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Ebola, Meningitis, Marburg and Lassa Fever to be piloted in African Risk Capacity Outbreaks & Epidemics Insurance Programme
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
An early discussion on pathogen selection for the ARC Outbreak and Epidemic Pilot Programme. Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever were ultimately selected. Photo: African Risk Capacity

An early discussion on pathogen selection for the ARC Outbreak and Epidemic Pilot Programme. Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever were ultimately selected. Photo: African Risk Capacity

JOHANNESBURG, April 10, 2018 – The African Risk Capacity (ARC), an agency of the African Union, is developing an insurance product to facilitate rapid, first-line financial responses to disease outbreaks. In the pilot phase, Ebola, Marburg, Meningitis, and Lassa Fever will be covered. Over 30 countries across Africa are at risk of an outbreak of one or more of these four epidemic-prone diseases.

The Ministries of Health in Guinea and Uganda, the two countries implementing ARC’s Outbreak and Epidemic (O&E) Pilot Programme, selected these four pathogens due to the history-based potential for outbreaks and accompanying devastating impact on populations and economies.

O&E builds on ARC’s successes in implementing climate disaster risk financing programmes in Africa. It is designed as an integrated system to enable governments to respond early and effectively to public health emergencies. The programme will work with countries to determine their epidemic risks and select pathogens to be covered, optimize early warning systems, create pre-established contingency plans for rapid response, and provide access to swift disbursement of financing through parametric insurance.

Mohamed Beavogui, Director General of ARC Agency and United Nations Assistant Secretary General said, Identifying this first set of pathogens for our programme is a significant milestone. After working closely with the governments of Uganda and Guinea, and with WHO AFRO, Africa CDC, and other stakeholders, this is a product that will make a difference for Africa, that targets the public health needs of Africans, and that was built through African and international collaboration.”

The highest global incidence of bacterial meningitis occurs in the “meningitis belt” of Africa, spanning 26 countries from Senegal to Ethiopia. West, East, and Central African nations are at risk of outbreaks of the Marburg virus disease and Lassa Fever, both of which are viral haemorrhagic fevers.

The 2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa resulted in 11,310 deaths in Guinea, Sierra, and Liberia with an estimated economic impact on the three countries of US $2.8 billion, according to the World Bank. Studies estimate that initiating the Ebola response two months earlier could have reduced the fatalities by up to 80%.

On the need to rapidly respond to disasters on the continent, Mr. Beavogui said, “African governments identified the need for faster financing to avoid another tragedy like the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and ARC is working in close collaboration with governments and our partners to address that need. We are creating an innovative system that acts early to finance efficient, effective responses to help stem an outbreak before it reaches a crisis level.”

The ARC O&E Pilot Programme is supported by The Rockefeller Foundation and Swiss Development Cooperation. Metabiota Inc, Health Systems Consult Limited and public health economists affiliated with Columbia University are collaborating with ARC on the development of its pilot product.

When launched as a full product in the fall of 2019 and made available to all African Union countries, O&E will help strengthen African health systems by contributing to national capacities in risk profiling and contingency/response planning, and ensuring that slow and unpredictable funding does not continue to prevent African countries and partners from adequately responding to outbreaks and epidemics.

About African Risk Capacity (ARC)

 ARC consists of ARC Agency and ARC Insurance Company Limited (ARC Ltd). ARC Agency was established in 2012 as a Specialised Agency of the African Union to help Member States improve their capacities to better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters. ARC Ltd is a mutual insurance facility providing risk transfer services to Member States through risk pooling and access to reinsurance markets; it is owned by Member States with active insurance policies as well as KfW Development Bank and the UK Department of International Development (DfiD), as capital contributors.

With the support of the United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada, France, and the United States, ARC assists AU Member States in reducing the risk of loss and damage caused by extreme weather events affecting Africa’s populations by providing, through sovereign disaster risk insurance, targeted responses to natural disasters in a more timely, cost-effective, objective and transparent manner. ARC is now using its expertise to help tackle some of the other greatest threats faced by the continent, including outbreaks and epidemics.

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April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, to announce partnership with IGD on the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 4, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) will officially launch its inaugural Africa Investment Rising Roadshow Tour with a Special Reception on Wednesday, April 18 from 6:00-7:30PM at the Senate Dirksen Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, will announce the Bank’s partnership with IGD on the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), which will take place in early-November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is an initiative championed by the Bank to actively engage the private sector and to facilitate projects that have the capacity of transforming the continent. Boamah is leading a delegation of Senior Bank Management to the Spring World Bank/IMF Meetings.

Boamah will offer remarks on the U.S. private sector’s role in accelerating Africa’s investment opportunities at the evening reception.

The U.S. roadshow tour, “Africa Investment Rising: Building Momentum for Investing in Africa’s Economic Prosperity”, taking place from April 18-May 1, is aimed at re-shaping perceptions on doing business in Africa by bringing trade and investment opportunities to U.S. companies and forging stronger connections between U.S. and African business leaders in key growth sectors.

Launching in Washington, D.C., the roadshow tour will travel to New York City to highlight banking, financing, and investment opportunities; Des Moines, IA for agriculture and agro-industry; and Houston, TX for energy and power.

The full roadshow tour will ultimately culminate in Johannesburg, South Africa, where roadshow attendees are invited to attend the IGD Frontier 100 Forum on Nov. 5-6, followed by the African Development Bank’s Africa Investment Forum (AIF) from Nov. 7-9, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF is designed to enhance private-sector cooperation and drive investment in sectors of strategic interest within Africa.

