express his concerns directly to the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa. It is also encouraging that Mr Ramaphosa himself has come out to condemn this spate of violence.

The events taking place in South Africa require a co-ordinated and sustained approach by all countries and regional bodies in the region, including the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (ECA),” says Hassan Sekajoolo,” chairperson of the Steering Committee of MenEngage Africa Alliance.

“This approach must consider that the attacks in South Africa have been labeled ‘xenophobia’, although they only affect people of African origin. The violence against non-nationals of African descent in South Africa gives rise to a new meaning of the word ‘xenophobia’. The word means ‘a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries’. The South African situation, however, demonstrates a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries based on what they look like – being African,” adds Mpiwa Mangwiro, Campaigns and Advocacy Specialist for MenEngage Africa Alliance.

Locals in South Africa blame migrants from other African countries for their social and economic woes, including lack of employment, substance abuse, human trafficking, crime levels, lack of housing, and pressures on the health system. As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we realise that the concerns of locals cannot be downplayed.

If claims that non-national Africans are responsible for the proliferation of drugs and various crime syndicates and illegalities are true, the law must be brought to bear upon the perpetrators. At community level, migrants have a responsibility to adhere to the laws of their host country and law enforcers have a duty to uphold and protect the laws and regulations of their country. At national level, there are formal mechanisms between the host country and countries of origin of migrants to deal with offences committed. The truth is that crime is carried out by criminals, irrespective of country of origin. Drugs and other crimes are committed by nationals all the time. Police are enjoined to carry out their mandate in terms of applicable laws.

Furthermore, the Constitution of South Africa sets out that everyone who resides in the country has the right to access health services, irrespective of their nationality or legal status. Thus, non-nationals must be allowed to access health care, especially women and children who often rely on state resources for their health needs because of a lack of crucial economic means.

The organisation  calls  on the South African government and all African states, the African Union Commission, and all regional bodies to play their individual and collective roles to ensure that this state of affairs does not continue. Africans cannot be attacking one another when there are peaceful mechanisms to find solutions to our problems.

“As MenEngage Africa Alliance, we remain committed to support all efforts that seek to ensure unity of the continent and ensure that the ideals of the founding principles of the African Union Commission are achieved”.

 

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Africans Rising saddened by xenophobic violence is South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

 

Africans Rising for Justice, Peace, and Dignity reports that it is  saddened and outraged by ongoing systematic atrocities committed on African people in South Africa, not only over the past few days but for over a decade. Violent attacks on black migrants have so far led to the loss of lives, countless injuries, and destruction of Black migrant-owned businesses. We strongly and unreservedly condemn these ‘afro-phobic attacks’ and call on the South African government to ensure safety for all.

The organisation says that while black Africans from other countries may be easy targets, we urge South African citizens, especially the youth, not to attack their African brothers and sisters. Instead, we urge them to peacefully engage the South African government to better understand the causes of these attacks. Africans Rising calls on the South African government to take responsibility and be accountable based on the social contract that exists between it and the people by addressing the root causes of this violence.

They sais that they call on the President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, and the entire government to play their role in making sure that there is a stop to these inhumane attacks. And to address the institutionalized Afrophobia that restricts the ability of migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless people to integrate.

“We wish for a better understanding of the need for pan-African solidarity, a better understanding of the role of many African countries in the fight against apartheid. If the perpetrators of these atrocities could be made to remember the continental solidarity of that fight perhaps the violence would end. “Even if all the migrants pack up their bags and leave, poor Black South African lives won’t change because their misery is rooted in centuries of injustices,” said Coumba Toure, Africans Rising Co-Movement Coordinator”.

They add that while acknowledging the actions and reactions of certain African governments, we again call on the African Union, regional bodies like SADC and all African heads of state to condemn the ongoing brutality and violence in South Africa, and advise their citizens not to respond to violence with violence. We also call on all Africans, including religious leaders, artists, lawmakers, citizens, and descendants of Africa to raise their voices in condemning these unacceptable acts.

