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Cameroon: Unidentified gunmen kidnap SDF’s Fru Ndi
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

SDF National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi

SDF National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi

The National chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDF Ni John Fru Ndi has reportedly been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Bamenda, North West Region of Cameroon. The incident took place in the early hours of June 28. It is still unclear as to who is behind that latest attack or the motive behind the kidnapped.

His body guard was reportedly shot on the leg by the armed men before making away with the Chairman.

This is the second time the SDF chairman has been reportedly kidnapped. Ni John Fru Ndi’s first kidnapped was on April 27 at Wainama as he was leading a delegation to bury Honourable Joseph Banadzem in Kumbo. He was briefly questioned before he was later released, sources said.

However, party sources had dismissed the notion the Chairman was kidnapped, rather saying it was a ‘misunderstanding’ between the Chairman and the armed men which was immediately sorted out.

In a press release, Jean Robert Wafo Minister of SDF shadow cabinet in charge of information and media said “The national president of Sdf, the chairman Ni John Fru Ndi was the victim of an abduction by unidentified kidnappers this afternoon around 15h30mn. They entered his residence in Ntarikon with Bamenda with guns and fired point-blank at his bodyguard, and then multiplied the shots warning.” “The chairman who was inside the house went out to inquire about the situation and it was then that the attackers removed him to an unknown destination.”

“The SDF will advise as necessary the national and international opinion on this new kidnapping which takes place almost two months to the day after that of April 27th” He added.

The SDF national chairman has been a strong critic of the separatist fighters who are clamoring for separation. The SDF chairman has called on the separatist fighters to go back to their main aim when they stated the fight that they have lost their way. Family members of Ni John Fru Ndi have been kidnapped in the past.

The crisis in the North West and South West Regions of the country has caused many to flee their homes into bushes or neighboring regions. Kidnappings, killings is the other of the day in the regions. More than 200 houses have been partly or completely destroyed, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee. The rate of attacks on villages have increased steadily, usually causing significant damage.  Some 450,000 and 550,000 people have been displaced as a result of the crisis, representing about 10 percent of the regions’ population. An additional 30,000 to 35,000 people have sought asylum in neighboring countries.

This is a developing story…..

 

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Is Africa Rising Narrative A Propaganda Or A Reality?
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Moses Hategeka*

Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda

Why is it that African continent which is a home to sixty percent of world’s remaining arable land, and is vastly blessed with numerous utilizable water resources and various agro-ecological zones, is still a net food importer and is persistently failing to break the food import chain and food trade deficit that it is trapped in?

Africa’s annual food import bill of 35.00 USD billion, and which is expected to reach 110.00 USD billion by 2025, is extremely worrying. This is almost the same amount, the continent needs to close its power deficit, which is among the key needed ingredient to make the continent meaningfully diversify its economies.

My firsthand accounts of seeing extremely malnourished children in many areas of Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, Burundi, Zimbabwe, and Liberia, coupled with very low agricultural productivity, stemming from, overdependence on rain, minimal fertilizer application, use of rudimentary tools, absence of use of appropriate irrigation and water harvesting technologies, and poor farming practices, accompanied with agricultural policy distortions, I have witnessed in many African countries, casts a gloomy picture of Africa’ agricultural sector.

Africa’s annual food import bill of 35.00 USD billion, estimated to rise to 110.00 USD billion by 2025, is besides annihilating its agriculture, also a key continent’s growth and development decelerator. Currently, 250 million people in Africa, are undernourished, and with dwindling agricultural yields, and skyrocketing population, the continent food import bill, is poised to keep on expanding.

Two years back, while on a research assignment, in South-Kivu, North-Kivu, and Tshopo provinces, in DRC, the dilapidated human shelters housing thousands of malnourished and undernourished families, I witnessed shocked me. This is a vast country, which besides, being almost the entire size of Western Europe, is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and is also richly endowed with uranium, diamond, gold, copper, oil, and other precious metals, in addition to possessing large swatches of fertile lands, and world’s second longest River, Congo River, but majority its citizens are extremely very poor.

The situation is not different in other African countries. Forget the rising GDP figures, which the cunning politicians and economists, base on to advance the African rising narrative, and embark on extensive journey in rural areas of many African countries, the skyrocketing poverty levels you will witness, will surprise you.

The persistent use of per capita income as a gauge of African economies growth, should be discarded. It is largely misrepresentative of real situation on the ground, as it does not factor in, the distribution of growth. For instance, according to GDP figures, Uganda economy, has from, 2017/2018 to 2018/2019 expanded from, 25.00 USD billion to 29.00 USD billion, but collaborative government and civil society statistical data, shows that, poverty levels, have in the same period tremendously increased, which in essence implies that, the so called economic expansion is of no value to the majority of its citizens.

All African countries are debt- distressed and billions of monies, they have for years borrowed and are still borrowing from world bank, IMF, China, and other lending institutions and countries, to finance, roads, standard gauge railways construction, power, and other infrastructural developments, with the main aim of attracting foreign direct investments, have not and are not translating into economic wellbeing of the masses. The machinery and technologies used in these infrastructural projects, is foreign imported, very few Africans are employed in these projects, and a big percentage of this borrowed billions, is often swindled through syndicated corruption, involving African leaders and their thieving cronies.