“IGD is pleased to build on our partnership with the African Development Bank through the U.S. Roadshow Tour to accelerate Africa’s investment opportunities and help attract private capital to the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcoych. “By bringing U.S. investors to the Bank’s investment forum, they will learn firsthand about bankable projects and will have the opportunities to broker deals that will deliver economic transformation in Africa.”

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and USAID’s East Africa and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs are Sponsors of the U.S. Roadshow Tour.

Platinum sponsors as ChevronNorton, Rose and Fulbright LLPIowa State University Research ParkAGCOLilium Capital, and Orrick; Gold sponsors, SasolCorteva AgriscienceEndeavor Energy, and as Gold sponsors; and World Food Prize Foundation and Millennium Challenge Corporationas Silver sponsors.

Organizational Partners are PAN Diaspora Capital ManagementHarris Africa Partners/Grant T. Harris, The Serendra Group LLC/Robert van Zwieten, U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of CommerceGlobal Farmer NetworkU.S. Small Business Administration, and Invest Africa.

Media partners are Africa,  Afropop Worldwide,  Asoko InsightFace2Face AfricaPan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica..

The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington, DC-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa through business investment. IGD brings together CEOs and senior executives from leading African and global companies through our Frontier Leader Network to catalyze greater business investment and impact on the African continent.

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Ecobank Group partners with MTN to deepen financial inclusion across Africa
April 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
(L-R) Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd; Serigne Dioum, MTN’s Executive, Mobile Financial Services; Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Rob Shuter, group CEO of MTN and Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)

(L-R) Charles Kie, Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd; Serigne Dioum, MTN’s Executive, Mobile Financial Services; Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Rob Shuter, group CEO of MTN and Patrick Akinwuntan, Group Executive, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)

LOME, Togo, April 10, 2018/ — MTN ( has announced a collaboration with Africa’s leading independent banking group, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI) (, enabling both companies  to leverage each other’s assets that will ultimately offer more value to their respective customers across the continent. MTN’s large subscriber base, comprehensive distribution, innovative digital products and drive for mobile financial services are being linked with Ecobank’s trail blazing digital banking products to provide instant bank accounts and remittances through Africa’s largest bank by network.

The two entities, with an extensive footprint on the continent, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop this partnership agreement, which will allow them to innovate and enhance access to affordable financial services via MTN Mobile Money and Ecobank Banking services.

This includes;

  • Enabling Ecobank and MTN Mobile Money customers to transfer money between mobile money wallets and bank accounts.
  • Leveraging of Ecobank and MTN’s assets to digitise international remittance, foster product innovation in the field of mobile saving and lending, and offer digital payment solutions to consumers, merchants and corporates.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group CEO of Ecobank said: “The changing landscape of digital banking and mobile telephony is creating unique opportunities in the way and manner customers are served. Africa will need to digitise financial services to rapidly scale up client acquisition and patronage. MTN and Ecobank are taking the big step today at this grand event to support this agenda”

Further he reiterated that “Ecobank’s digital strategy has long been committed to ensuring transaction convenience for the market. We have made giant strides in our mission to ensure financial inclusion and today’s agreement with MTN will greatly accelerate the easy availability of banking services to the previously unbanked.”

Commenting on the collaboration, MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter said: “Partnerships between banks and mobile money operators are fundamental in the mobile money ecosystem, hence our long-standing partnership with Ecobank in many of our markets aimed at driving financial inclusion. We are excited to be taking this partnership to the next level as this latest development will spearhead innovative initiatives which will deepen financial access on the continent.”

About Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’ or ‘The Group’)

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) ( is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Additional information on Ecobank can be found at

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WorldRemit partners with Lebara to connect new customers to its money transfer service to Africa
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The strategic partnership unlocks digital money transfers for millions of Lebara customers to send money to over 40 African nations
Left: Graeme Oxby, CEO at Lebara; Right, Ismail Ahmed, CEO at WorldRemit

Left: Graeme Oxby, CEO at Lebara; Right, Ismail Ahmed, CEO at WorldRemit

LONDON, United Kingdom, April 10, 2018/ — Lebara ( and WorldRemit (, two leading brands serving international residents, have entered into a strategic partnership making WorldRemit the exclusive global money transfer partner of Lebara, including transfers to over 40 African countries.

The deal allows over 3 million Lebara Mobile and Lebara Money users to use WorldRemit’s digital money transfer service seamlessly, directly from the Lebara app and website. With more than half of WorldRemit’s transfers now going to Africa, this partnership will support the company’s plan to serve 5 million customers connected to the continent by 2020.

Lebara customers living in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark and Netherlands will benefit from WorldRemit’s extensive payout network in over 145 countries. This will provide a more convenient and lower cost alternative to the 90% of migrants who still send money through offline routes.

As part of the deal, WorldRemit will also benefit from co-branding in Lebara’s full retail estate stores and advertising in Lebara Mobile simpacks sold in 260,000 stores across Western Europe.

Ismail Ahmed, founder and CEO at WorldRemit said: “We are delighted to be partnering with one of the world’s premier MVNO brands targeting international residents in Europe, giving its users access to our mobile-first service. With more than 260,000 points of sale, Lebara’s visibility and brand awareness complements WorldRemit’s strong digital capability. This partnership will introduce our safe, fast and low-cost remittance service to millions of new customers.

“WorldRemit has been working with telecommunication partners on the receive side, but this is our first strategic partnership with a mobile operator on the send side. We look forward to strengthening our leading position in the market with equally ambitious partnerships in the future.”

