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South Sudan:UNSC, Machar in clashes over formation of unity govt by Nov 12
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Riek Machar .Photo credit AFP

Juba – The United Nations Security Council has insisted the South Sudanese warring parties should form a unity government by November 12 with no delay, while opposition leader Riek Machar is rejecting the date and , demanding a three-months extension.

The UN Security Council visits comes amid a mounting international pressure on South Sudanese leaders to settle outstanding issues and establish a transitional government by November 12.

The unity government, to be led by president Kiir and deputized by Machar, as part of the deal signed in 2018, would also accommodate several opposition groups in a three – year administration expected to usher the country into democratic elections and pave way for development.

The key issues to the formation of a unity government, including the security arrangements; resolving of the number of states and their boundaries, which haven’t been completed despite earlier extension from May 12.

A similar arrangement in then 2015 which provided for two armies in the country ended with heavy fighting in the capital, following a year after only three – months when Machar joined president Kiir in transitional government.

A unity government formation’s declaration came after a meeting between a delegation of members of the UNSC led by South Africa and United States and parties to the revitalized peace agreement in Juba on Sunday.

The UNSC said it will not accept more delays to the formation of a unity government, while threatening to impose sanctions on leaders if a government is not formed by November 12, urging the parties to set aside their disagreements for the sake of peace.

However, designated vice president, Dr. Riek Machar says the security arrangements and the number of states and their boundaries should be completed first the formation of a unity government.

Machar decries that the issues of security arrangements and the states were the cause of 2016 crisis, and such may replicate the same problem.

“The critical issues must be resolved,” said Machar during a briefing by a delegation of the UN Security Council. The security arrangements must be in place at least or the ceasefire which we have been enjoying for this whole year will be raptured,” he echoed.

Speaking to reporters, South African Ambassador to the Nations, Jerry Mathews Matjila says “there are minimum conditions for the parties to into November 12.”

“What Dr. Riek Machar wants is not impossible but we need political leaders who can compromise,” Amb. Mathews told the press at the end of their one – day visit.

South African diplomat further said the United Nations Security Council and the region will support the peace process in the world’s youngest nation.

“There should be no more extensions……. the remaining issues of the number of states, the boundaries and other things can be discussed by inclusive South Sudanese government,” said Amb. Mathews. If any leader needs security, we will give security. The United Nations can provide security, so the major was security. The government says we are committed, any number of people for protection is available.”

According to Mathews, the international community doesn’t see good reasons to delay the formation of the transitional government in South Sudan.

“We don’t anticipate that the remaining problems are so huge to not able South Sudan to move to November 12,” said Mathews.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft said South Sudan leaders should form a unity transitional government by November 12.

Craft further called on the parties to the peace deal to start making progress on the number of states and security arrangements.

The US diplomat pointed out that the UN Security Council delegation was encouraged by President Kiir’s recommitment to the revitalized peace agreement.

“We are disappointed by a statement from Dr. Riek Machar that the ceasefire would be in jeopardy when the unity government is formed by November 12,” said Craft. She stressed that the UN Security Council supports the formation of the unity government as originally planned.

But ex-rebel leader Machar says he will not be part of a unity government next month if established without the integration of the army force, a key condition of a peace accord signed last year.

“We in the SPLM-IO, our colleagues, would not be there, do not blame us because we don’t want to put the country into crisis,” said Machar, stressing that the aspect needed for the establishment of such a government is not there.”

But the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) said that the problems identified by Machar can be solved by the November deadline.

 “Now it is time to make a compromise necessary for the formation of the transitional government of national unity,” said Craft, the U.S Ambassador, as they are still holding to the November 12 deadline. “We expect both the government and the oppositions to unify together and to be able to put their people first.”

Despite, Machar’s refusal, the president Kiir’s administration and other opposition groups are ready to form the unity government as schedule, according to the country’s Information Minister Michael Makuei.

“The advice given to us by the UN Security Council, is that no change of schedule, no change of the program – you are advised to advised to establish your RTGoNU on the 12th of November,” Makuei told reporters, after a meeting between president’s administration and the UNSC teams.

President Kiir and Machar, including other parties signed a revitalized peace deal in September 2018 after a string of failed deals to end a civil war that has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands, uprooted a third of the population from their homes and ruined the country’s economy.

In May, the two principals agreed to form a unity government in six months and again, in September, reiterated that they will establish a unity transitional government by November 12 as part of the deal.

However, the deal has stalled because the government has said it does not have the finances to fund the disarmament and integration of the army.

Machar met with president Kiir on Saturday to discuss the security arrangements, include the states and boundaries issue, as crucial components of the pact, but they could not come to an agreement on the issues.

Country’s Cabinet Affairs Minister, Martin Elia said the head of national army Jok Riak has assured them that 3000 members of a VIP protection force will be ready before November 12.

“Machar should not complain about the delay in implementing some of the key mechanisms because he has representatives in all the committees,” said Minister Elia, who is also the Secretary for the National Pre – Transitional Committee (NPTC), a body tasked with the implementation of the revitalized peace deal.

The UN Security Council advised Machar’s side to join the government so that the government is set up and if any problems, then they will be in a position to resolve them amicably.

The revitalized peace deal is seen a significant milestone as it provides a clear roadmap for peace, political transformation, security sectors reforms, healing and reconciliation process, disarmament and compensation in the horn of Africa’s country.

South Sudan secured independence from north Sudan in 2011 after decades of a scorched – earth civil war that has killed two million lives but descended into its own political conflict in late 2013 after president Kiir sacked Dr. Machar as vice president.

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Rwanda inaugurates an inland port worth 35 million USD
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Kagame (second left) with DP World CEO Bin Sulayem (third) touring Kigali Logistics Platform

Global trade enabler DP World inaugurated  Kigali Logistics Platform, an inland port which targets to link Rwanda to regional ports like Mombasa and Dar es Salaam and ease transportation costs from the coast.

The port was inaugurated on Monday by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, and DP World Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem.

The facility, which has been operational since September 2018 in test mode, has an annual capacity of 50,000 TEUs. When operating at full capacity, it has the potential to save Rwandan businesses up to US$50 million a year in logistics costs.

Since the commencement of its operations in the Rwandan capital last year, Kigali Logistics Platform management says it has reduced truck-turnaround time which used to be an average of 10-14 days to  three days.

President Paul Kagame lauded the facility and said it is in line with African Continental Free Trade Area that will come into force next year.

“The future of trade and integration on our continent is the African Continental Free Trade Area, which is already in force. Trading will commence in July next year. But trade agreements and economic policies won’t have much impact, without actual infrastructure”, he said

He called on Rwandan business people to make use of the port and expand their businesses even beyond.