There is no ground-breaking inventions, innovations, and technologies, being generated by Africa’s academic institutions, meant for spurring Africa’s industrial development. All the industries in Africa, are majorly powered by imported technologies. Why is this so and yet we have science, technology, and inter-disciplinary faculties in our universities?

Research is now a major growth and development accelerator of leading world economies. All the ground-breaking technologies that translates into economic well-being of the citizens are attained, through heavily investing in research. Is research financing a priority to African countries? How much does each country apportion to research each financial year? Can that research financing amount enable each country to produce ground- breaking technologies to leapfrog its forward in meeting the needs its citizens?

All over the continent, youth unemployment is on rise, and so is endemic corruption, both of which are deleterious economic bombs, that have been and are set, to continue exploding causing political unrest and destabilizing Africa growth agendas. What has happened and is happening in Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, DRC, Kenya, Ethiopia, Togo, among others is largely a governance question.

Almost all African leaders are pursuing two personal egoistic agendas: personal/family wealth accumulation, and creating a sort of political system/dynasty that provides for continued enjoyment of ill-gotten wealth even when not in power. Creating societal wealth is not their main agenda.

In sum, Africa rising narrative, will only become a reality, when the continent get visionary and transformative leaders, whose main agenda, is to trigger accumulation of an all- inclusive societal wealth. Today’s Africa rising narrative that is mainly advanced basing on GDP growth figures, is largely deceptive, as reality on the ground shows that it is fundamentally exclusive of majority of continental citizens.

*Moses Hategeka, is Ugandan based Independent Governance Researcher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer.Email: moseswiseman2000@gmail.com

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Rwanda’s progress on data privacy gets in spotlight
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo

Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda's major conferences' venue which is set to host GSMA Mobile 360 Africa from July 16-18, 2019. Photo net

Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda’s major conferences’ venue which is set to host GSMA Mobile 360 Africa from July 16-18, 2019. Photo net

Rwanda has taken a leadership role in East Africa and continent-wide in promoting the Smart Africa Strategic Vision and adopting its own Smart Rwanda strategy, reports GSMA as Africa Data Protection and Privacy Conference gets underway in Ghana.

GSMA, the global mobile operators’ representative, has, however, recommended Rwanda to seize the opportunities arising from digital transformation by establishing a comprehensive approach to data privacy that is not subsumed within an ICT Law, but applies generally regardless of sector or technology.

To support countries and other stakeholders move forward as they consider Data Protection and Privacy, the GSMA released its new ‘Guiding Principles for Smart Data Privacy Laws’ at the conference running from June 24-27 in Ghana.

“Establishing the right approach to data privacy is critical to Rwanda’s digital transformation,” said Jean-Francois Le Bihan, the GSMA Public Policy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.

“To be successful, Rwanda must protect individuals while allowing organisations the freedom to innovate and secure positive outcomes for society. Data privacy laws should put the responsibility on organisations to identify and mitigate risks while remaining flexible, technology- and sector-neutral and allowing data to move across borders easily.”

Le Bihan added that without adhering to these guiding principles, poor data privacy enforcement could put at risk the US$ 214 billion mobile economy that Africa has the potential to reach by 2020.

“Rwanda has the opportunity to harness the digital economy as a driver of growth and innovation. If it fails to seize the opportunities, it runs the risk of economic isolation and stagnation,” he cautioned.

More than 1000 experts from around the world, including Rwanda, are gathering in Ghana this week to address data privacy challenges.  Participants include national authorities from African countries, policy makers, data protection officers and data protection and privacy experts.

GSMA reports that Africa has great potential to profit from a digital transformation that could provide jobs and improve access to quality services including finance, healthcare, education and agriculture.

“Home to the youngest population in the world, Africa is progressing rapidly in digital adoption. Underpinned by rising mobile connectivity, the continent has recorded the highest growth globally in internet access, moving from 2.1% in 2005 to 24.4% in 2018,” reads GSMA statement.

According to the GSMA, mobile economy is forecasted to reach 7.9% (US$ 150 billion) of the overall Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP by 2022, up from 7.1% (US$ 110 billion) in 2017.

“The right approach to data privacy will be critical to building trust in new technologies and systems, but there is a need to accelerate the progress being made,” reads the statement.

Countries across Africa are at varying points on the journey towards enacting Data Protection and Privacy laws, with less than 15 out of 54 African countries having passed a Data Protection Law.

From July 16-18, Rwanda will host GSMA Mobile 360 –Africa, the largest GSMA-run event in Africa, to discuss the rise of the digital citizen and showcase how mobile is creating a better future for African citizens.

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ZIMCODD bemoans policy inconstistencies on Zim currency
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) says that it bemoans the apparent policy inconsistency and premature knee jerk reaction in the recent banning of the US$ in Zimbabwe.

 ZIMCODD says that on 24 June 2019, the government abolished the 10-year-old multi-currency regime in the country making the Zimbabwe dollar the sole legal tender.