Graeme Oxby, CEO of Lebara Group adds: “This initiative is in response to a growing need of our valued customer base. Many of Lebara’s customers send money home to relatives and friends and we are delighted to be able to partner with WorldRemit to offer a simple to use and highly cost effective service”.

“Lebara mobile’s leadership position in the growing international residents market in Europe, coupled with a surge in smartphone users, creates an ideal platform for launching new and exciting services through partnerships. Our partners get unique access to a customer base which few other mobile companies can match.”

WorldRemit handles a growing share of the $600 billion migrant money transfer market – better known as remittances. Known for its mobile-first approach, one third of its transactions go to mobile money accounts; it currently handles 74% of international money transfers to mobile money accounts globally.

WorldRemit’s digital model allows customers to complete their transactions in just a few taps from a smartphone. Worldremit customers make more than 1 million transactions every month, using its app or website.

WorldRemit was advised by William Blair in this transaction as its financial advisor.

About WorldRemit 
WorldRemit (, is changing the way people send money. It’s easy – just open the app or visit the website – no more agents.

  • Transfers to most countries are instant – send money like an instant message.
  • More ways to receive (mobile money, bank transfer, cash pickup).
  • Available in over 50 countries and 145+ destinations
  • Backed by Leapfrog as well as Accel Partners and TCV – investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack.

WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.

About Lebara
Lebara ( is a leading European mobile telecoms operator enhancing the lives of foreign resident communities by providing high quality and low cost mobile products and services. Lebara provides pay-as-you-go mobile SIM cards and related products and services customised to serve the international communities in 6 European countries – UK, Germany, Holland, France, Spain and Denmark. Customers have recognised Lebara for being trustworthy, honest, simple and offering great value. Lebara is ultimately owned by the Swiss family office Palmarium

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South Sudan’s ex-military chief forms organisation to challenge president Kiir
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Gen Paul Malong.

Gen Paul Malong.

Juba – South Sudan’s former military chief of staff Paul Malong has launched a new opposition party to challenge President Salva Kiir, accusing him of looting the country’s resources and turning it into a failed state.

Paul Malong was sacked early last year amid resignations by some generals who alleged abuses by the military and tribal bias in the army ranks. Since November he has been in exile in Kenya where he was allowed to travel after months of tension between him and his guards and Kiir’s government.

In a statement on Monday, Malong announced the formation of the South Sudan-United Front (SSUF), which aims to “arrest the carnage” of South Sudan’s ongoing civil war and steer the nation back to democracy.

Malong said Kiir “concentrated all his efforts with the help of a small clique around him to quite literally loot the coffers of our great nation to total bankruptcy”.

It was not immediately clear whether Malong’s organisation would join forces with rebels to fight Kiir militarily or would try to challenge him politically.

Malong, who was then part of the system said the country has become a “nest for systemic corruption.”

Ex- army chief further complained about war atrocities, obstruction and violation of the peace agreement, arguing that president Kiir should not be entrusted with “midwifing revitalized agreement.”

He said his newly movement shall seek to join the coalition of rebel groups known as “South Sudan Opposition Alliance.”

Although the opposition was initially solidly behind Machar, in recent years anti-Kiir forces have splintered into factions which has partly complicated efforts to end the war.

Meanwhile, the government said if Malong wants to fight, let him fight and they will meet him in the field.

In the same statement, Malong said his new organisation will also take part in the country’s upcoming planned peace talks to end the conflict at the end of April in neighboring Ethiopia.

South Sudan plunged into a civil war in 2013 after a political disagreement between Kiir and his former deputy, Riek Machar, degenerated into a military confrontation.

A 2015 agreement aimed at ending the conflict failed after hostilities again broke out between the two rivals.

A former close ally of President Salva Kiir, Malong has been accused of controlling an ethnic militia that’s committed human rights atrocities against civilians.

Last year Malong was sanctioned by the United States for undermining security amid South Sudan’s five-year civil war, which has killed tens of thousands and uprooted about a quarter of the country’s population of 12 million and plunged parts of the country into famine.

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Zambia’s opposition knows impeachment will fail. So what’s its game?
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

The opposition’s new strategy to keep questions over President Lungu’s legitimacy in the spotlight just might work.


Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has been in power since 2015. Credit: GCIS.

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has been in power since 2015. Credit: GCIS.

On 23 March, Zambia’s main opposition party filed a motion seeking the impeachment of President Edgar Lungu. The action was led by the United Party for National Development (UPND) party and backed by a third of MPs.

The ruling Patriotic Front (PF) immediately derided the move. Presidential spokesperson Amos Chanda dismissed it as being destined for failure, noting that the opposition would never get the two-thirds majority in Parliament needed for it to succeed.

In the National Assembly, Deputy Speaker Catherine Namugala recognised that the UPND had complied with the formal requirements for proceedings thus far. But she declined to table the motion before Parliament adjourned on 29 March, saying that the “Constitution does not give a timeframe within which an impeachment motion must be tabled”. The opposition accused her of working with the PF to obstruct their attempt to unseat Lungu.

What this means is that the motion is likely to be tabled in the next siting of Parliament scheduled for June.

The opposition’s impeachment argument

The call to impeach Lungu, who has been in power since 2015, rests on two grounds.

Firstly, the UPND alleges that the president has violated the Constitution and other laws on several occasions. In particular, they point to Lungu’s alleged threats to Constitutional Court judges in November 2017 when he warned there would be chaos if they ruled against his bid to stand for another term in 2021. The opposition also contends that Lungu’s failure to concede power when a petition was filed against his election in August 2016 violated Article 104 (3) of Zambia’s Constitution.