“We therefore want to challenge our business people and investors, starting with the industries located in this neighbourhood and from the region and beyond, to make full use of this facility.There is no excuse not to pursue the vast opportunities available to us”, he added

DP World Chairman and CEO, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem said that they want to help Rwanda in its ambitions to establish itself as a key services and trade hub for the region.

He emphasized that their target is not only Rwanda but also other countries in the region that will be using Kigali inland port.

Kigali Logistics Platform serves as a gateway to the heart of Africa, connecting Rwanda to neighbouring countries including Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. The facility will also access the port of Mombasa in Kenya and Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania, securing two trade gateways to the sea.

The railway from Mombasa port in Kenya will pass through Uganda to Rwanda and also the railway from Dar Es Salaam to Kigali is under construction and will have its final cargo rail siding located at Kigali Logistics Platform.

Linking railways to the Kigali Logistics Platform has the potential to dramatically reduce logistics costs for exports and imports via international gateways on the coast.

At present it costs three times more to transport a container from Kigali to Dar Es Salaam as it does to transport the same container from Dar Es Salaam to Shanghai.

This  $35 million project spans over 130,000 square metres, including a 12,000 square metre container yard and a 19,600 square metre warehousing facility.

DP World will be managing this port for 25 years, and after Rwanda Government will take over.

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Nigeria Gov’t Pledges Full Support All Africa Music Awards
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

The Federal Government of Nigeria has promised its full support for the successful hosting of the 2019 All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), as the country prepares to host the glamorous event in Lagos 20-23 November 2019, with the theme: ”Feel Africa”.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the promise in a statement in Lagos on Sunday. The statement on 20th October, 2019 was signed by Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant To The President (Media) Office of The Minister of Information and Culture Lagos said: “When you look at the All Africa Music Awards, it’s one of the biggest awards for the music industry in Africa, and what government has done in the past is to provide the enabling environment for the awards to take place”

”We provided support services for AFRIMA, we gave them the backing they need and I think it’s on record that the AFRIMA editions that have been held in Nigeria have been among the most successful.

”This year again, we are ready to partner AFRIMA professionally, give them the maximum support such as effective media coverage and also help them in reaching out to other critical stakeholders,” the Minister said.

He said part of the reasons why Nigeria has successfully hosted the music awards is because the country has relaxed its visa regime, with the visa on arrival policy, thus making it easier for people to come in.

AFRIMA, which was first held in 2014, was established in collaboration with the African Union (AU) to reward and celebrate musical talents and creativity in Africa as well as to promote African Cultural Heritage.

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Pan African Human Rights Forum Underway in Banjul
October 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

The 65th Ordinary Session of The African Commission on Human and People’s Right (ACHPR) has kickoff in Banjul on Monday 21st October, 2019 at Kairaba Beach Hotel.

ACHPR on 21st October- 10 November, 2019 has brought together state parties, civil society member and human right defenders across the world to discuss on human rights and development across Africa. It is been held under the theme: “The year of refugees, returnees and internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to forced Displacement in Africa”

Hon. Justice Sylvain Ore, President of the African Court on Human and People’s Right said there can be no sustainable peace without efficient justice and that without sustainable peace development will be inevitably compromised.

He pointed out that this statement is more or less the official slogan of the African Union, whose Agenda 2063 includes peace and human rights as conditions for the realization of the social-economic and infrastructural development of the continent, its citizens.

He stated that in situation of refugees in Africa is a consequence of constant conflicts, adding that African should focus more on the causes of the conflicts and the most efficient ways of resolving them.

According to him, humanitarian crises and the incessant flow of refugees in Africa are mainly due to conflicts caused by serious and massive violations of human rights, the resultant of injustice or justice denied or wrongly applied.

Hon. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs African Union Commission explained that in 2015 African head of State and government adopted Agenda 2063 as the continental’s development blueprint for the next 50 years.

She pointed out that this aspiration puts emphasis on the need to build a culture of human rights as one of the durable ways of realizing a united prosperous and peaceful Africa.

“Our gathering here today is evidence of our collective dedication and commitment to this vision and the union’s broader efforts towards the Africa We Want”

She added that: “As we proceed with the implementation of the process of Agenda 2063, we must admit the challenges faced by our beloved continent in the promotion and protection of human and people’s rights, this requires us to focus our eyes on how best to advance rights that address underdevelopment, poverty, inequality, marginalization and exclusion on our continent as we make concerted efforts towards effective implementation of Agenda 2063”.

She stressed that they have to redouble their efforts to ensure that Africans enjoy the right to food, water, sanitation, housing, education, heath, decent clothing and clean environment.

Mr. Mahamane Cisse-Gouro, Chief Africa Branch of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out that this gathering is an opportunity to reflects on the achievements and challenges that continue to face since the adaptation of the OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa 50 years ago and the African Union Convention on Internally Displaced Persons (the Kampala Convention) in 2009.

He noted that these landmarks instruments adopted to address the situation of refugees, returnees and internal displaced persons in Africa are not adhering to by many state parties.

He lamented that refugees and migrants have increasingly become the target of violence and harassment, they are rejected, persecuted and treated like criminals and many migrants live and work in situations of extreme vulnerability.

Cisse-Gouro, pointed out that those in irregular situation are unable to access shelter, healthcare, education or other basic services.

Declaring the session open Dr. Isatou Touray, Vice President of The Gambia said this session is extremely important for the Africa continent to discuss human rights issues highlight the progress been made and challenges for building Africa we want for present and  future.

She said the increase of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons continues to be great concerns as African as situation of millions of people as IDPs from within and outside their territories continues to be manifested yearly on the continent.

“On result conflicts in South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Mali and Cameroon pose serious challenges on the continent,”

She stressed that African as a continent needs to address the deep rooted of the conflicts and finds a durable solutions for them so that citizens can live in dignity.

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Airtel Africa announces partnership with Ecobank Group to allow Airtel Money customers to improve their access to mobile financial services
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
The partnership will also allow Ecobank corporate account holders to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into Airtel Money customer wallets
NAIROBI, Kenya, October 21, 2019/ — Airtel Africa (Airtel.Africa), a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 14 countries across Africa, and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”) (Ecobank.com), the parent company of Ecobank the leading pan-African banking group operating in 33 countries, have signed a partnership which will allows millions of Airtel Money and Ecobank customers across Africa to improve their access to mobile financial services and carry out a variety of mobile transactions.