“The Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) bemoans the apparent policy inconsistency and premature knee jerk reaction. The need for a local sovereign currency is not disputed, however the government acted against stakeholder expectations of conducting wider consultations with the citizens of Zimbabwe who are the most affected by the abrupt policy pronouncement in line with section 13 (2) of the Constitution which requires Government to involve the people in the formulation and implementation of development plans and programmes that affect them and ensuring that key fundamentals are in place before the introduction of the sovereign currency,” ZIMCODD said.

While the adoption of a local currency is one of the several steps that have to be taken in achieving economic recovery, ZIMCODD says that there is need to address the root causes of the current currency crisis which are rampant corruption, mismanagement of public finances and impunity being enjoyed by those that are fuelling the crisis through arbitrage and resource haemorrhage.

“The untimely adoption of the Zim Dollar will only make the general populace who are the workers both in the formal and informal sector suffer more from the market reactions to SI 142/2019,” ZIMCODD said.

ZIMCODD said that under  the absence of key fundamentals such as productivity,high levels of capacity utilization, healthy capital account, addressing confidence deficit and trade surplus,

ZIMCODD says that it is concerned about the inevitable manifestation of the following implications such as challenges for companies and retailers to restock saying that the sudden policy pronouncement is likely to affect companies (including retailers of basic commodities) whose current inventory was acquired in US$ currency. The ripple effect of this implication might lead to empty shelves pushing prices upwards and massive job cuts as companies try to manage their operating costs.

On measures announced include the intended sterilisation of $1.2 billion in RTGS funds. ZIMCODD says that it is seriously concerned that sterilisation will result in additional debt for the country and worse still in foreign currency. The RTGS$ Debt to GDP ratio will thus go above 100%, which means our capacity to service the debt will be significantly low. Given the high leverage, the ability to attract lines of credit will equally be low. This is the second time government assumed private sector debt under 10 years. Payable interest on the due amounts will further burden the fiscus and if fundamentals do not improve at a quicker rate, may result in further fiscal misalignment.

They say that banning of foreign currencies will further push back the trade in foreign currencies into the black market. They say increased scarcity of foreign currencies will only make them more valuable in the market. The comparison of good money and bad money remains unaddressed – and the Gresham’s law maintains that “bad money drives away good money” posing a real threat of persistent cash crisis.

 On selective application of the law in payable taxes they say that certain taxes will be payable in foreign currency particularly customs duty and value added tax on imported luxury goods. This is seen as punitive for citizens particularly because political elites enjoy exemption from these import duties.

ZIMCODD says that inclusive and consultative policy formulation remains key for public buy-in and confidence building.

“Off the cuff inconsistent policies will not proffer sustainable solutions to the economic challenges bedeviling Zimbabwe. Predecessor policy prescriptions have consistently failed due to confidence and trust deficit between citizens and duty bearers,” ZIMCODD said.

ZIMCODD says it calls upon duty bearers to place high consideration for cushioning the poor, the marginalised and the vulnerable people groups in public policy pla

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Safaricom, Tusker named among the most admired brands in Africa
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma|@journalist_27

Brand Leadership and GeoPoll listed Safaricom and Tusker among the top brands in Africa among others such as Magnate, Coca Cola, Samsung, Airtel, Apple, Toyota, Guinness, Nike and Colgate.

Safaricom and Tusker also appeared in the list of 5 most Kenyan homegrown brands in the country. The dominant mobile operator topped the list followed by Tusker, Kenya Airways, Citizen Television and Bidco Cooking Oil Company.

Four locals firms emerged in the top 25 brands in Africa admired by the continent’s consumers same has Nigeria. Ethiopia had three firms, Zambia two while South Africa dominated with six according to the report.

Top products in East Africa are Nike, Adidas, Coca Cola, Puma of Germany, Samsung, Apparel, Techno, Apple, Airtel and Pepsi.

South African region produced 40 per cent of local firms liked by consumers in Africa, East Africa 32 per cent followed by West Africa at 28 per cent.

The top three most loved products in Africa are MTN of South Africa, Anbessa (shoe manufacturing company) of Ethiopia and Dangote of Nigeria.

The report further revealed that consumers prefer non-African brands since Africa is not in the forefront of creating new brands.

“One of the biggest challenges facing Africa is transforming its vibrant entrepreneurial energy and environment to create competitive brands that meet the needs of its growing consumer market,” reiterated Brand Leadership Chairman Thebe Ikalafeng.

Brand Africa uses a comprehensive survey of a sample of respondents 18 years older and above in 25 countries while GeoPoll employ the use of mobile phone survey platform to access the most visible brands in Africa.

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Malema Bashes Oprah Winfrey; Berates Ramaphosa for Soft Stance on Land Issue
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Malema

Malema

Outspoken South African opposition figure Julius Malema in a State of the Nation (SONA) Debate took aim at Oprah Winfrey for supporting South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Malema took to the podium in the South African Parliament as the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the third largest political party in the country reacting to the president’s State of the Nation address. In his speech, Malema said that there was nothing worth celebrating from what had been delivered by the president. Rather, he said SONA demonstrated how Ramaphosa was reneging from his election promises as well as the ruling party African National Congress (ANC)’s 2018 national conference resolutions.