The UPND’s second grounds for seeking to impeach Lungu is that he is allegedly responsible for numerous cases of gross misconduct. The opposition highlights his directive to the state-owned Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings to discontinue a legal suit against First Quantum Minerals Limited that sought to recover a huge debt from the Canadian multinational. They also cite Lungu’s reported newfound wealth amassed while in office, his failure to rein in his aides’ suspected “corrupt activities”, and Zambia’s swelling public debt.

Many in Zambia see merit in the opposition’s claims, and the UPND has complied with the law in filing its motion. But the next battle will be to persuade two-thirds of MPs to support it. That will almost certainly be a bridge too far.

Zambia’s National Assembly has 166 lawmakers. 89 (54%) belong to the ruling PF. 63 (38%) belong to opposition parties, of which 58 (35%) are with the UPND. The remaining 14 (8%) are independents. To get a two-thirds majority, the motion would need at least 111 MPs to vote in favour.

Assuming all UPND parliamentarians support the motion, it would begin with 57 votes (one seat is currently vacant after Keith Mukata was convicted of murder). It would therefore need 54 more, but getting these looks like a very tall order.

To begin with, many independents as well as members of the smaller opposition parties MMD and FDD have tended to vote with the ruling party. Many independents are in fact former PF members who failed to win their party primaries. That suggests that it will take big incentives to persuade them to switch sides.

However, even if the UPND manages to convince all of these MPs to back impeachment, it will still need at least 35 parliamentarians from the ruling party to rebel too. There may be up to around five renegades in the PF that would consider this, but not more. Revulsion against Lungu is not as rife inside the party as it is outside it. Moreover, MPs know that impeaching Lungu would mean that Vice-President Inonge Wina, an extremely unpopular figure in the PF, would succeed him.

There have been some claims recently that the UPND has bought off several PF MPs to support the impeachment motion, but these rumours are unconvincing. Despite some greater constraints imposed on the president by the new constitution, Lungu is still generally able to meet the patronage expectations of his supporters. The out-of-power opposition is unable to match or beat these on any significant scale.

Behind the impeachment strategy

Taking all this into account, it is clear that there will be no impeachment. Even the UPND’s leader Hakainde Hichilema cannot seriously believe they will remove the president. So why have they gone to the trouble of filing the motion?

Firstly, the impeachment process can be seen as part of a wider strategy aimed at delegitimising Lungu in the eyes of the public and international community. Since the disputed 2016 election, the UPND has consistently sought to question and undermine Lungu’s legitimacy. Initially, its strategy was limited to the use of legal challenges built around the election petition that was dismissed on a technicality by the Constitutional Court in September 2016.

The PF had hoped that as the elections receded into the past, the question of Lungu’s legitimacy would fade away. The latest move by the UPND suggests otherwise. If anything, it indicates that the opposition is diversifying its strategy. The impeachment motion will fail, but in the process, it will highlight Lungu’s allegedly unconstitutional behaviour, continue to raise questions over his government’s legitimacy, sap the energy of the PF, and aggravate divisions in the ruling party.

In this latest strategy, the UPND may have been inspired by South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a small opposition party that has been a constant thorn in the side of the ruling African National Congress (ANC). Over the course of the last two years, the EFF brought repeated no-confidence motions in former President Jacob Zuma. These inevitably failed in terms of votes, but kept questions around Zuma’s fitness to hold office in the public eye and contributed to his ultimate demise. The UPND may follow the EFF’s template in tabling further impeachment motions when the current one fails.

This may also deepen rifts in the PF. In fact, the existing impeachment process may already be bearing fruit on this front. The orchestrated delay in tabling the motion in Parliament suggests the PF may no longer be so sure of its MPs’ loyalty to Lungu. Particularly aware that the vote may be done through secret ballot, the party seems to want to postpone the process until it can be more confident of its outcome. There are even emerging reports that the PF may seek to find a way of preventing the motion from being tabled in Parliament altogether.

As well as challenging Lungu’s legitimacy, the UPND’s impeachment strategy also allows it to consistently raise questions around his actions in office. The opposition can use proceedings to hammer away at the president’s wealth and remind the public of corruption allegations against him and his inner circle, while positioning the UPND as the party of good governance. The government’s attempts to discredit the impeachment motion on the grounds that it will never pass rather than on its merits only serve to reinforce the perception that the charges against Lungu are in fact credible.

While it knows it will lose the impeachment battle, the UPND’s broader goal is to loudly call into question Lungu’s legitimacy as well as the entire agenda of the government. This newly-developed strategy has already put the PF on the defensive and into a state of panic.

*Culled from Arguments Sishuwa Sishuwa is a Zambian historian and political commentator

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April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
Obasanjo praised the levy, describing the plan as “measurable, equitable and sustainable”.


Former Nigerian President and Tana Forum Board Chairperson, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, officially launched the 7th Tana Forum today, which will take place on 21-22 April 2018. This year’s theme, ‘Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union’, corresponds with the ongoing AU reform process to ensure the organization’s long-term financial independence and sustainability. The keynote speaker for the 7th Tana Forum is President Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and also the current African Union (AU) Chairperson. He put together an advisory team whose recommendations on AU reforms were formally adopted by the AU Assembly in January 2017.

Noting that the AU faces a rapidly changing security environment, Obasanjo emphasized that security is only one aspect of the current reform process. “We cannot talk about security without talking about financing,” he stated.