The organisation also  urges African governments to use intelligence directed policing capable of anticipating and stopping looming acts of xenophobia.

“ As our core team sits in a circle next to the fire at Earth Rise Lodge in Rustlers Valley, we represent Ubuntu.  We (Africans Rising) are here from different African countries and the diaspora. Here, we feel welcomed, safe, and at peace with South Africans…This is how it should be everywhere. For Africans Rising, Earth Rise Lodge, Naledi Village, Rustlers Valley represents a model for people to live in dignity. But this cannot happen without the joint efforts of Africa and Africans. We urge (African) leaders to address the issues arising in order to stop this plague” said Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, Africans Rising Co-Movement Coordinator.

Africans Rising has also  called on the citizens and descendants of Africa to not respond to hate with hatred but to join hands in building the #AfricaWeWant.

 

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Civil Society Organisations call for a #SandtonShutdown on 13 September 2019 in South Africa
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire

 

The Call-to-Action, a consortium representing over 70 civil society organisations and individual activists working on gender-based violence says that it  condemns the continuous onslaught on womxn’s bodies, migrants and refugees.

Its says that In the recent spate of violence erupting across South Africa such as looting, arson and vandalism plaguing much of Johannesburg; in areas such as Jeppestown, Malvern, Tembisa and surrounding areas, migrants and refugees have been the main target in the unrest, with dozens of shops affected.

“Sadly, these incidences are not sporadic. Nor are they random “acts of criminality”. This is violence perpetrated on persons based on their gender, nationality and sexuality. Government continues to tolerate these attacks by taking a denialist approach to the underlying causes, in doing so, human life is trivialised. Government’s continued tolerance of these behaviours supports and justifies the actions of perpetrators”.

They say that as civil society, they question Government’s commitment to the National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination; perhaps it was just mere lip service?

“As womxn and gender non-conforming people of this country we have come to a point of no return”.

The country continues to function, with business districts and operations going on uninterrupted while womxn are killed in the very communities they operate in; we pledge our support to the womxn and gender non-conforming people protesting at the World Economic Forum for Africa, who call for a disruption of ‘business as usual’ to the economic machinery in the country.

We know that womxn are not a priority in South Africa; we also know that asylum seekers, migrants and refugees are not a priority in South Africa. We know that the South African government only responds when money is on the line.

“We therefore call on all WOMXN in SOUTH AFRICA to join in the disruption of the South African business day by taking a stand to shut down a central economic point, Sandton. We ask all Sandton businesses to close their doors and join womxn on Friday 13 September 2019, as we mourn being the living dead”.

To Government and business:

  • We call on Government to denounce Xenophobia and call it by its name and follow its own recommendations as laid out by its National Action Plan to combat xenophobia, racism, and discrimination
  • We call on government to support an end to systemic and structural violence against womxn and gender non-conforming people by finalising the National Strategic Plan on GBV and allocating it adequate funding
  • We call for the opening of shelters to include ALL womxn and children
  • We call on the South African private sector to take responsibility for being a driver of the deep inequalities.
  • We call on business to realise their moral, ethical responsibility to the communities where they operate and to take specific steps to help build social cohesion

To the men in our country:

  • We call on all men to examine their own behaviour and change.
  • We call on abusers to stop abusing and killing womxn.

To comrades at this time:

  • We pledge our support to the womxn in institutions of higher learning who are calling for an academic shutdown.
  • We pledge our action and support to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in South Africa
  • We call for the opening of all places of safety, and for building owners to make spaces available.