By reneging from his election promises, Malema said that the president was distancing himself from his supporters and that those who voted for him were now beginning to realize the ‘folly of their ways’. “If anything, those who voted for you are now regretting it, because they wasted their vote on a president without a plan. You have no plan to systematically address poverty, landlessness and unemployment,” Malema said.

Malema went further stating “We urge you (Ramaphosa) to recall that (ANC) conference resolutions are binding. Even Mandela recognized these as a mandate which must be implemented.” In reference to the above statement, political analysts said Malema was specifically talking about the land expropriation without compensation issue.

At the last ANC Conference, the party resolved to adopt and expedite the land expropriation without compensation policy. This resolution was welcomed by Malema and his EFF political party. For so long, EFF viewed the land expropriation without compensation policy as the perfect policy to address poverty, landlessness and unemployment among South Africans especially black South Africans. With the ANC resolving to adopt the policy, the EFF had erstwhile found allies to work with in expediting the policy. However, soon after his inauguration as the country’s president, Ramaphosa has shown a reluctance to move forward and implement the land expropriation without compensation policy. This has since angered Malema and the EFF.

From Malema’s speech, it’s evident that Malema’s anger at Ramaphosa is not directed at him alone but even those who sympathize and like him. This evidenced by the fact that Malema found time to hit out at Oprah Winfrey for supporting Cyril Ramaphosa.

At the end of last year, South Africa hosted the Global Citizen Festival in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, the first black president in South Africa. Oprah Winfrey was invited to the Festival and given the honour to introduce Cyril Ramaphosa. In her introductory remarks, Oprah introduced Ramaphosa as Mandela’s “hand-picked successor.”

Oprah’s introductory remarks at the Festival certainly did not go down well with Malema who in his speech stated, “We were abused here during the election campaign that saw people like Oprah Winfrey rented and sneaked into the country in the name of the Global Citizen Festival, to tell us how Madiba wanted you to be President. We now ask ourselves: “What did Madiba see in you that we can’t?”

Malema also took the opportunity to threaten Ramaphosa with impeachment stating “We don’t want to do this now, but if you carry on as a constitutional delinquent, we will impeach you. You must take full responsibility for your mistakes and tell us the steps you will take. We don’t see anyone who can replace you in this party, and that is a disaster…Now help South Africa by taking it into your confidence. You’re human, you’ve made a mistake, you must confess. Don’t be the most honest dishonest person since the man who came before you (Jacob Zuma). We want an honest president.”

The above was in relation to the Bosasa-gate. Bosasa is a firm found guilty of engaging in corrupt practices. News broke out during the election campaign late last year that Bosasa had ‘donated’ R500 000 to the Ramaphosa campaign. Ramaphosa denied the allegations at the time but it has since been proven to be true.

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Zim lecturer suspended for denigrating Mnangagwa
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Amos Dauzeni

Amos Dauzeni

Zimbabwean  authorities have suspended a college lecturer from
employment after he allegedly denigrated President Emmerson Mnangagwa
by accusing the ZANU PF party leader and his government of paying poor
salaries to civil servants, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Authorities at Harare Polytechnic College recently served Amos
Dauzeni, a lecturer at the college’s Hospitality Department with a
suspension letter barring him from reporting for duty after he was
accused of misconduct.

According to the misconduct charge sheet, Dauzeni was accused of
unbecoming behaviour or indecorous behaviour in breach of section
44(2)(a) of the Public Service Regulations after he allegedly
denigrated President Mnangagwa during a conversation which he held
with a soldier in a bar in central Harare.

During the conversation with Simbarashe Muti, a member of the Zimbabwe
National Army, Dauzeni allegedly shouted that President Mnangagwa had
mismanaged the country’s economy resulting in the payment of poor
salaries to government workers.

College authorities charged that during the altercation with Muti, who
filed a complaint with the institution protesting against Dauzeni’s
conduct, the lecturer reportedly went on to produce a copy of his pay
slip, which shows that he earns $465 RTGS and threw it on the floor in
front of the soldier and uttered the words “Take this piece of paper
and give it to Mnangagwa.”

When Muti told him that he could not do as advised, Dauzeni reportedly
scolded him for being President Mnangagwa’s lapdog together with other
members of the ZNA.

The college authorities charged that Dauzeni had behaved in a manner
unbefitting of a public civil servant. During his three months
suspension period, Dauzeni will not be entitled to his salary and
allowances and will not be allowed to leave Zimbabwe without the
approval of the college authorities.

Dauzeni, who was given two weeks by college authorities to respond to
the misconduct charges and is represented by Tinomuda Shoko of
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), is the latest person to be
persecuted for allegedly insulting President Mnangagwa.

According to ZLHR, more than 10 people have been prosecuted or
persecuted since December 2017 for allegedly undermining or insulting
authority of President Mnangagwa.

During the country’s former leader Robert Mugabe’s reign, more than
200 people were charged with criticising the deposed nonagenarian
leader including opposition party supporters, human rights activists
and ordinary citizens.

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Pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom birthes afriQloud solution
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom, in partnership with science and technology investor, Imprimatur Capital, and European edge cloud software company, GIG Technology, have together birthed what is to provide the African technology industry with cloud sovereignty – afriQloud.

launched in Uganda, afriQloud will provide, at internationally competitive rates, local and foreign customers with an innovative and secure distributed edge cloud service.