This partnership, which is subject to regulatory approval in each market, will enable Airtel Money customers, through Ecobank’s digital financial services ecosystem, make online deposits and withdrawals, effect real time domestic and international money transfers, make in-store merchant payments, and access loans and savings products amongst others.

The partnership will also allow Ecobank corporate account holders to make bulk disbursements, such as payroll payments, directly into Airtel Money customer wallets. Additionally, Ecobank will be able to sponsor Airtel Money to issue both virtual and physical debit and pre-paid cards to Airtel Money customers.

Raghunath Mandava, CEO for Airtel Africa, said: “This partnership is a further demonstration of Airtel Africa’s commitment to provide affordable, simple and innovative solutions for our consumers across Africa. We will continue to offer locally relevant M-Commerce solutions with partners like Ecobank in order to enhance the daily lives of our customers.”

Ecobank Group CEO, Ade Ayeyemi, commented: “We believe that financial inclusion can ultimately contribute to economic development, collaborating with major telecommunications providers in Africa is therefore a key strategic driver towards closing the gap between the banked and the underbanked. Hence this partnership with Airtel Africa which makes Ecobank financial services available to any Airtel line registered on Airtel Money, in our markets where regulatory approvals are in place. This potential extensive reach will further provide convenience to customers, intra-country and particularly for cross-border transactions and remittances across Africa.”
About Airtel Africa:
Airtel Africa (LSE: AAF; NSE: AIRTELAFRI) (Airtel.Africa) is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries in Africa, primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. Airtel Africa offers an integrated suite of telecommunications solutions to its subscribers, including mobile voice and data services as well as mobile money services both nationally and internationally. The Group aims to continue providing a simple and intuitive customer experience through streamlined customer journeys.

About Ecobank Group:
Incorporated in Lomé, Togo in 1986, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) (Ecobank.com) is the parent company of the leading independent pan-African banking group, Ecobank. It currently has banking subsidiaries in 33 African countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group also has a banking license in Paris-France and representative offices  in Addis Ababa- Ethiopia, Johannesburg – South Africa, Dubai – United Arab Emirates, London – UK and Beijing – China. The Group is owned by more than 600,000 local and international institutional and individual shareholders. The Group employs over 16,000 people in 40 different countries. It provides consumer, commercial banking, corporate and investment banking, and securities, wealth and asset management to about 20 million customers, ranging from individuals, small and medium-sized enterprises, regional and multinational corporations, financial institutions, international organisations and governments via over 800 branches and offices, 2,000 ATMs, the internet (Ecobank.com), and mobile banking. ETI is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchanges in Lagos, the Ghana Stock Exchange in Accra, and the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières in Abidjan.
*Distributed by APO
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Paradise Game, a Major Player in the Video Game Industry in Africa is Launching the Feja 3, the Esports and Video Games Rendez-Vous in Africa
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
This Third Edition Is Putting An Emphasis On The Ecosystem To Put In Place To Support Video Game Creation In Africa
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 21, 2019/ — For the 3rd consecutive year, Abidjan will welcome from November 22nd to 24th, the Electronic and Video Game Festival of Abidjan (FEJA) at COSMOS YOPOUGON. Hosted by Paradise Game and made possible by Orange Cote d’Ivoire, this event offers a unique experience to gamers and regional video game industry players.

FEJA 3, A new step. This year the esports tournaments will be open to every African citizen and every person living in Africa without having to go through qualifiers. Every African gamer would be allowed to participate in the major FEJA tournaments (Fifa, Pes, Street fighter, Tekken, Fortnite) and all the « side events » (Clash Royale, Mortal Kombat, Naruto, DBZ, COD, etc.). Registration for the tournaments started on October 17th on the website www.FEJA.ci.

After successfully attracting video game lovers and professionals from 10 countries the two previous editions, 12 African countries are targeted this year.

With more than 5000 sqm dedicated to the event, the participants of the festival will enjoy a rich program with esports tournaments (Football, Versus fighting, Mobile Games), conferences and workshops, exhibitions, and entertainment.

Through this third edition, Paradise Game intends to promote the opportunities that video games 100% Made in Africa could provide for the continent. Discussions and panels will revolve around the ideal ecosystem to put in place for the continent. In that perspective, FEJA is broadening its reach to development partners in the video game field and look closely at the content creation and to setting up video game studios. Industry players will share their experience during Workshops. 

Sidick Bakayoko, Founder and CEO de Paradise Game, producer of the event declared:

« Video Games could help create 200 000 jobs in Africa in the upcoming 5 years. It is then key to establish a sustainable industry based on strong local players, experienced international partners and engaged governments. An ecosystem promoting video game creation would allow more game studios which would mean more more jobs created. »

Key Information on FEJA 3: 
Dates: November 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2019
Venue: Cosmos Yopougon – Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from 9am to 8pm

About Paradise Game:
Paradise Game (ParadiseGame.net)  is a beacon for esports and video games in Africa. Paradise Game is a company based in Côte d’Ivoire that organizes esport events, manages video game centers and that creates gaming and eLearning content. With its ambition to transform the video game industry, Paradise Game became one the leading esport and video game player in Africa. With more than 120 000 video game fans across 10 african countries, an active online community across social networks and the website, as well as a 1200 sqm game center with more than 3 000 visitors per day. Paradise Game envisions to create the biggest gaming community in Africa and provide them with unique events, state of the art video game centers, and multimedia content (entertainment, e- Learning, etc.) 

Paradise Game initiated the first major gaming and esport festival in Africa, the FEJA (Electronic and esports Festival of Abidjan – www.FEJA.ci), but also a TV show named Paradise Game Show that showcased local industry players. Paradise Game is now promoting video games « made-in-Africa » for the local and the international market using the « Africa Corner by Paradise Game » during Paris Games Week.  

About Orange Cote d’ivoire:
Orange Côte d’Ivoire, leading mobile telecom operator in Côte d’Ivoire with more than 14 000 000 clients, is a company that makes it a point to provide quality service to its clients. Orange offers landline and mobile services as well as internet to both the general public and companies.
*SOURCE : Paradise Game/APO
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KnowBe4 Africa goes continental with Cyber Security Africa
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, October 21, 2019/ — KnowBe4 Africa (www.KnowBe4.com) is proud to announce that we are partnering with Cyber Security Africa as our African distributor. KnowBe4 Africa aims to make access to its cybersecurity awareness training platform easier for African businesses through CS Africa and offer a necessary solution to the threat of cybercrime in growing economies.

At the recent World Economic Forum in Cape Town, African business owners flagged cybersecurity as the biggest threat to a successful operation, with 94% of companies in Africa and the Middle East experiencing a cyberattack in the past year.