Organisations and individuals signing on:

  • ActionAid South Africa
  • African Diaspora Forum Women’s League
  • Advocates for Prevention of HIV in Africa (APHA)
  • Black Womxn Caucus
  • Centre for Human Rights University of Pretoria
  • Hospersa
  • Institute for Economic Justice
  • LifeLine SA
  • Rise up against GBV
  • SACCAWU
  • Scalabrini Centre
  • SECTION27
  • Sisonke Sex Workers Movement
  • Sonke Gender Justice
  • SWEAT
  • The Teddy Bear Clinic
  • The Archive: Amabali Wethu
  • The One in Nine Campaign
  • The Social Justice Foundation
  • The Stop GBV Campaign
  • Women and Girls Leadership Foundation
  • Women Leadership Social Empowerment
  • ZAZI

 

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Council for Renewable Energy Nigeria offers South Africa xenophobia returnees glimmer of hope
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, President of CREN

Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, President of CREN

Anticipating the need to quickly integrate the disenchanted Nigerian victims of xenophobic attacks from South Africa into the fabric of society and give them hope for a better future; the Council for Renewable Energy Nigeria [CREN] offers free training to returnee Nigerians to learn all about renewable energy technologies and begin entry-level careers in the solar PV industry at the Asteven Renewable Energy Academy, a subsidiary of Asteven Energy Group..

Dr Sunny Akpoyibo, President of CREN, revealing this, said “Nigeria is richly endowed and we shall not allow our people to be cast adrift after losing all they have worked hard for over the years. In support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s next level vision to change the Nigerian story, a part of which is ensuring that all Nigerians have marketable skills, we are offering this opportunity to all interested returnees to come learn technical skills and participate in a business that is commercially viable, environmentally sound and has social importance. We at CREN guarantee that they shall be trained totally free of charge and also fully equipped to be active participants in this sector”.

Speaking further, Dr Akpoyibo has made a call for all likeminded advocates to support this programme; to ensure that the providing returnees are given the opportunity to immediately get back on their feet as fully trained technicians in the fast growing global renewable energy industry. Their training will be contributory to Nigeria’s green growth agenda and the country’s climate mitigation efforts.

The Council shall liaise with the House Committee on Diaspora and the Nigerian Diaspora Commission to ensure that the returnee Nigerians are contacted and provided this opportunity. It doesn’t just stop there. They will also be trained on setting up renewable energy businesses, provided with product loans, mentorship and partner support to enable them become fully proficient in the industry; expand their skills sets and business portfolios. This will enable them contribute to Nigeria’s Green Growth Agenda,

The Nigerian Government has stated that from Wednesday, September 11, 2019, the first batch of 600 returnees will be airlifted back to Nigeria. This is an opportunity for those returnees to quickly get back on their feet.

The CREN/ASTEVEN Group Photovoltaic Installer Level 1 (PVI1) certification course from Asteven Renewable Energy Academy is designed for beginners, so previous experience with electronics/electricity is not necessary but is helpful. The trainees will benefit from real world, hands-on experience.

 Since 2007, CREN established under the purview of state and civil society institutions, is a private member based association that consistently and actively advocates for the promotion and deployment of renewable energy technologies in Nigeria; not just as a vehicle for power and energy security but a vehicle for social entrepreneurship and empowerment of the Nigerian people.

 

 

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Rwanda Named Long-Term Home for African Green Revolution Forum
September 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M. Mupenda

Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources speaks at the event in Kigali

Dr Geraldine Mukeshimana, Minister for Agriculture and Animal Resources speaks at the event in Kigali

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) Partners Group has unanimously selected Rwanda to host AGRF 2020 and serve as the home country of the forum going forward.

In a statement released on this Friday, September 6, 2019, H.E Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia who is currently serving as the Board Chair of AGRF Partners Group revealed that Rwanda’s successful hosting of AGRF 2018 was one of the triggers of the decision.

“Rwanda’s hosting of AGRF 2018 featured the largest attendance on record and the leadership of H.E. President Paul Kagame, both in presiding over that historic gathering and in his broader commitment to the transformational power of agriculture has set a model for all to follow,” he said.

“We are honored to be the home country for AGRF and are committed to working closely and collaboratively with our may partners across Africa and around the world to ensure the continued growth and influence of AGRF as the voice of Africa’s smallholder farmers and agriculture businesses,” Said Hon. Geraldine Mukeshimana, Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources.