Hans van Linschoten, founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud “We see significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year, and we’re excited to bring this service to the continent. By the end of 2019 we will complement the few developed markets clouds with a powerful and local distributed cloud in at least 15 countries. This ensures data sovereignty for institutions and governments within Africa’s shores.”

Most of Africa’s content on the internet is currently hosted on servers outside the continent. Implementation of edge cloud computing services in Africa has been adversely affected by lack of reliable and secure connectivity from various service providers. The cost of setting up ICT infrastructure with improved data latency and minimized downtime has also contributed to the slow adoption of cloud solution across the continent.

Mark Simmonds, Chairman of GIG Technology: ”Although cloud adoption is predominantly private, the African markets are generating a growth of 30% in public cloud sales. Few other ICT market segments in the African tech ecosystem have the potential of adding an incremental $2 billion in top line revenue over the next 5 years.”

Fabrice Langreney, CEO of BringCom: “Opening up of the global market will require African companies and organizations to be equally competitive in deployment of e-solutions, scalability, secure data accessibility and connectivity in line with international standards.”

afriQloud is also building bridges to the African incubators and tech hubs. More than 440 tech hubs are available today and more funding is being raised by tech startups across the African continent. The aim of afriQloud is to have the Edge Cloud installed in cities and tech hub ecosystems which hosts a high number of startups and developers. Now present and operational in Uganda, afriQloud will be spreading its services further into the different regions of Africa this year.

Willem Hendrickx, CEO of GIG Technology: “We believe in partnerships and the creation of local economy using our cloud technology. Having assessed the cloud readiness of different African markets, we are thrilled to launch in Kampala.”

Hans van Linschoten: “We have hit the ground and we intend to keep up the pace. This service in Africa is long overdue. In a few months, we will expand our service in East Africa – Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia will be afriQloud active very soon. We are working through channels in Southern Africa as well – Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique are our next target markets. And of course the West African region is good and ripe for the plucking. Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon – we’ll be present in all these countries this year! We’re very much looking forward to working with tech startups, MNOs, ISPs, government institutions, banks and financial institutions, universities – there is much to be done, and the time to begin is now.”

afriQloud is a partnership of several selected hi-tech companies (mainly telco and Internet) with the aim of bringing their technology to emerging markets, Africa in particular. afriQloud has incorporated a subsidiary in Uganda – afriQloud Uganda Limited – from where it has started to build a business which is to expand throughout a minimum of 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

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Nine Eastern and Southern African Countries Commit to Increase National Budgets In Nutrition..
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Kudakwashe Zombe

Kudakwashe Zombe

Zimbabwe has been encouraged and pushed forward to increase its National Budget on Nutrition from 0, 45% to 3%. An Expert in Nutrition Kudakwashe Zombe of ZCSOSUNA speaking in Harare highlighted the need to consider Nutrition Health as the only way-forward to eradicate or eliminate stunting.

‘’Zimbabwe must increase its Nutrition Budget from 0, 45% to 3% in order to make Nutrition sustainable. The country is among the nine Eastern and Southern African countries expected to increase their budget in nutrition. This must be done so as to end acute malnutrition and stunting.

‘’The country needs more US$35,5 million i to scale-up nutrition in the country . The Government must then commit to provide USD$3, 04 million towards these programs.  This was the 2013 to 2015 figure of which by now because of bad season the figures has gone higher.’’

‘’This must also follow suit of all other countries impacted by malnutrition in developing countries. There could be increase in Economic growth and development to those countries geared towards success to Nutrition Investments.  This eradicates diseases, extreme and absolute poverty in Africa.’’

He stressed the universal point that the country on 8 June 2013 joined World Leaders including scaling up Nutrition countries which signed a Global Compact aimed at preventing 20 million from stunting. It was signed also to save at least 1,7 million lives by 2020 .

The Global Nutrition for Growth Compact was endorsed by 90 countries, development partners, business scientific and civil society groups. The Compact was endorsed for the sake of improving Nutrition of 500 million pregnant women and young children.

It was created for the sake of reducing the number of 500 million pregnant women and young children. It was meant to save the lives of at least 1,7 million children by preventing stunting , increasing breastfeeding and improving treatment of severe acute malnutrition .

‘’At the Summit Governments of 14 countries pledged to increase resources towards Nutrition improvements .13 countries set national stunting reduction targets that meets or exceed World Health Organisation Goals for 2025 . There were US$4,15 billion financial commitments to end hunger’’ .

‘’Zimbabwe has made commitments to food and nutrition security so as to end stunting and diseases related to malnutrition like kwashiorkor , marasmus and rickets in  children below 5 years . It is there-fore important to focus on the 1st 1000 days. We commit to reduce stunting by 40% by 2025’’, says the Nutritionist.

The  9 countries coming up with interventions in Nutrition in the Eastern and Southern African Region are Zimbabwe , Zambia , Tanzania , South Africa , South Sudan , Rwanda , Mozambique , Malawi , Madagascar and Kenya . In Zimbabwe , ZCSOSUNA [Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations Scaling Up Nutrition Association] is the main organisation working on scaling-up Nutrition .