Stronger together

The distribution agreement between KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa will allow for relationship building as well as provide local support on the ground for channel partners and end users. Considering the rapid rate of digital transformation in African countries, it’s vital that employees develop a security culture that will benefit them both personally and professionally.

Cyber Security Africa was the top choice as a continental distributor and has quickly established itself as an industry-leading Value-Added Distributor with a single-minded focus – the mitigation of information security risk for their clients. They focus their attention on niche, generally complex and certainly relevant security solutions that can utilized by organisations of all sizes and sectors. Lead by Martin Britz, Cyber Security Africa prides itself on being small enough to remain agile and large enough to apply a dedicated approach to each client experience. For this new venture, Martin is assisting in the North and Central African regions. Gayle Britz will serve as the KnowBe4 champion and care for the SADC region. She guides a highly experienced team that includes Femi Ibine in West Africa, Susan Ndungu and Gladys in East Africa along with Andrew Ajuchi in Nigeria. Together, the Cyber Security Africa team will be able to provide support to business in close to 20 countries across the continent.

Cyber Security Africa founder, Martin Britz, believes great things are on the horizon for the fledgling partnership. “What sets us apart from our competitors is our keen understanding of this ever-evolving cybersecurity industry, with all its technologies, innovations, threats and solutions, positions us as “future-proof” to clients, while maintaining availability to attend to their more immediate needs. The offering from KnowBe4 Africa is unique and it’s exciting to be able to offer local training content that will have big benefits for African businesses.”

Transforming security culture


At the heart of this partnership is an authentic desire to empower and protect the greatest assets of any business: its people. Both KnowBe4 Africa and Cyber Security Africa focus on minimizing cyber risk for clients by educating their employees on how to spot threats like phishing, social engineering and training them with general information security practices. This fortifies the clients’ cybersecurity posture, saving them time and money while also drastically reducing the risk of falling prey to a cyberattack.

Anna Collard, managing director of KnowBe4 Africa firmly believes in securing a human firewall and creating a culture of security awareness in the digital age. “The human factor has become very important to the security of the organisation. People need to understand that if they use technology, they have to be cognisant of the risks. Organisations can support this understanding by investing in training that’s relevant, targeted and memorable. Training that can sustainably transform the company’s security culture.”

Whether it’s an SME, a healthcare institution or even a manufacturing business, there’s no doubt that all organisations will come to understand the importance of security awareness training. We certainly know that Africa is ready to make smarter security decisions, every day.
*Distributed by APO
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Patrick Njoroge wins Africa’s best Central Bank Governor Award
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Central Bank Governor Dr Patrick Njoroge. Photo credit Standard Media

Kenya’s Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge has won the 2019 Global Markets Award recognizing him the as best governor in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He was feted for successfully leading the demonetization of the old 1000 notes without affecting the country’s economy. The process of doing away with the old notes began in June and ended on October 1 in a bid to tame illicit financial flow, terrorism financing and money laundering. The event was held on the sidelines of World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington DC.

In his acceptance speech, Dr. Njoroge dedicated the award to the African youths whom he said need opportunities to grow.

“I would, therefore, want to dedicate this award to the youth of Africa who obviously need a lot more opportunities and which our actions collectively will provide for their benefits,” said Njoroge.

The award ceremony was preceded by the Global Capital meetings where the applicants were given forum to present the achievements of their companies in the last one year and the editorial panel settled on Governor Njoroge.

“Some 120 pitches were heard in total and all contained stories of excellence. An editorial panel then decided the winners of the awards. As ever, we were looking for the stories of innovation, going the extra mile for clients and industry advocacy that have powered the improvement of the global derivatives markets,” stated the Global Markets statement.

The Kenya’s governor won the award for the first time in 2016 for controlling inflation and cleaning up Kenya’s banking sector whereas the 2018 award was scooped by Nigeria’s Central Governor Godwin Emefiele for promoting economic stability, boosting investors’ confidence, promoting inward capital inflow and inventing long term solutions to curb inflation.

He took the office in 2015 and his tenure was to end three months ago before Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta extended his term for four years.

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Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc. CEO praises Ayuk’s New Book with a call for greater dialogue and solutions to protect African energy and natural resources infrastructure
October 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
C. Derek Campbell
The entire book has practical ideas for strategically harnessing Africa’s oil and gas resources in a manner that is attractive to investors and beneficial to the citizenry of Africa
WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, October 21, 2019/ — In his new book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, leading African energy attorney, NJ Ayuk, maintains that Africans have the power to reverse the so-called “resource curse” and use their continent’s petroleum resources to fuel positive changes—but only if they address unresolved security issues.

“African countries simply must do more to address political and civil discontent in areas where oil and gas producers are active,” Ayuk writes in chapter 15 of Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals. “If they don’t, they will run the risk of alienating investors and losing access to funds.” Energy security – the protection of critical energy infrastructure and natural resource assets – plays a vital and dynamic role in assuring the optimization and monetization of these operations.

The African Energy Chamber, led by Ayuk, calls on African governments and oil companies to do more to protect the energy and natural resource infrastructure in Africa. Oil and gas infrastructure is quickly becoming a principal target for terrorists, rogue organizations, hostile state and non-state actors, and criminal enterprises across the continent, as we see in the Middle East.

Attacks on energy infrastructure and natural resource assets in Africa’s major oil-producing countries have far too long been the norm. In Nigeria, onshore and offshore vandal and terror attacks against oil and gas operating facilities have been ongoing. Physical attacks against oil and gas workers by Islamist insurgents in northern Mozambique pose threats to Mozambique’s LNG ambitions. Angola’s Sonangol recently suffered a crippling ransom ware cyber-attack. Kenya has suffered the disruption of oil production and oil transport due to terrorist and vandal attacks in its western region. Algeria was victim of a direct physical attack against one of its major gas processing facilities. Ayuk urges the deployment of proper “best-in-class” security solutions to ensure greater project success for the stakeholders who operate and maintain Africa’s energy and natural resource assets.

Ayuk’s stance has earned the praise of C. Derek Campbell, CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc., a U.S.-based company that offers physical, cyber, and technical security solutions for oil and gas operators across the globe, with specific concentration and expertise in the African energy and natural resource market.

Campbell lauds Ayuk’s insistence that African governments look for ways to work with businesses to employ best-in-class security protocols so that both the public and the private sector can benefit from oil and gas development. “Africa’s energy producers can’t afford to ignore security,” Campbell said. “Governments have just as much of a stake as C-Suite executives do in finding ways to address security issues that lead to chaos, violence and disorder – they must join forces NOW.  If they do so, the energy opportunities on the continent become attractive to investors, and are given a chance to flourish for the benefit of all Africans.”