“The move will add the Republic of Rwanda to the AGRF partners Group to help shape and drive the AGRF’s long term vision, deepen relationships with service providers to streamline organizational logistics, and unlock partnerships with several new institutions looking to grow with the forum,” reads the statement.

The AGRF underpins its partners noted that Rwanda’s pact as its home country “will increase accountability and commitment of the continent’s leaders to use the forum as the focal point for delivering on the goals laid out by African Heads of State and Government in the African Union’s Malabo Declaration, United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa Agenda 2063.”

AGRF is established as the platform for leaders from across Africa and around the world to advance concrete plans and share knowledge to tap enormous potential agriculture to drive equitable and sustainable growth across the continent. It has taken place in eight different countries over the last ten years.

The AGRF Group is made up of a coalition of 21 actors in the African agriculture sector. Among them include the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank, the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

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Washington Braces Up for Mega Forum on Making African Trade Easy
September 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

-Q& A with Angelle Kwemo  on Mate 2019

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Angelle Kwemo Founder and CEO Of Believe in Africa

Angelle Kwemo Founder and CEO Of Believe in Africa

 

Trade, the African Continental Free Trade Area, Prosper Africa initiative, business networks and more will be in focus during the upcoming Making African Trade Easy Forum organized by Believe in Africa Foundation. Considering that this is the 5th anniversary of Believe in Africa, we decided to do something different, says Founder and CEO Angelle Kwemo in a preview of the forum with Pan African Visions.

“We are strongly mobilizing the African diaspora, African, and American firms to explore partnership opportunities,” says Angelle Kwemo. Also expected at the event are several African leaders and close to 200 participants from Africa.

With experience working in diverse legislative and policy circles in the US, and Africa, Angelle Kwemo believes that MATE 2019 which runs from October 3-4 will provide a unique platform for delegates to understand and explore the myriad of business opportunities in the light of  recent developments in both Africa and the USA.

You are Founder and Chair of Believe in Africa, could you start by introducing the organization for us and what it does?

Believe in Africa is a non profit organization created by African diaspora leaders to promote African solutions to African problems, advocate for increasing the role of the African private sector into the continent’s economic transformation, promoting intra African trade,  and last but not the least promoting investment in women, and youth.  What we do is organize meetings, seminars, and create platforms to facilitate partnerships.

The organization is hosting the Making Africa Trade Easy Fair in Washington, DC, can you shed light on this?

This year is our fifth-year anniversary. We decided to do something special in Washington DC where the organization was born. Three important policies changes happen this year that coincided with our mission and will be at the center of MATE. Private sector, Finance and intra African trade.

  • Prosper Africa initiative announced by the current administration is perfectly in line with our vision to put the African private sector at the center of the continent’s economic growth as well as at the center of US Africa cooperation. We strongly believe that Africa should gradually get out of the “Aid dependency”. This can only happen if Africa attains its economic independence. That independence will begin when the African private sector will be strong and prosperous. Also, with Africa’s population growth exceeding the billion, Job creation is an emergency. Those jobs will not come from the public sector, nor from the humanitarian programs. Therefore, it is imperative that the governments, Africans, and partners like the US, MUST create the enabling environment for the African private sector to prosper. This also applies on US foreign policies. I believe this is what Prosper Africa intends to do. Support the private sector to double US Africa two ways trade.
  • International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), will open soon. Created by the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development (BUILT Act) with 60 billion USD appropriated (double of OPIC), it is one of the biggest changes in U.S. development policy in recent years. The DFC will combine the Overseas Private Investment Corporation(OPIC) and the S. Agency for International Development’s Development Credit Authority, add new development finance capabilities, including equity authority, and have a higher lending limit than its predecessor. It is aimed at advancing private-sector-led development and will prioritize low-income and low-middle income countries, where the DFC’s services will have the greatest impact.
  • This July the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) became effective, creating the world’s largest single market, including the world’s fastest growth economies. It is historical and creating the biggest opportunity of our lifetime. By 2030, Africa will have a combined consumer and business spending of $6.7 trillion in 2030. We should all play a role in making the continental market successful.