 

 

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For alleged human rights violation in Anglophone regions, US Senate moves to halt all security assistance to Cameroon
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

“Biya has a long history of jailing journalists and lacks respect for human rights”; Senator Dick Durbin (photo: Borgenmagazine)

“Biya has a long history of jailing journalists and lacks respect for human rights”; Senator Dick Durbin (photo: Borgenmagazine)

The United States Senate has amended its National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA for the year 2020 stripping Cameroon off all security assistance until further notice.

The amendment halting security assistance to Cameroon to kickoff next year was introduced June 25, 2019, by four US senators who insist the “US can’t be accomplices to actions that are used to commit gross violations of internationally recognized human rights”.

The amendment to the Defense Act will “halt all further U.S. security assistance to Cameroon, except for dealing with Boko Haram” until the “U.S. Secretaries of Defense and State certify military and security forces of Cameroon have demonstrated progress in abiding by international human rights standards, particularly in regards to repression in Anglophone parts of the country,” a release after the amendment of the act sent to our newsroom read.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (Democrat- Illinois), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) introduced the amendments referencing decades of marginalization of the country’s Anglophone population which has now metamorphosed to simmering tensions and government repression.

“Earlier this month at Chicago’s Kovler Center, I heard devastating stories firsthand from refugees who fled mounting political violence in Cameroon.  And President Biya’s long history of jailing journalists and lack of respect for human rights do not bode well for peacefully addressing the country’s colonial-era divisions,” Durbin said.

“That is why I introduced an amendment to the FY2020 NDAA with Senators Cardin, Van Hollen, and Kaine that stops all further U.S. security assistance to Cameroon, except for dealing with Boko Haram, until the Secretaries of Defense and State can certify that such violent repression has come to a halt.”

The senator who has always weighed in on the situation in Cameroon said he had on Monday informed Cameroonian Ambassador to the US Henri Étoundi Essomba that the “U.S. stands ready to help when a peaceful path forward is advanced.”

 

Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland reiterates that “America’s strength is in our values. We can no longer remain complicit in actions that are used to commit gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. American military assistance can no longer prop up Cameroon’s military and security forces who are attacking innocent civilians.”

Maintaining that Cameroon remains an important partner in combatting Boko Haram, he clarified that the amendment will not interfere with those efforts.

Describing the violence against the people of Cameroon as “unacceptable”, he also condemned the attacks on educational establishments by separatist fighters.

“Schools are closed and armed groups are attacking civilians and especially refugees. The health system is breaking down. The government must make substantial changes that benefit the safety and well-being of the people of Cameroon.”

In December 2018, Durbin, Van Hollen, Cardin, and Kaine joined several other Democratic Senators in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging greater U.S. attention to mounting violence in Cameroon.

Information filtering from the US Department of State indicates that the United States is dedicated to ensuring a return of peace and normalcy in Cameroon’s Anglophone region.

Though Cameroon remains a strategic partner of the US especially in its fights against terrorism in West Africa, top officials who spoke off the record say all options are on the table to bring an end to the crisis should the regime of President Paul Biya fail to respond find a solution out of the countries simmering conflict.

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In AGOA Forum Cote d’Ivoire Seeks To Cement Role As Regional Economic Hub
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Cote d'Ivoire has experienced tremendous progress in the last ten years says Ambassador Haidara Mamadou. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Cote d’Ivoire has experienced tremendous progress in the last ten years says Ambassador Haidara Mamadou. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Delegates and visitors to Cote d’Ivoire for the AGOA Forum will be pleasantly surprised at the progress his country has made under President Ouattara says Ambassador Haidara Mamadou. Speaking in an interview with Pan African Visions, the Ivorian Ambassador to Washington DC said there was a general air of excitement and positive energy in his country in the build up to the AGOA Forum coming up soon.

In addition to the vast tourism potentials of his country, Ambassador Haidara touted the enormous opportunities opened to investors. Located at the heart of West Africa, with easy access to neighboring countries, Ambassador Haidara said, the positive economic indicators, infrastructure, enormous potentials are an open invitation for investors to consider Cote d’Ivoire as a priority destination.

 Pan African Visions: Ambassador Haidara Mamadou good afternoon sir and thank you for receiving us at the Ivory Coast Embassy.

Ambassador Haidara: Good afternoon and you are welcome.

Pan African Visions: First, we would like to start by getting the developments in your country, Cote d’Ivoire. How is the country doing economically, politically and socially?

Ambassador Haidara: I will say the country is doing well. Economically, you know the president elected in 2010, has instituted an economic policy that is working well. Since then we have been experiencing growth and this is an indicator of the country. If we want to appreciate the economy, we have to take the growth rate which  is around 8 or 9 per cent. One can say growth rate is in the average of 7 per cent per year for the past eight years. It is a tremendous achievement for the country because we are in the top five of growth rate worldwide. This has been consistent and stable.