Ayuk has plenty to say about what might constitute “big, pragmatic, common-sense solutions” to security problems in his chapter about security concerns – to include direct inputs from Campbell. In fact, the entire book has practical ideas for strategically harnessing Africa’s oil and gas resources in a manner that is attractive to investors and beneficial to the citizenry of Africa.

“Everyone who has an interest in seeing Africa move in a positive direction should read this book,” said Campbell. “Mr. Ayuk doesn’t just lament Africa’s difficulties and throw up his hands. He looks for answers – answers that are executable and sustainable across the entire energy value chain.”

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group (https://CenturionLG.com); Founder and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org); and co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017). He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

C. Derek Campbell is the founder and CEO of Energy & Natural Resource Security, Inc. (https://enr-security.com) – an international security conglomerate providing “best-in-class” physical, cyber, and technical risk mitigation solutions for Critical Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resource assets across the globe, with specific concentration in Africa. Derek is a regular on the international Oil & Gas/Energy speaking circuit speaking as an authority on topics such as Energy Security and the Extractive Industry geo-political and market dynamics in Africa.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy will be published this month and is already available on Amazon.
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Please Hold Your Horses…A word of caution about the dismissal of the African Union permanent representative to the United States of America.
October 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ed. DUCHE

Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao

The African diaspora in the United States of America and around the world is riled up in controversy following the dismissal of the African Union Head of Mission to U.S.,  Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao by the African Union Commission Chairman  Moussa Farki Mahamat.

A petition on the popular site ww.change.org  initiated by Professor Apollos Okwuchi Nwauwa
Secretary of the African Diaspora Congress to “Reinstate African Union Ambassador Chihombori-Quao” on Sunday, October 20, 2019 has garnered approximatively 60,000 signatures in counting. The petition reads as follow:

“…Dr. Arikana has been outspoken about neo-colonial maneuverings and exploitation that still exist today. Her dissemination of the truth has garnered her attention and support around the world… However, not everyone is embracing her bold but honest discourses for effecting change for the betterment of Africa.  On October 7th, 2019, Ambassador Quao was relieved of her position as the “Permanent Ambassador” in a unilateral decision made by the African Union Commission Chairman without any hearing or explanation, and yet presented as representing the opinions of all 55 countries. The questions are: why was she dismissed, or better, who benefits from her removal? Were African heads of states and governments consulted? Who called the shot? Or is Africa, and peoples of African descent, still facing the debilitating effects of modern colonialism or neocolonialism? Leadership based on self-interest and preservation that does not benefit the people they serve is no longer acceptable…[1]

An cnn.com article, authored by Bukola Adebayo, dated October 16th  2019 and titled “AU faces backlash after terminating ambassador’s appointment[2], the authorstated that  on October 7th, 2019, A.U. Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat relieved the Ambassador from her position in line with the commission’s rules, and suggested that the dismissal was due to her “strong views on France’s occupation and hold over its former African colonies, which she shared publicly[3]”. The assertion is that the firing occurred under direct pression from the French Government. Apparently this is also Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao  narrative and argument in pushing back on her dismissal and in making a case directly to the diaspora in support of her reinstatement as  the continental organization permanent representative to the United States of America.

Believing that Ambassador Dr. Arikanna Chihombori-Quao was fired over her criticism of the French and their colonial practices in Africa, several preeminent members in the African American community, the Diaspora and International leaders,  appalled by the A.U. action, are adamantly criticizing the leadership of the African Union and calling in to question the independence of African countries vis-á-vis their former colonial power. The situation is rapidly degrading and becoming another public opinion nightmare for the A.U. commission and its leadership. In the U.S. and especially in Washington DC, Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao appears to be  another “victim”  of a stand against colonialism.  Many are expressing outrage on her behalf and throwing their support  behind her  in pressuring  the A.U Commissioner to  give her  the job back.

The office of AU Chair Faki issued a statement saying the change was customary diplomatic practice.Photo credit Twitter

Looking at the way the situation is unfolding, the mastery  in display, the activism deployed and the narrative peddled by the Ambassador’s supporters, It is of a paramount importance to exercise caution in embracing the situation as painted, and restraint from jumping to conclusions.   Indeed, a closer look reveals that   there may be a lot more to the story than what we have so far read on social media and in news stories.

Curiously, for all the communication that has been selectively leaked both from the AU to Ambassador Chihombori and from her to the AU, there is no mention of the existence of a damning audit report about the Ambassador’s tenure. Is this just an oversight, or a deliberate attempt to peddle a narrative that favors one party as the victim and hero, while labeling the other as the villain? Indeed, on August, 22nd  2019, an investigation into Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao governance of the A.U., mission in Washington DC for the period of September 2016 to February 2019 was submitted to the chairperson of the Commission.

The subject of the investigation report is “Alleged violation of Procurement Procedures, Abuse of Authority/Misuse of Office and Conflict of interest[4]  and the transmittal letter reads in its entirety as follows: 

“The investigation is based on the allegation by a whistleblower that the Head of Mission (HOM) Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao has been violating AU procurement rules by single sourcing contracts, bid splitting to circumvent procurement procedures, receiving three quotation from the same bidder to create the semblance of legality and also failure to submit bids above the threshold of $50,000 to the headquarter Tender Board for approval. It is also alleged that Ambassador Quao misapplied funds earmarked for other activities to Miss AU Pageant, the AU Diaspora retreat and the African Diaspora Youth League summit without approval from the AUC Chairperson…” the report continues, “…Furthermore, Ambassador Quao is alleged to abuse authority/misused of office and also involved in conflict of interest issues with the African Union-African Diaspora Health Initiative (AU-ADHI) is registered as her private organization and the “Wakanda One” project. The AU-ADHI is registered under her name as a private citizen and currently being funded by AU as political sub division of the African Union approved initiative established for the purpose of galvanizing the African Diaspora to participate in the development of Africa as stated in an Agreement signed by her with a Washington DC based Attorney”.

The investigation report was very damning to Ambassador Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao. It described in detail a stream of procurement violations, misuse of public funding as well as instance of conflict of interests in details and concluded by ascertaining the veracity of the whistleblower allegations and recommended sanctions against the Ambassador.