It is for these three reasons that as the African diaspora in the U.S., we decided to use our networks to help in promoting these policies with the concept of MATE.

MATE is a collaborative effort between us, USAID, and the Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center to promote Prosper Africa, and African Economic integration in order to strengthen U.S. – Africa trade relations and double two ways trade between both continents using the bridge created by the African diaspora.

Any projections on the level of participation from companies and businesses, and what will represent a successful MATE forum for you?

We are strongly mobilizing the African diaspora, African and American firms to explore partnership opportunities. As you know, the African diaspora is historically, culturally, and emotionally connected with the continent. Their proximity with the continent has been unutilized until today. They are the most effective US ambassadors to the continent. They abide by the American standards and have good understanding of both continent’s ways of doing business. With MATE, we want to equip them with tools that they need to trade and invest more in Africa. In doing so, they are not only contributing to the development of the continent, but they also promoting American products and services, and creating badly needed jobs in both continents.

That is why we are also bringing together U.S. agencies under Prosper Africa hospice, African leaders from both the public and private sectors to discuss and explore partnership opportunities.

How will the program of  events look like, what should participants expect?

The MATE program will comprise plenary sessions, workout sessions, seminars and roundtables. We will discus investment opportunities in various sectors like Technology and digital, AfCFTA, healthcare, agribusiness, textile and fashion, power.

Participants will get more insights or learn about resources available in the U.S through “Prosper Africa”, meet potential partners and investors. We will hold exhibitions, and create platforms for B2B and B2C.

Also, we are planning a special session on Women in Agriculture to coincide with our annual “AWAA” meeting. African Women in Agriculture and Arts (AWAA)” is a platform dedicated to empowering women in agriculture, especially in rural areas, enabling them to become self-reliant, productive and competitive. AWAA network was launched last year in Morocco under the hospice of H.E. Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou. We will bring women leaders from Africa to Washington to showcase their products and explore the U.S. market.

May we know some of the dignitaries who have confirmed participation at the event?

On the African side, we will have two heads of States in attendance H.E. Roch Kabore, President of Burkina Faso, H.E. Felix Tsisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahama, Chair AU Commission, H.E. Albert M. Muchanga, AU Commissioner of Trade and Industry, H.E. Lesego Makgothi, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations of Lesotho, Chantal Yelu Mulop, SA President of Congo on youth and violence against Women, high level representation of Afrexim Bank, Niger, Lesotho, Guinea, Mauritious, Rwanda, Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, and Senegal.

We will host Africa’s biggest women advocate like H.E. Adjoavi Sika Kaboré, First Lady of Burkina Faso, H.E. Aisha Buhari, and First Lady of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and H.E. Aissata Mahamadou, First lady of Niger.

On the U.S.G side, we will have, Hon. Tibor Nagy, Assistant Secretary on Africa, Hon. Ramsey Day, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for Africa, USAID, Hon. Constance Hamilton, AUSTR for Africa, Hon. Oren Wyche-Shaw, Deputy Assistant Administrator, USAID, Matthew Rees, Prosper Africa Coordinator, Tom Hardy, Acting Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, CD Glin, President & CEO, US Africa Development Foundation, Hon Alicia Robinson-Morgan, Director for Africa, Millenium Challenge Corporation, and Worku Gachou, Director for Africa, International Development Finance Corporation.

In the private sectors, we have more than 200 companies including large ones

like OCP, MTN, Standard Charted Bank and many more for more than 20 countries.

There will be a special session hosted by the African Women in Agriculture and Arts (AWAA), a platform dedicated to empowering women in agriculture, especially in rural areas

There will be a special session hosted by the African Women in Agriculture and Arts (AWAA), a platform dedicated to empowering women in agriculture, especially in rural areas

How much participation do you expect to come from Africa?