Socially, the President has put a lot in improving our social environment as more than one hundred schools have been built, 200 high schools built by the state, infrastructure, healthcare has been taken care of, roads and port development has all been taken care of under this new economic era. This is why some people are trying to tag it as the second miracle of Ivory Coast. The government is also taking care of some disparities, cost of living. From this indicator of growth, we did not experience any inflation; the rate of inflation in Cote d’Ivoire has been around 1 per cent per year. This means that we are handling the pricing and the cost of living well, and it has been stable, and affordable for people.

Politically I think the different political parties are doing their own businesses. I think there is a long way to go with reconciliation, but we are very optimistic about the direction of the country.

 Cote d'Ivoire  has undergone an economic miracle under President Ouattara, says Ambassador Haidara pictured here with Ajong Mbapndah L of PAV. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Cote d’Ivoire has undergone an economic miracle under President Ouattara, says Ambassador Haidara pictured here with Ajong Mbapndah L of PAV. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Pan African Visions: Currently, the country is led by Alassane Ouattara, how has he fared as president; if you were to cite some of the achievements he has recorded, what will some of them be?

Ambassador Haidara: I think there are a lot of achievements that one can talk about. In terms of infrastructure, I can say Cote d’Ivoire is one of the most powerful energy producers of the continent, and we are efficient in energy in terms of power. We supply energy to Ghana, Togo, Mali, Nigeria and we are helping these surrounding countries with our surplus. This is one of the biggest achievements.

For roads, we have been putting almost 600 km in terms of new paved roads, 2000 roads have been rehabilitated and this programme is going on and people are surprised how the infrastructure network has been developed.

Investment has been done in the domain of education. Each major district of Ivory Coast now has a state university. From 5 state universities we are now heading to 10 state universities. It is a big achievement. Also in terms of health, each major district also has a major health infrastructure. These, and many others are some of the big achievements of the country with the president.

U.S presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump (R) unveiled financial aid for woman cocoa farmers ahead of a recent West African summit on women entrepreneurs in Ivory Coast. AFP ISSOUF SANOGO

U.S presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump (R) unveiled financial aid for woman cocoa farmers ahead of a recent West African summit on women entrepreneurs in Ivory Coast. AFP ISSOUF SANOGO

Pan African Visions: You have been Ambassador to Washington for a while now, how will you describe the state of relations between Ivory Coast and United States?

Ambassador Haidara: Not for a while, I was appointed in March 2018 for almost one year now. From that point to now, I can say we have been experiencing a very good bilateral relationship. First of all, we began by signing an MoU with the U.S. Under this MoU, Ivory Coast has put on the table of U.S investors a four billion dollars project that the U.S investors are very excited about this offer and they are doing their best to take advantage of this offer. It was signed by our Minister of foreign affairs and secretary of commerce of the USA in December 2018. We have been beneficiary of the MCC; almost 524.7 million dollars have been granted to Ivory Coast to recognize its big political, social and economic achievements. MCC is not granted but come like an award to recognize your achievement.

We have also a good political relationship with the U.S. we are working together on the Security council; as we are one of the non-permanent members of the security council. We are very happy about the state of our relationship with the U.S.

Pan African Visions: As you rightly pointed out, the AGOA forum is coming up in Ivory Coast. What does this event mean for your country and how is Ivory Coast preparing for the forum?

Ambassador Haidara: This event means a lot for our country because this is an opportunity for our country to introduce itself to the world. This is because in the AGOA forum you have many African countries coming to Ivory Coast, and you have the leading country in the world, USA also coming. Ivory Coast will highlight its achievements, and it is a also big opportunity for Ivory Coast to promote itself as a big destination for tourism, economy, social matters and others. We are going to take advantage of this to attract more visitors, tourists and investments.

Pan African Visions: Talking about preparations, what is the mood like in Ivory Coast? Are the people very excited about this and if you have to give a word to the people who will be coming to Ivory Coast for the first time, what should they expect?

Ambassador Haidara: They will be very surprised, and I cannot have enough words to talk about what have been done so far. I put some figures in terms of economic indicators. They will see for themselves what has been done in terms of infrastructure, social matters, and political matters. Being far from the country you can hear of different things but being on the ground is a different thing. I had a chance to talk to some investors and what I noticed is that all of them were surprised of what has been achieved. This is a country doing its way and Africa can be proud if you have good governance. It’s is a matter of leadership; responsibility and a lot will be done. This country has come a long way. 10 years ago, everything was almost lost. Coming from that point and what has been achieved in a short time, any African country would be proud of what has been done.

Ambassador Haidara presenting his credentials to President Donald Trump.Relations between Cote d'Ivoire and the US are in good shape.

Ambassador Haidara presenting his credentials to President Donald Trump.Relations between Cote d’Ivoire and the US are in good shape.

Pan African Visions: Let’s talk a little now about investment opportunities in your country. What are some of the exciting sectors that you think investors should take a look at?