For example the audit reported that  “$181,204  Miss AU pageant cost was a misapplied funds earmarked to other activities…”   “Ambassador Dr Quao cancelled the MOU with Newdesk Media and single source the contract for the production of the Magazine -invest in Africa- to AMIP family business at the cost of $60,000 USD[5]”, “Dr.Quao single-sourced the production of the 2017 Calendars to 5 Star Eventz  for $9,583 meanwhile the 2019 Calendars were printed for $3,600 following a Request for Quotation initiated by the Finance Officer...” Moreover, the Ambassador has “registered associations in her own name that are being funded using AU resources” thereby creating a blatant conflict of interest. Two companies “Homestrings and Global Political Solutions were single-sourced and awarded a contract without the knowledge of the Finance and Administrative Officer…”

As one reads the investigation report, it becomes clear that there is a lot more to the history about why the Ambassador was fired. It is now obvious that one should exercise caution, wonder, ponder, and hold the horse, before jumping too quickly into the bandwagon of an emotionally driven narrative on the news. The anti-colonialist narrative for being the reason for the Ambassador’s dismissal has “muddied” the water.  The conclusion   that the Ambassador was relieved of her duty due to her stand and denunciation of the French colonial engagement in Africa is questionable in light of the damning audit report.

 It is well known that French colonial engagement is an issue, many people have spoken and continue to speak against it both in Africa and in the diaspora. Leaders like President Paul Kagame who have lashed out at the French are some of the most admired, and influential people in Africa and beyond. While we may not completely rule out that veracity of the allegation  from Arikana’s partisans on the French influence in forcing her out, we must put everything in context, evaluate all the factors and circumstances before jumping into conclusions .

Ambassador Chihombori Arikana with AU Chair Moussa Faki, Dean of Elliot School of International Affairs Reuben Brigety and former Tanzanian Ambassador to the USA Liberata Mulamula . The tenure of Ambassador saw more vibrancy on African issues in Washington. Photo Credit Elliot School

This opinion piece is essentially a cautionary advice to not let the situation spin out of control and in the process cast a discredit of the AU Commission as well as in damaging the Diaspora judgment. It is understandable and counter intuitive for many not be outraged in light of what appears to be an injustice perpetrated against Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao  especially when she performed admirably  well and above expectation on  her duties in Washington DC.  However we can’t overlook the facts in the Audit report and if history teaches, let’s then remember lesson learned from high profile cases of rush to judgment, public response that followed suit and ultimately  jury conclusion.

As the AU spokesperson Ebba Kalondo said in statement, diplomatic transfers and changes are standard practice. In the USA for instance, it is hard to see an Ambassador spend four years in the same duty post.  While emotions may be charged, it would be good if the diaspora could channel this energy into more useful initiatives. It could be to lobby for projects to Africa, raise funds to support development initiatives, use its clout to build useful networks and more. For all she did and that the AU acknowledges , the Mission to the USA did not start with Ambassador, nor will it end with her. The diaspora should build on her successes and ensure that the momentum she has created is built upon or sustained by her successor for the greater good of Africa. After all, not many in the diaspora knew Ambassador Arikana Chihombori prior to her appointment and not many probably knew she would perform well. I am sure she will be the last person interested in seeing the work she did go up in flames or to see the mission she led destroyed because she was relieved as Ambassador.

For Ambassador Arikana Chihombori, there is still more for her to do out there. It will be good if she can rein in her partisans by letting them understand that, the services we render to mother Africa are beyond any one individual. There are people in the diaspora and specifically in the Washington, DC metro area who have spent a lifetime fighting for African causes without fuse, and without expectations. Some of them actually worked with Ambassador Arikana, just as they worked with her predecessor and will hopefully work with her successor. Just like someone ran and handed the baton to Ambassador Chihombori, she too has done her own running and should pass the baton to another person in peace for the task of moving Africa is like a relay race , where it will take the efforts of many, infact effort from all Africans and its diaspora for sustained progress to be made.


[1] https://www.change.org/p/african-leaders-and-presidents-reinstate-african-union-ambassador-chihombori-quao

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/16/africa/petition-over-sacking-of-au-ambassador/index.html

[3] https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/16/africa/petition-over-sacking-of-au-ambassador/index.html

[4] AU inter office Memorandum from the Director of Internal Audit to the Chairperson of the Commission

[5] AU inter office Memorandum from the Director of Internal Audit to the Chairperson of the Commission

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Africa and globetrotting leaders: Cause for Optimism or Concern
October 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

You have to engage people. If you don’t travel how do you engage them (donors)?” Former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi (2003)

After a long day which started as early as 4 am, I returned home around 7 pm. Just as is the case with many neighbourhoods in Zimbabwe, there was no electricity at home so I turned to my smartphone for some entertainment while preparing my body for sleep. I logged in to my Twitter account and started to catch up on all the latest headlines both local and international. While scrolling down, one tweet did catch my eye; the tweet was about Emerson Mnangagwa, the Zimbabwean President. The tweet stated that by January 2019, just one year and one month after becoming the president, Mnangagwa had embarked on 26 foreign trips! This staggering figure which now stands above the 30 point mark quickly forced me to draw comparisons between the president and his globetrotting predecessor, Robert Mugabe.

President Mnangagwa has clocked more than 30 foreign trips since he took over from Robert Mugabe

When Mnangagwa came into power, he promised that he would usher in a new way of doing business. Simply put, this, therefore, meant that as Mugabe was a globetrotter, Mnangagwa would be the exact opposite, that is, he was going to spend much of his time in the country with his people. With over 30 foreign trips travelled since December 2017, this, however, is not the case. As I was pondering about this issue, I began to remember all the headlines that I have read detailing how most African leaders have a penchant for travelling. I also came to realize that globetrotting is not solely a Zimbabwean ‘problem’ but its an African ‘problem’.

 Cameroonian President Paul Biya is nicknamed an ‘absentee president’ owing to his long stays in Switzerland as opposed to his home country. Last year, Paul Biya held his first cabinet meeting in more than two years. The reason behind the huge lapse in cabinet meetings being down to Biya’s long absence. Paul Biya’s foreign travels have been the subject of an online spat between the state-owned Cameroon Tribune newspaper and the Organised Crime and Corruption  Reporting Project (OCCRP), which calculated the amount of time the president spent abroad using reports from the daily newspaper. Biya is estimated to have spent nearly 60 days out of the country in 2018 alone. In 2006 and in 2009, Biya spent a third of the year abroad.

Switzerland is the favorite destination of President Paul Biya of Cameroon

In Nigeria, President Buhari is known for his love for the city of London in the UK. Buhari has travelled to London on several occasions since 2015 when he first came into office. The Nigerian president mostly travels to London under the auspices of seeking medical attention. At one point, the president spent three months abroad in which time his deputy Yemi Osinbajo ran the country. According to the New York times, Buhari has “spent more than 170 days in London on official medical leave since becoming president in 2015.”

