Cameroon:Significant Course Of Correction Needed To Avoid State Collapse-Dr Chris Fomunyoh
November 19, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
The president of The Fomunyoh Foundation (TFF), Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh has expressed concerns over the process and outcome of the recent presidential elections in Cameroon. In a strongly worded statement issued today, Dr Fomunyoh, a highly respected expert on democracy and electoral matters in Africa said, while the efforts of the citizens and candidates were commendable, it was regrettable that their hopes for genuine democracy and meaningful change through the ballot box did not materialize, putting the legitimacy of the presidential election in question.
In a previous statement released in July, Fomunyoh had shared concerns on the political and security environment in the country, and categorically stated that the country was ill-prepared for the poll. He had also said the handling of the whole electoral process had left many Cameroonian wondering about the impact of these polls and the future of democracy in the country. This included concerns about the inability to conduct elections in the Anglophone regions of the North West, and South West; the lack of transparency in the tabulation and transmission of election results nationally; the contentious litigation of electoral disputes, and lack of unanimous acceptance of results.
He lamented that the killings in the Anglophone regions continue unabated, and every additional loss of life deepens the pain and suffering and further undermines prospects for national reconciliation. He added that the legitimacy of the presidential election outcome is contested by the main opposition candidate and many Cameroonians.
“Cameroon is more divided, more polarized, more fragile and more insecure than ever before in its modern history. Despite the legal trappings of today’s government, its legitimacy is seriously questioned by millions of our fellow compatriots and friends of Cameroon across the world. The credibility of many of our key institutions, including the newly established Constitutional Council, is at stake. Force, physical violence, hate speech, and ethnic stigmatization have become instruments of choice in public discourse and impact negatively interactions between state authorities and civilian populations,” Fomunyoh said
He however, demanded a significant course of correction to avoid more violence, further disintegration, and eventual state collapse. He concluded his statement by the submission of a ten point recommendations saying,
On Peace and Security: We need a holistic, comprehensive approach to stop the killings.
1) Release all political prisoners and detainees not charged with violent crimes and held solely because of the Anglophone crisis, and create an enabling environment for high-level, genuine dialogue to seek long lasting solutions.
2) Order an immediate ceasefire and lift curfews in the North West and South West regions to restore normalcy, enable youth to resume gainful employment, and facilitate the return of hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons and refugees.
3) Stop immediately the killings and destruction of property in Anglophone regions, and all forms of violence against civilians and security personnel.
On Elections: The contested legitimacy of the electoral outcome cannot be ignored.
4) To dissipate the lingering cloud of illegitimacy over the election results, commit an international reputable auditing firm such as Price Waterhouse Cooper or Deloitte & Touche to conduct a technical audit of ELECAM documents related to the October 2018 presidential poll.
5) Make public the findings of such international audit in order to restore confidence in elections and the institutions in charge of electoral administration and oversight.
6) Launch immediately a high level Ad Hoc Committee on reforms to review the Constitution, election laws and other legal instruments, and propose by a set deadline recommendations on major reforms that must be undertaken in all sectors.
7) Assign the chairmanship of the Ad Hoc Reform Committee to an independent, seasoned, and well respected jurist with an in-depth understanding of democratic governance processes.
8) Commit to implementing the reforms as soon as they are enacted, and prior to any further elections at the local, regional or national levels.
9) Under the new electoral framework to emerge from the Ad Hoc Reform Committee, organize early presidential elections that would allow for more transparent and credible polls whose legitimacy will not be questioned.
10) Avoid the manipulation of security and administrative services and pull back the country from the negative spiral of hate speech, ethnic stigmatization, violence and harassment of independent professionals, notably journalists, lawyers and teachers, who are pillars of every democratic society.
“I call on the government to take concrete measures to regain peace, rebuild the country’s reputation and restore the dignity of Cameroonians. This requires extraordinary steps, including those listed above, to address head-on the multiple crises we confront at this time,” Fomunyoh concluded his statement.
Fomunyoh who also doubles as Senior Associate and Regional Director for Africa and that Washington DC ,based National Democratic Institute is one of the first high profile opinion leaders to share proposals on the way forward for Cameroon as post-election tensions persist. Though he has resisted calls to run for President himself, many in Cameroon today think that he may be one of those with right pedigree to play a mediating role in federating opinions as the country faces unprecedented crisis.
Elections 2019: factors and projections
November 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Edwin Madunagu*
The most important factor in the coming elections is that Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a powerful chief executive of state, is a candidate. He is seeking re-election into the office of President. That this is not a trivial or idle observation can be seen from a recent historical contrast, namely, that in the 2015 general elections, Goodluck Jonathan, the incumbent President, was not the most important factor in those contests. He was not the most important factor because he was a weak chief executive of state at the time of the contests and in the period of preparations for them.
To steer clear of mystification I propose that to be powerful in the context of our discussion is to be in relatively firm control of one’s political/electoral platform and the critical institutions of state, especially those of “law and order”; it is to be in power and not be afraid or reluctant to deploy it or sluggish in deploying it. The historical contrast we are sketching is that in the period preceding, and during the 2015 general elections President Jonathan had lost control of both his party and the critical institutions of state. You cannot deploy what you do not control. To attempt to do so is taking a grave risk. But in the current corresponding period President Buhari appears to be in firm control of party and state—at least up to the time of writing this essay. And beyond this, he has demonstrated that he is not afraid to deploy the forces under his control.