Ambassador Haidara: Agriculture is very important. We are a big agribusiness country. We are a big producer and first producer of cocoa beans in the world and we produce almost four per cent of the world supply of cocoa beans. We produce around two million tons, while Ghana is produces one million tons. We are the first producer of the world in cash nuts. We produce more than 750 000 tons per year. 5 to 10 years ago, we were producing almost 100, 000 tons. There are opportunities for investors to come and take advantage of the availability of the processing of the products. In cocoa we are only processing 30 per cent of our output; we need to process more as there are rooms to improve the processing. In cashew, we are only processing 10 per cent of this output. There is room also in terms of investment. There are lots of things that can be done in Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast wants to be a major player in the world. We have a goal to become an emerging country by 2020 and we are one year from there now. The need for investment is huge and there is also room for investment in terms of infrastructure. Investors do not need to be afraid because our debt to growth ratio is one of the lowest in the continent. We are only 47 per cent of debt to GDP. That’s a very a good figure. In the U.S, they are more than a hundred per cent of debt to ratio.

Pan African Visions: When we talk about investment in Africa, there are a number of complaints we hear from investors. We hear about corruption, administrative bottleneck, insecurity, infrastructure problems and many others. So how is the investment climate like in Ivory Coast?

Ambassador Haidara: We have been tagged to be one of the top 10 reformers of investment climate for two or three previous years now. That’s a lot as work has been done to improve the investment climate. There is no perfect investment climate as you have to work and we are working on it. I think the investors are very comfortable with the investment climate. Good policies attract investors to come to your country and I think we have been lucky to have that.

Pan African Visions: Before Mr. Ouattara became president, he had this image of a good financial reformer with his background in the IMF, how much of credit does he get for the development that has taken place in Ivory Coast in the last ten years?

Ambassador Haidara: I have had a chance to be at the place he came from such as the IMF and the World Bank and they are very respectful of his achievements. I think there was a very big expectation for him to deliver and I think he did that and they way we have had investment opportunities and support from these institutions means a lot. Working with these institutions is an indicator that means you are running your country well. It is not like you have a good relationship or personal relationship with them but it is a matter of judgment of your economic health. That’s important and I think they (World Bank and IMF) are very proud of him and we too are proud of what he has been doing.

Pan African Visions:  Ambassador Haidara thank you very much and as we wrap up this interview, can you make a last speech to investors. Why should they pick Ivory Coast as their investment destination?

Ambassador Haidara: I think Ivory Coast is a hub; the investment climate is very good. The asset of Ivory is located in the regions and Ivory Coast belongs to an economic zone such as WAEMU, ECOWAS. In ECOWAS, Ivory Coast is a leading country in terms of economic structure. So it is easy to do business with Ivory Coast, and it is easy to move in and out to all the surrounding countries. It means you have access to other markets. From Ivory Coast you can have a 2-hour flight to Nigeria, 45 minutes to Ghana, 2 hours to Senegal and 1 hour to Mali. It is easy for investors to come to Ivory Coast and take advantage of the investment climate, take advantage of the good infrastructure, and the good living conditions. It is also an opportunity to expand your business from Ivory Coast to other countries; we are talking about more than 100 million inhabitants in the WAEMU, and 300 million for ECOWAS market. We want to invite the investors to come and see for themselves and especially during the AGOA forum.

Pan African Visions: Ambassador Haidara, thanks for granting this interview.

Ambassador Haidara: Thank you. Merci

*Interview Published in June Issue of PAV Magazine.

 

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS ANNOUNCES SUMMER SAVINGS TO SOUTH AFRICA STARTING FROM $1499* ROUNDTRIP
June 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

Fort Lauderdale, FL (June 24, 2019) –For travelers still waiting to make their summer vacations plans, South African Airways (SAA) announces the perfect getaway with special low faresto South Africa starting from $1499* roundtrip. SAA’s Summer Savings to Africa fares are offered from New York-JFK International Airport to Johannesburg, starting from $1499* roundtrip (restrictions apply) and to Cape Town from $1579* roundtrip (restrictions apply). This sale is offered for a limited time only and tickets must be purchased by July 17, 2019 for travel commencing on or before August 10, 2019.

“Our Summer Savings to South Africa sale offer you the perfect opportunity to visit two inspiring destinations in South Africa, Johannesburg and Cape Town, each presenting a flavor and charm of their own, but always dynamic, welcoming and exhilarating.” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America, for South African Airways. He added, “Our special fares coupled with the extremely favorable exchange rate for the U.S. dollar make this summer the perfect season to explore South Africa.”

South African Airways is one of Africa’s most awarded airlines, having been honored with a 4-star rating for 17 consecutive years by Skytrax. With the most daily flights from the U.S. to South Africa, South African Airways offers nonstop service from New York-JFK Airport and direct service from Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to Johannesburg via Accra, Ghana or Dakar, Senegal. Onboard, SAA offers an in-flight experience that reflects the warmth of Africa and designed for pure comfort for long-haul travel. Travelers enjoy a spacious Economy Class cabin, a delicious choice of meals, a wide selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines, and generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive programming menu of newly released movies, music choices, and games. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75 destinations across the African continent and Africa’s Indian Ocean islands.

To book these sale fares or for additional information, travelers should visit www.flysaa.com, call SAA Reservations at 1-(800) 722-9675 or contact their professional travel advisor. As one of the leading airlines in Africa, SAA also offers low fares from the U.S. and Canada to a variety of other exciting and experiential destinations throughout continent.

About South African Airways
South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 17 consecutive years.

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