Former Malawian President Bakili Muluzi at one point responded angrily after being asked for the umpteenth time why he was so fond of taking foreign trips instead of trying to solve problems back home. After returning from a three week trip to Asia in 2003, the president received criticism from various circles within the country accusing him of being ‘ignorant’ and wasting the little resources the country had globetrotting. Realizing that the criticism was coming thick and fast showing no signs of ending anytime soon, the president had to call for a press conference where he criticized all critics saying it was of paramount importance that he spends much of his time globetrotting and it was the only way to engage the donors who primarily fund Malawi’s  budget. In his own words, Bakili Muluzi stated “You have to engage people. If you don’t travel how do you engage them?” while critics had a strong case in criticizing the president for his numerous foreign trips, in the case of the country as a whole, Muluzi can be justified for his travels as Malawi for the past two decades has seen donor-funded projects make up over 60 percent of the capital budget each year.

In profiling instances of African leaders who have a penchant for travelling, we can certainly go on and on as many African presidents both current and former are avidly known for loving the fast plane life. As such, besides looking at the obvious, let’s take a moment to examine if globetrotting is of any benefit to African nations or its just an illusion used by African leaders to hoodwink the citizens into believing that they are actually doing something.

The argument that has been used by many African leaders if not all when questioned about their numerous trips abroad is that foreign trips help them to engage and reengage with foreign powers most of whom possess massive influence and power that can be used for the betterment and development of Africa. On the front of engagement and re-engagement, it can be noted that indeed, Africa is now much more connected to the rest of the world in comparison to years gone by. Various leaders of the more powerful states and institutions including the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, IMF and World Bank have visited African nations in an attempt to consolidate and strengthen the ties that exist between them and Africa. This on its own paints a positive picture that indeed, foreign trips embarked upon by African leaders have managed to put Africa on the global map.

However, while still of the front of engagement and re-engagement, it can be noted also that the benefits from the ties between Africa and the rest of the world do not work in a reciprocal manner. Rather, Africa by engaging with the rest of the world has managed to give leeway to foreign powers to exploit Africa while she, on the other hand, has benefited nothing of true value. Most of the deals that have been reached as a result of engagement and re-engagement efforts have seen European powers come to Africa to establish their companies, plundering African resources, polluting the local environment and repatriating the profits back to the headquarters. Employment of the locals and availability of ready-made manufactured goods has been the only benefit to Africa; something that’s insignificant when compared to the benefits enjoyed by foreign powers.

The above therefore clearly shows that the talk of engagement and re-engagement has on the surface appeared as a good thing to Africa but when one takes a deeper look, it’s quite crystal clear that Africa is not benefitting as much as it should from the engagement approach. Earlier on, we stated that Bakili Muluzi supported his globetrotting adventures saying they were the ones responsible for bringing the much-needed finance used to sustain human lives in the country in the form of donor funds. While this is certainly true, what can also be seen is that donor funds have actually made Malawian leaders and the citizenry at large idle, dependent and some would say lazy. This is because instead of looking at ways to use what they have in creating a source of livelihood for the whole nation, the country is now much more concerned with appeasing the foreign powers so that donor funding keeps flowing at all times. The ingenuity of the locals has been suppressed and docility is praised.

For health and leisure, London is the favorite stop for President Buhari pictured here with ADP Chieftain Bola Tinubu while convalescing after medical treatment. Photo credit Channels TV

Moving on, globetrotting leaders have also used trade as one of the main reasons why they embark of numerous foreign trips. African leaders with a penchant for travelling state that they spend most of their time travelling and meeting with their foreign counterparts so that they can improve trade between their nations and other foreign powers. While its indeed true that trade figures between Africa and the rest of the world (Europe, Asian and America) have increased gradually since the 1980s, it’s also true that the increase has largely been necessitated by foreign powers instead of Africa. This is to say that the actions taken by African leaders have had little to insignificant value in terms of paving the way for the increase in trade figures. It is firstly down to Europe, America and Asia’s commitment to producing more products for export that has seen trade figures between Africa and the rest of the world increase. Secondly, it is also as a result of the numerous multinationals operating in  Africa seeking to exploit cheap human labour, relaxed environmental laws and favourable policies and taxes that have seen Africa produce more products for export. Products produced by Africans in Africa for sale in other parts of the world account for only an insignificant portion of export figures. This, therefore, shows that globetrotting African leaders have achieved so little when it comes to real benefits for the home countries.  

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Peace talks aimed at ending decades of conflict in Sudan ongoing in Juba
October 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President of Sudanese Transitional Council General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, left, and President of South Sudan Salva Kiir attend a meeting to endorse the peace talks between Sudan’s government and rebel leaders in Juba, South Sudan, on October 14, 2019. AFP

Juba – Peace talks between the Sudanese transitional government and armed and non-armed opposition groups have begun in South Sudan’s capital with parties showing eagerness to end the country’s long civil war.

South Sudan’s President Kiir is hosting the peace talks, where the transitional government and rebel groups signed a draft agreement last month that detailed a roadmap for the talks, trust-building measures and an extension of a cease-fire already in place, represents a turning point in ending war and bringing about peace to Sudan.

This followed former president Omar al-Bashir’s successful mediation of the South Sudan peace talks in Khartoum last year, September, before overthrow in April, 2019.

The peace initiative was also built into a power-sharing deal between Sudan’s army groups and its pro-democracy movements. That deal was reached after the deposed of longtime tyrant President Omar al-Bashir in April. The transitional authorities have six months to make peace with the rebels, according to the agreement.

Ethiopia and the African Union mediated the power-sharing agreement in August which ended months of violence and faltering talks between Sudan’s generals and protesters following the uprising against al-Bashir.

South Sudan gained independence from the north in 2011 after decades of civil war. But in the 2000s, Sudan was most known for al-Bashir’s brutal repression of an uprising in the western Darfur region.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Leader of Sudan’s transitional council, Abdel Fattah Al-Abdelrahman Burhan and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir meet in Juba, South Sudan [Jok Solomon/Reuters]

Attaining peace is crucial to the transitional government in Sudan. It has counted on ending the wars with rebels in order to revive the country’s dilapidated economy through slashing the military spending, which takes up much of the national budget.

However, Sudanese military councils have introduced good-will signals. They dismissed death sentences against eight rebel leaders and released more than a dozen prisoners of war. They have also delayed the formation of the parliament and the appointment of provincial governors to allow time for the rebels to come on board.

President Kiir is trying to look for the best ways to end the war that has been raging in Sudan for the last 63 years – that’s to say since independence.