The current financial structure of the AU, where partners cover 60% of the budget, questions how African member states are expected to have ownership over their security while at the same time remaining reliant on external donors.

One of the major components of the reform plan is the 0.2% levy, which will be imposed on eligible imports from outside Africa. Obasanjo praised the levy, describing the plan as “measurable, equitable and sustainable”. He also remained positive when questioned on the political will required from member states to guarantee the reform’s implementation. “It is not the first time such an initiative is happening in Africa. For instance, ECOWAS did it before, and it has been fairly successful in West Africa”.

The Tana Forum’s financial independence – 70% of funds are provided by the Ethiopian government and the African private sector – was also noted as another example that encourages African ownership in setting the agenda and driving the narrative. The Forum’s participants, its board members, its technical committee, its partners, and its organizing secretariat at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University, all represent a diverse grouping of African stakeholders in the area of peace and security.

In response to a question about the Forum’s effectiveness in bringing about changes in African leadership, the former president clarified that the Forum does not require or expect the implementation of its recommendations. Instead, its added value is in creating a space for the exchange of ideas and policies from around the continent. Furthermore, the Forum’s impact might not always be clear or credited, he stated, but “it’s good enough for us that African leaders make use of it”.

On the recently signed Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) Agreement, and the notable lack of Nigeria’s signature, Obasanjo was optimistic that the government would soon sign the agreement after holding national consultations with the necessary actors, including the parliament.

The press conference was later followed by a briefing with ambassadors and partners based in Addis Ababa. IPSS Director, Dr. Kidane Kiros, noted that one of the biggest setbacks with the AU reform agenda is compliance by member states when it comes to the implementation of various policies.

Obasanjo also noted that for effective implementation of AU reforms, trust has to be built between Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the AU Commission and individual African countries.

About the Tana Forum

The Tana Forum is an annual platform that brings together African leaders and stakeholders to engage and explore African-led security solutions. It is a response to the call by African Heads of State and Government for the elaboration of “African-centred solutions“ in the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict in the August 2009 Tripoli Declaration on the Elimination of Conflicts in Africa and the Promotion of Sustainable Peace.

*Source Tana Forum.



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April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Nanjala Nyabola*

On 21 March 2018, 44 African leaders made history in Kigali, Rwanda, when they signed up for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). The agreement will create one of the world’s largest free trade areas – a single market for goods and services for a population of over 1.2 million people – if all AU members eventually sign and ratify it. The AfCTA is in line with the broader goals of the AU reforms initiative, which intends to move away from the current situation of multiple, almost competing economic blocs to a single pan-African unit that facilitates the free movement of goods and services across the continent. The AfCTA is a milestone achievement that could change the economic trajectory of the continent.

A celebratory photograph of the various leaders who gathered in Kigali was rapidly shared across various media platforms to commemorate the singularity of events. Yet, anyone paying attention quickly noticed one thing about the photograph: there were no women.

Can the AU reforms process create room for women in the highest levels of political leadership on the continent? The final round of negotiations for the AfCFTA, unfortunately, coincided with the resignation of Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, the first female president of Mauritius. There are now no female heads of state on the continent. Before Gurib-Fakim, we had Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf in Liberia, Joyce Banda in Malawi and Catherine Samba-Panza in the Central African Republic. Of the four, only Johnson-Sirleaf completed a full term with both Gurib-Fakim and Banda leaving office under tenuous allegations of fraud and Samba-Panza electing not to run for office after serving as a caretaker president.

If there are any unifying lessons to be learnt from these experiences it is that African women political leaders are often held to higher standards than their male counterparts and that much more work can be done to incorporate women into political governance on the continent.

The subject of equality of women in politics in Africa is complex. In the pre-independence era, there are a number of examples of women rising to the top of their societies, particularly in fraught political moments. These legendary figures include Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba who led the Mbundu people of Angola in resisting the Portuguese; and Somali legend has it that without the wisdom of Areewelo, they would not have survived the terrible Buraan Droughts. There are also more recent heroines. The Aba Women led the first organized protest against British colonization in Nigeria, while Mekatilili wa Mwenza of the Mijikenda and Queen Lozikeyi of the Ndebele led similar resistances in present-day Kenya and Zimbabwe respectively. Together with the unnamed female soldiers who fought in Algeria, Kenya, Angola, Mozambique and other countries, these stories affirm that women have always been part of African politics.

Yet in post-colonial Africa, a patriarchal understanding of the role of women that merely exchanged European patriarchy for an invented African tradition has all but erased the herstories of women’s political leadership. These themes are visible in stark relief in the ongoing mourning for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a leader of the anti-apartheid resistance in South Africa. Madikezela-Mandela was punished for doing exactly the same things that her male counterparts have done throughout the ages. As in other liberation and political movements, she put her safety and her private life at risk in order to confront the injustice of the racist regime. She was tortured, exiled and humiliated by the apartheid regime. And while she certainly participated in violence against a violent government, consider her enemy – the most racist and violent political system on the continent. For her tremendous sacrifices, Madikezela-Mandela was branded a murderer and denied a seat at the table of power in post-apartheid South Africa. Today, South Africa is the most unequal country in the world according to the World Bank, with entrenched poverty directly linked to the “enduring legacy of apartheid”.

Madikezela-Mandela’s experience echoes the experience of women on the continent who form a slight numerical majority of the population but are systematically shut out from high-level politics. Women were at the centre of liberation movements across the continent; not just in supporting roles but also leading political and military organizations. Fanon, Cabral, Sankara, and Lumumba all declared categorically that the liberation of Algeria, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso and the DRC, as well as the continent as a whole, would be incomplete without the liberation of women.