We are expecting around 200 participants from Africa. I must be honest to say that the most recent developments in U.S.  immigrations and visa policies have been counterproductive because it is difficult to imagine doubling two ways trade when African partners are unable to visit the U.S. It is also part of our duties to raise awareness about obstacles to trade. American needs to make sure its policies and all agencies policies are not self destructive, and pushing Africa closer to China, Russia and other competitors.

What is your take on the overall strategy of the Trump administration towards Africa, what has changed in the sphere of development and trade?

I want to remain objective and nonpartisan as African policies have always been in the past. On the trade front, I think the administration has good intentions: help Africa become less dependent on aid. If you run a poll in Africa on this subject, the majority of Africans will agree. The question now is how?  I think it will start with a big mind shift that American will have to make. Africa has changed, and the new Africans are ready for business and they are open to explore different avenues. I think American firms should come to the realization that they are in a competitive field and learn to adjust accordingly. This is the most difficult part.

Lastly America needs to innovate in their foreign policy approach and use the cultural bridge that the African diaspora represents. I will not emphasize it enough.   Diaspora entrepreneurs are also pragmatic. If they don’t find support in the U.S. they will find it somewhere else. It would be a waste.

As I said earlier, immigration policies send wrong signal to our African partners. How can you do business with someone who is not welcome in your country?

After MATE, what next for Believe in Africa, any other big projects or ventures in the horizon?

We will continue to build MATE and AWAA. I will give you more details in October 4, 2019. Big announcement are coming.

*Originally published by Pan African Visions, contact,pav@panafricanvisions.com, Tel:12404292177

 

 

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Nigeria: President Buhari sends delegation to register displeasure over xenophobic attacks in South Africa
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

President Buhari with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Buhari with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Muhammadu Buhari has sent a delegation to South Africa to register his “displeasure” over the killings of Nigerians in South Africa.

In a statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Buhari, Femi Adesina, the delegation will arrive South Africa on Thursday to find a resolution to the reported attacks.

Mr Adesina said Mr Buhari has “noted with deep concern, reported attacks on Nigerian citizens and property in South Africa since August 29, 2019.”

“Consequently, the President has instructed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, to summon the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria and get a brief on the situation; express Nigeria’s displeasure over the treatment of her citizens; and assurance of the safety of their lives and property.

“President Buhari has also despatched a Special Envoy to convey to President Cyril Ramaphosa his concerns and also interact with his South African counterpart on the situation.

“The Special Envoy is expected to arrive in Pretoria latest Thursday, September 5, 2019.”

The presidency did not name the special envoy.

Earlier, the Nigerian High Commission in South Africa said Mr Buhari would travel to South Africa next month over the attacks.

The high commission condemned the attacks and pledged to defend the interests of Nigerians in South Africa.

“All Nigerian victims of the current attacks are requested to come forward to report their situation to the high commission and the consulate,” Kabiru Bala, the high commissioner wrote in a statement.

Nigeria’s ruling party, APC, has also condemned the attacks which have been condemned by most Nigerians.

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UN peacekeepers in DRC not ready to leave
September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

UN peacekepeers in Congo

UN peacekepeers in Congo

UN  Secretary General Antonio Guterress has said UN Peacekeepers will not abandon Democratic Republic of Congo as security is still deteriorating in the east.

During a meeting with president of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi this Monday in Kinshasa, Guterres promised that  blue helmets will continue to ensure that the eastern parts of Congo  are secured.

Last year former president Joseph Kabila asked UN peacekeepers to leave, insisting their mission failed to bring peace in Congo.

Congo houses about 16 000 UN peacekeepers who entered in the country since 1998. It is the largest UN mission in the world.

Guterres  told president Tshisekedi that  UN would not ‘abandon the Congolese people’, BBC reported.

UN chief’s visit in Congo comes when the country is being on high alert after Ebola outbreak kills  2000 people since 2018.

Security deterioration is believed to have contributed to the spread of the outbreak.

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