The peace solutions brokered in the past, starting by Addis Ababa 1972, Khartoum 1997, CPA 2005, Abuja, Cairo, Asmara and Doha agreements, failed to achieve a just, comprehensive and permanent peace.”

Sudanese warring parties accepted the mediation of president Salva Kiir and Juba as a venue for peace talks when the AUHIP failed to settle the conflict in Sudan in eight years and twenty-two rounds of talks.

Addressing the launch of the peace talks at the Freedom Hall in Juba, President Kiir called on the Sudanese parties to make compromises during the negotiations.

President Kiir said negotiations and compromises are ushered to settle any political conflict and reach a peace deal that will end the country prolong conflict.

He added that peace could not come to any country through armed conflict adding that it was possible if parties come together, discuss and find possible solutions.

President Kiir reiterated that lack of peace in his former country would lead to instability in the whole Africa and South Sudan particular.

“Time has come for us in Africa and in our region to rise up to the challenge of addressing our differences and conflicts,” said Kiir in the event graced by regional heads of states, including Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni and Ethiopian Premier Dr Abiy Ahmed.

“I have no doubt that we have the capacity, the ability and the required competence to do so if we have a strong political will. “Now for the Sudanese delegations for the peace talks, I wish them successful dialogue, negotiation and compromise so that we celebrate the achievement of peace in the Sudan,” said president Kiir.

Symbol of peace

The chairperson of the IGAD, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, also Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, called on the region to exert more efforts for peace building to create a safe environment for investment, adding that the horn of Africa should always address its challenges through inclusive dialogue.

The IGAD countries consist of Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan and South Sudan. But Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan have been ruined down by years of conflict as a result of political and communal wrangles.

Dr. Abiy say the region has the potential to become a symbol of peace and economic in Africa as well as in the global.

“I believe there is nothing that we cannot achieve as a region. We have witnessed a peace between the Ethiopia and Eritrea; the silence of the guns in South Sudan and the successful Sudanese reconciliation; we are also hopeful that Kenya and Somalia will have to resolve their problem through dialogue. What we have achieved together are building-blocks for our region’s shared goals and collective prosperity,” said Dr. Abiy.

Dr. Abiy urged the leaders to engage youth in addressing the economic challenges in the region rather than recruiting them for civil war.

“It is time for our regions to focus on the inevitable journey of a robust economic integration,” said the 2019 Noble Prize Winner. “The time has come to give a better chance to our youth through pooling our cooperative advantages to common goals and developments – this, we can only do when all the stakeholders in each of our countries commits to peace.”

 “Ideological bankruptcy”

Meanwhile, the Ugandan President cautioned leaders against the use of religion and tribes to advance their political interests.

Yoweri Museveni says leaders in Sudan and South Sudan have sought leadership positions by turning their people against each other.

He says since 1962, Sudan has failed to address the underlying causes of wars and poverty because of lack of political ideology.

In 2011, Sudan split following 39 years of civil war between South Sudanese and the Sudanese government over lack of services and poor system of governance.

Museveni argues that the problems of Sudan and Africa can be attributed to the misguided use of tribal and religious identities as a means of resolving issues.

“People who are ideologically bankrupt have no alternative but to use opportunism of religion, tribe, and of race. This is a crime against Africa,” said the leader who has been the Uganda’s president since 1986. “If you don’t know what to do, go back home and mismanage your home. Don’t come to a public office to cause suffering for the people.”

While they applaud President Kiir’s efforts to help restore stability in the Sudan, critics and activists say the President should start the charity at home by ensuring that the revitalized peace agreement is fully implemented.

Commitment

For his part, the President of the Sudanese Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdul Fattah Al Burhan, expressed hopes that the Kiir-mediated peace talks will bring to an end years of conflict in the Sudan.

“We come to negotiate in good faith for the sake of the Sudan. This time is different from the past, in the past there was a government wanted to divide the country with armed groups, though the oppositions are in the country,” said Al Burhan. We are reiterating our full commitment that this round of talks will be the end to the problems of our Sudanese people – to put an end to the suffering of our people,” he promised, his government want comprehensive peace such that over five million Sudanese displaced both internally and externally return to their homes.

According to Juba’s government, Kiir’s mediation efforts is aimed at finding an end to the civil war in Blue Nile and Darfur regions.

The states of Blue Nile and South Kordofan – which both have large ethnic minority populations that fought alongside the South Sudanese during the two decades of scorched – earth civil war.

Over nine different armed and non-armed opposition groups are taking part in the talks including main opposition movements of Revolutionary Front and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army – North.

Dr. Alhadi Idris Ahmed, Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) Leader has expressed his willingness to cooperate in good faith with the interim government to bring solution to the conflict in Sudan.

“Time has come for us to stop war and killings in the Republic of Sudan. It is time for beginning of stability, peace, respect of human rights and economic development in Sudan,” said Ahmed, adding that they want to see a new Sudan with a democracy and equal opportunity to all the Sudanese people.

Cdr. Abdul-Aziz Adam Alhilu, SPLM-N, emphasized that they have come to the talks with a firm will and determination to achieve a new Sudan of freedom, justice and equality.

“We also believe that the success of the negotiations to bring an end to the war in Sudan depends on addressing the root causes of the problem that can be summarized in the two issues of national identity and relationship between religion and state,” said Abdul-Aziz. The two points of identity and theocracy are at the top of the contentious issues that divide the Sudanese people. We have to look for the commonalities that provide the basis for a just unity and permanent peace,” he added.

Despite the secession of South Sudan, there is racism in Sudan today. It is racial and religious double apartheid that resulted in 63 years of civil wars, where the state exterminated over 3 million of its own citizens in [then] South Sudan, Nuba Mountain, Blue Nile, Beja of the East, far North Nuba and Darfur.

“We, in the SPLM-N believe that the failure was due to the complicated nature of the conflict on one hand, and the insistence of the subsequent Khartoum governments to deal with it as a security problem on the other, while the conflict is basically political. We also believe that success of the negotiations to bring an end to the wars in Sudan depends on addressing the root causes of the problem that can be summarized in the two issues of national identity and relationship between religious,” said Abdul-Aziza.

The official launching ceremony of Sudan peace talks being mediated by president Kiir was attending by The president of Sudan Sovereign Council, Gen. Abdel AlFattah Al-burhan, the president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed and the Prime Minister of Arab Republic of Egypt, Mustafa Kemal Madbouly.

The presidents of Kenya and Somalia were not in attendance they have busy schedules in their respective countries.

Several peace talks have failed to end the internal conflict in Sudan and bring in a comprehensive justice and permanent peace, however, this is litmus – test for president Kiir whether to bring final solution to the Sudanese crisis or not. This peace talks will go on for two months.

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