But in post-colonial Africa, vague appeals to an invented patriarchal African tradition conspire to keep women out of politics. African women who believed that participating in liberation movements would eventually lead to their own liberation are disappointed because colonial patriarchy has instead been substituted by post-colonial patriarchy.

Today, the situation facing African women in politics is mixed. Between 2005 and 2015, the proportion of women in legislatures in North Africa more than doubled from 7% to 18%, while in sub-Saharan Africa it increased from 15% to 22%. Globally, Rwanda has the highest number of women in parliament at 63.8% and, because of the increasing use of quotas, women make up more than 30% of the legislature in most countries in East and Southern Africa. And as mentioned, four countries have put women in the top seat, more than Europe or North America combined.

Nonetheless, there have also been significant losses, particularly where women aim for the presidency. In Southern Africa, Dr. Dlamini-Zuma put up a strong fight for the South African presidency, but despite her individual accomplishments, she was unable to shake the perception that she was her ex-husband’s protégé at a time when many voters wanted a change. Outside South Africa and Malawi, no woman has run for president in the Southern Africa region.

In Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, Remi Sonaiya was the first female candidate, and despite a remarkable campaign, she could not break the unspoken “gentlemen’s agreement” on religion and ethnic background that shape political viability in the country. In Kenya, Uganda and Somalia, women who have challenged men for the presidency have faced violence and character assassination. In Rwanda, Diane Rwigara and Victoire Ingabire, two women who have challenged President Kagame for the presidency, are currently in prison.

In keeping with the AU’s position that women’s rights are part of a broader discourse on human rights, the ongoing AU reforms process does not explicitly provide for the increased inclusion of women in the organization. Currently, the AU framework on gender is informed by global standards that include instruments like the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Union also considers women’s rights to be an integral part of its human rights mechanisms, including the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights. Former AU Chairperson Dr. Dlamini-Zuma – the first woman to hold the seat – did make women’s participation a centrepiece of her leadership, and pushed for more women to be appointed to the secretariat.

The reforms process can be an opportunity to get more women into political leadership in Africa. This begins by grounding itself in the long running African feminist tradition of recognizing work that is already being done. A friend once told me something that profoundly altered my own perspective on feminism, “African women have never been stay at home mothers”. The challenge of women’s political agency is qualitatively different from those facing women in the West. The histories of Nzinga, Areweelo, Mekatilili, Lozikeyi and Madikezela-Mandela remind us that African women’s efforts have always been integral to politics on the continent, but that we are dealing with a process of systematic erasure.

For an example of the work women on the continent are already doing to make the goals of the process work, look at the thousands of female traders who cross Goma into Gisenyi to trade every day; they are living proof of what free trade and free movement of goods could look like. Study the chama systems of Kenya as a baseline for what financial sustainability at the continental level could be. Recognize women’s groups in churches and mosques across the continent that demonstrate what inclusive and inter-ethnic political leadership can achieve.

African women are present, political and ready for work. It’s time the leadership took note.

*Courtesy of Tana Forum.Nanjala Nyabola is a writer and political analyst based in Nairobi, Kenya. Follow her on Twitter @nanjala1.

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Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) announces third MEST Africa Summit, June 18-20 in Cape Town
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The MEST Africa Summit will bring together leading global investors, executives and entrepreneurs to discuss the Pan-African startup landscape
Jorn Lyseggen, Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST

Jorn Lyseggen, Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, April 5, 2018/ — Now in its 10th year investing in tech entrepreneurs in Africa, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology(MEST) ( ( today announced the third MEST Africa Summit, which will take place in Cape Town, South Africa, June 18-20. Formerly the Africa Tech Summit, this year’s event will go Pan-African, bringing together top entrepreneurs, investors and executives from Africa, Silicon Valley and Europe, to network and discuss trends, challenges and opportunities affecting markets across the continent, under the theme The Year of the African Scaleup?

Following two successful events in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria, this year’s Summit will take place in Cape Town, South Africa – the location of the third MEST incubator, which officially launched  in November 2017.

MEST is also announcing the MEST Africa Challenge, a Pan-African pitch competition open April 1 in Nairobi, Lagos, Accra and Cape Town. The final pitch event for the competition will be held on Day 2 of the Summit and will include winners from each city’s regional event, which will be held in late April/early May. Details and application can be found at

“We’re excited to bring together leading players in the tech and investment space from across the continent and the globe once again, this time in our new home in Cape Town,” MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu said. “The MEST Africa Summit serves as a meeting ground for Pan-African entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem partners, and this year looks to ignite discussion around the real challenges and opportunities businesses face when reaching scale, as the startup space in Africa continues to mature.”

Panel discussions during the Summit will feature expertise from leading African entrepreneurs, investors and executives, and will highlight those companies looking to scale to new African markets and the partners who can help them succeed. Topics include a debate over the best African country to start a business; a discussion of the latest fintech, agritech and blockchain innovations, why women code better, and more. Tickets are now available at Space is limited.

MEST is currently accepting applications for partners and speakers. Early sponsors include Merck and MTN ( and ecosystem partners AfricArena , SiMoDiSa ,(, Wesgro (, Alpha Code( and Silicon Cape ( Previous Summit partners include Samsung Business, AB Consulting, Google, Interpay, Agrivi, Interswitch, VC4Africa and more. Past speakers include Mitchell Elegbe of Interswitch, Jason Spindler of I-Dev, Funke Opeke of MainOne, Matt Flannery of Kiva, Iyin Aboyeji of Flutterwave, Angel Adelaja of Fresh Direct, Jason Njoku of iROKO, Tomi Davies of ABAN and more.

In November 2017, MEST launched incubator spaces in Lagos, Nigeria and Cape Town, South Africa, adding to its flagship incubator and training program in Accra, Ghana. Truly Pan-African, MEST also has a presence in Nairobi, Kenya and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

Since its inception in 2008, the Meltwater Foundation has invested $20 million into the program, supporting aspiring African entrepreneurs through the training program and incubator. Now in its 10th year, nearly 300 individual entrepreneurs have graduated from the training program and over 50 tech companies have been launched via seed funding and mentorship from MEST. Three companies — Claimsync, AdGeek and messaging app Saya — have been acquired.

MEST entrepreneurs have developed solutions addressing local and global markets, received outside follow-on funding from global investors, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as Y-Combinator, 500 Startups and TechStars. MEST entrepreneurs have also been selected by President Obama as representatives of the African business community at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.; have been named Mandela Washington Fellows, a flagship program of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI); and have been selected for Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Africa.

About MEST
Launched in 2008 by Meltwater (, MEST ( is a Pan-African training program, seed fund and incubator for technology entrepreneurs in Africa, providing critical skills training in software development, business and communications. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence.

About Jorn Lyseggen
Jorn Lyseggen is the Founder & CEO of Meltwater and MEST. A Norwegian entrepreneur and philanthropist, his previous ventures included 2 exits and an IPO. He founded Meltwater in Oslo, Norway in 2001 with an investment of just $15,000. Built on the notion of Outside Insight, Meltwater is now a global leader in B2B online media intelligence, with over 60 offices across six continents. He founded the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a training program, seed fund and incubator for African entrepreneurs, in 2008, and launched Shack15, a data science hub in London, in 2016. In November 2017, he released his first book, titled Outside Insight. Jorn has been featured on CNN, TechCrunch, TedX and more.

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$1 billion in transactions processed on Ecobank Mobile App in Africa
April 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
With over 4 million users, the Ecobank Mobile App is available to all, enabling users to open an Ecobank Xpress™ Account instantly on their mobile device
Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO

LOME, Togo, April 9, 2018/ — The groundbreaking Ecobank ( Mobile App, a single, unified financial services application across 33 African countries, has processed 9 million transactions worth over $1 billion since launch less than 18 months ago.

With over 4 million users, the Ecobank Mobile App is available to all, enabling users to open an Ecobank Xpress™ Account instantly on their mobile device (providing an easy route to financial inclusion for the previously unbanked). There are now over 4 million Ecobank Xpress™ Account holders on the Ecobank Mobile App and USSD platforms. Other bank customers may onboard the Ecobank Mobile App with their MasterCard or Visa cards while Ecobank customers do so using their card or retail internet banking credentials.

Users of the Ecobank Mobile App are able to transfer money instantly within Ecobank locally or across Africa using Ecobank Rapidtransfer™, a unique service that is faster and more affordable than competing options. Consumers may also make transfers to other local bank accounts, mobile wallets and to Visa cardholders using Visa Direct on the Ecobank Mobile App. The App offers easy payments using Ecobankpay Scan+Pay through Masterpass, mVisa and Mcash, and has options to pay utility bills, school fees, subscriptions, make donations, buy airtime instantly and generate payment tokens using Ecobank Xpress™ Cash to do cardless ATM withdrawals or at an Ecobank Xpress™ Point (agent locations).

Ade Ayeyemi, Ecobank Group CEO explained that Ecobank’s strategic mission is built around using mobile banking to deliver innovative, efficient and cost-effective services to those who have typically sat outside of the formal economy, and therefore goes far beyond the reach of the traditional branch and ATM networks. He noted that they had processed almost as many transactions on the Ecobank Mobile App in the first few months this year as they did in the second half of 2017.

“Customers can enjoy 24/7/365 access to financial services from the convenience of their mobile devices with the Ecobank Mobile App,” he said. “We have brought world-class functionality to consumers in the 33 countries in Africa where Ecobank operates.”

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Consumer Banking says that Ecobank is committed to providing easy access to financial services for all Africans, leveraging the ubiquity of mobile phones via the bank’s Mobile App and at Ecobank Xpress™ Point agents wherever physical interaction is necessary especially for cash deposits.

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Consumer Banking

Patrick Akinwuntan, Ecobank’s Group Executive, Consumer Banking

“We aim to be the leading consumer financial services franchise in Africa and have developed a range of products and services relevant to meeting the daily banking, financing, investment and transactional needs of our customers,” said Mr. Akinwuntan. “The Ecobank Mobile App provides easy access to these services anytime and anywhere and we are very pleased with the fast and increasing uptake.”

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1988, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (  is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 17,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices. Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals. Additional information on Ecobank can be found at


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South Sudan Government Approves Dr. Machar’s Relocation
April 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny(Photo: file)

Salva Kiir Mayardit and Dr. Riek Machar Teny(Photo: file)

Juba -The Transitional government of South Sudan has approved a report on the regional bloc’s decision to relocate the exiled rebel leader Riek Machar from his house arrest in South Africa apartment to a third country outside the region.

This decision was made on Friday, last week in the weekly council of ministers meeting in Juba, chaired by the South Sudanese president Salva Kiir

The IGAD’s communiqué issued following its 61st Extra-Ordinary Session held last month in Addis Ababa, said it would release Machar if he would accept to renounce violence, not obstruct peace and relocate to any country outside the region not neighboring war-torn South Sudan.

The regional body will soon suggest a country in implementation of the planned relocation.

South Sudanese Minister of Information, who is also government spokesman Michael Makuei Lueth said the cabinets has adopted the report and approve a relocation of former vice president Dr. Machar, who turned rebel in late 2013.

“The report was good and it was adopted and passed,” said Minister Makuei told the press.

He further said the Council of Ministers of the regional bloc, Inter Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), had decided to send a ministerial delegation to South Africa to discuss with South Sudan’s rebel chief to renounce violence before his relocation to another country.

Minister Makuei had said the prominent opposition leader will be relocated and allowed to take part in the peace process when he accepts to renounce violence.

But however, South Sudanese rebels have recently warned the region that they will never accept their leader relocates to another country after his release from house arrest in South Africa apartment where he is currently confined.  They claimed their group has already signed the cessation of hostilities agreement with the government that shows group’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Can Machar and Kiir work together again?

Dr. Machar, turned rebel in late 2013, after power struggling within the ruling party with his boss, president Kiir, split to civil war, which is in its fifth year now, killed tens thousands of people and has displaced 2.3 million people from their homes.

Dr Machar returned to Juba in April 2016 and formed a transitional government with President Salva Kiir and other groups according to 2015 peace agreement.

However, fresh fighting broke out in Juba in July 2016 and Dr Machar had to flee to the Democratic Republic of Congo, from where he was airlifted to Khartoum.

He then moved to Ethiopia until Kiir, working with IGAD negotiated a house arrest with the South African government.

The third round of peace revitalization forum is due to resume on late April, this month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, something regional blocs’ described as last chance for South Sudanese factions to end confrontation to return stability and peace.

Of recently, President Kiir has called the SPLM reunification process meeting in Juba on the nineteen of April, 2018.

President Kiir government made it clear that Machar can only run for president at the end constitutional process, insisting that he would sabotage the peace process if allowed to participate.

 Something, opposition groups say they are upset by the government demand to exclude Machar from the SPLM reunification process, peace revitalization forum, and the national transitional government.

Machar, who has long dominated South Sudanese politics, though he was rebelled against former SPLM leader Dr. John Garang De Mabior, was an instrumental figure in South Sudan’s fight for independence from Sudan, and has served as vice president twice in the very short history of the world’s newest nation.

South Sudan became independent in 2011 from Khartoum regime in the referendum process signed in Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.

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Claudio Oben On Defying The 6TH
April 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Destiny Kwenchia

Claudio Oben

With the world premiere set for the USA on April 8th, Actor and Producer Claudio Oben discusses Defying the 6th, his latest production. I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet, says the hard working actor who also stars in Defying the 6th.

Your latest film defying the 6th hits is set to premiere in the days ahead, what is the movie about?

The movie is about the causes of suicides, struggles and trauma that people deal with that eventually if not strong enough drive people to commit suicide.

What message do you seek to convey in that film?

For this film, I seek to start a conversation with people in dark places in their lives or with people who know someone in a dark place that we hear them, we can share their pain and ending one’s life if not the only way out.

Where was the movie shot and could you introduce the cast for us?

The movie was shot 90% in Cameroon and 10% in the United  States. Main Cast: Claudio Oben (Myself), Berlinda Nahbila, Malvis Ann, Lucie Memba and Libota MacDonald.

Where would you rank Defying the 6th in terms of other movies you have produced and starred in?

To me, it’s really not a matter of ranking but more of growth and like anything we do in life, the more you do it, better you get at it. So, as a filmmaker, I believe I have grown and gotten better from when I started 8 years ago, thus by default making DT6 my most experienced work yet

What were some of the challenges faced in the production of the movie?

Besides the regular challenges you face when dealing with schedules of a hand full of people, it was more so filming in Cameroon, something I had not done in my career yet. I had to learn and understand the way it is done there and at the same time implement my findings on set on the fly, so it was a huge experience that made me learn a lot.

You have been one of the key actors trying to promote the put Cameroon film industry, how is it

doing and what else needs to be done to get it better?

The Cameroon Industry, just like every industry on cooperation that is belt on talent, art and passion has grown a great deal and it just keeps getting better. That is very evident with the quality and quantity of good film being produced under that umbrella so its a good time to be part of that family.

And for what else needs to be done better: We the artist, be it producers, actors, directors and all need to remember that without us the art dies, so we need to concentrate more on the art and forget about fame and recognition. Those things come by default when the work is done right.

Could you share more information about the Premiere, venue, fees, and any other side shows taking place ?

DT6 will be premiered in MD this Sunday, April 8th, 2018 at the Old Greenbelt Theatre from 7pm-11pm. Tickets for that are $20 even and can be purchased at the gate or on eventbrite. Thereafter, it will be premiered in Cameroon. on Saturday, April 21st, 2018 at the Mountain Hotel in Buea. Tickets for those are: 5000 cfa-Regular, 10.000 cfa-VIP (Comes with 2 drinks), Tables- 50.000 cfa.


What next for Claudio Oben after Defying the 6th, any other projects coming up?

After the premieres and film festival runs, Claudio Oben and Zeallmatic pictures will get back to work, if not already in the works for the spin-offs of DT6. That’s all I am allowed to reveal for now.

Thanks for talking to PAV                           

Thank you so much for having me and hope to see you at the premiere. Stay blessed.



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