Another important factor in Election 2019 was the wisdom or sheer luck of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in electing Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate. All the contestants in the party’s presidential primary election were obviously qualified in the context of the existing social order, political culture and dominant morality in Nigeria. But Atiku’s candidacy—judging by his political antecedents—appeared most likely to attract the widest and largest support possible for the party. Again, to demonstrate that this is not an idle, opportunistic, after-the-fact wisdom it will be enough to recall that in the 2015 presidential election, it was widely appreciated that the PDP candidate and incumbent President, Goodluck Jonathan, was not the best the party could offer—given both the dominant political culture and the political conjuncture at the time.
On the contrary, in the 2015 presidential election, the newly-formed All Progressives Congress (APC) put forward its best: General Muhammadu Buhari. We must here, as always, not forget that the dominant, if not the sole consideration of the main ruling-class contestants and their platforms was what to do to win. That remains their dominant or sole consideration in the present contest. And should any reader respond that the need to win has always been the dominant or sole aim of all contestants—Right or Left—in all modern elections, I would so No: The Nigerian Left has never, fortunately or unfortunately, consciously put electoral or non-electoral victory as a realizable political objective. And yet, as an interested researcher would discover, committed leaders and cadres of the Nigerian Left had made huge selfless sacrifices in every general election since independence.
A couple of weeks ago, a Nigerian state governor belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported in several media outlets to have predicted that although Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of his party, would defeat Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the latter would not be a “walk-over” in the contest. I found myself reflecting on this statement which must have been made out of frustration with political colleagues and assistants. In the course of my reflection, I brought out from vacation my concepts of “power blocs” and “political forces” in Nigeria’s contemporary political struggle—which, we must not forget, is completely dominated by the ruling class.
Only a number of reminders or explanatory notes need be summarized and inserted here. One: Nigeria’s power blocs and political forces developed from Nigeria’s ruling class, and are of the ruling class. Two: Political forces are “mini” power blocs which—being historically determined—may or may not develop into full-blown power blocs. Three: Power blocs and political forces are different from, and deeper than political parties. Four: There are only two power blocs in Nigeria, and this has been so since the end of the Civil War (1967-1970). Five: The centre of gravity of one of the power blocs is located in the north of the country while that of the other is located in the south. Six: Only an effective political intervention of the Nigerian Left can begin to dissolve these divisions or render them impotent or irrelevant.
We are not now in a position to see and appreciate what exactly led the state governor to make the statement attributed to him. But starting from that statement we may move in different directions to endorse or dismiss it.
I have chosen to employ the concepts of power blocs and political forces to endorse a revised version of the governor’s statement. That revised version is simply that neither Buhari nor Atiku would be a “push-over” in the coming presidential election. Further broken down, this revised version means that Buhari and Atiku would be the main presidential candidates and that the contest between them would be tough and tight. And the route I would suggest for endorsing that double statement is through an examination of the ongoing contest between Buhari and Atiku in each of the two power blocs and in the main political forces. We remind ourselves again that these power blocs and political forces are ruling class blocs and forces.
Starting from the last couple of months the most important preludes to Elections 2019 can be listed to include political defections, separations, combinations, re-alignments; governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States; enactment of electoral laws; registration of voters, distribution of Permanent Voters’ Cards; compilation of voters’ registers, determination and designation of voting centres; conduct of party primaries to elect candidates; further defections in response to party primaries; maintenance of “law and order” by judicial, armed and unarmed institutions and agents of the state in response to actual breakdowns or in anticipation of breakdowns; and continuous political struggles of different forms and at different levels.
The different forms that the political struggle now assumes and the different levels at which it is waged include intra-party, inter-party, state-civil, intra-state, armed and unarmed, above-ground and underground. Also, to be listed is what is now known as “executive orders” of the president and of the presidency. In all these struggles (waged directly and through “preludes” listed above), money—in immediately usable currencies and in large, very large, volumes—is a primary and powerful weapon, second in overwhelming potency only to state power.
That a party and a candidate can lose an election even with superiority in these two forces—money and state power—proves that there is a limit to what either of them or even a combination of them can be used to do or ordered to do. And that an incumbent government can be effectively challenged in the control and deployment of the two forces is a powerful corollary. Do we need to add that these lessons are more important and useful to the Nigerian Left than to the factions, power blocs and political forces of Nigeria’s ruling class?
*Madunagu, mathematician and journalist, writes from Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria.
US Commits $150 Million In Support To Curb HIV/AIDS By 2030
November 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
PEPFAR, USA AIDS Organization on 16 November celebrated its 15th Anniversary in Harare. This marked its overall success in HIV and AIDS reduction. PEPFAR came up with many vitiated interventions, HIV and AIDS programs, and supported projects. International symposiums which reduced the spread of the virus are annually held in various countries world-wide.
In its country operational plan, the organisation came up with comprehensive HIV and AIDS programs country-wide. Apart from, it strengthened laboratories in hospitals so as to scale up infection control.
The Co-Ordinator of the Program in Zimbabwe, Mark Troger said, PEPFAR since 2006 has donated about US 150 million for HIV and AIDS programs country-wide. This, he added were put in place to bring an end to the scourge.
‘’Since 2006, USA through PEPFAR has supported Zimbabwe to end the epidemic. We however are glad to an extent to celebrate achievements in ending the scourge which killed millions of people world-wide.
‘’Millions of people were affected. In other words, no family has not yet been affected. This reduces family in-come, lastly leading to extreme poverty and hunger. Even up now, millions are living HIV positive with, some without access to ARVs, life sustaining drugs.
‘’We shall continue to work with Zimbabwe and our partners to bring an end to opportunistic infections. One of these is Tuberculosis which is closely related to HIV and AIDS. In other words, we want to move from the targets we set before the 90%, 90 %,90% targets.
‘’Let us move towards 95%, 95%, 95% targets in eliminating HIV completely. Let us strive to have a shared vision to bury HIV and AIDS. As a country, Zimbabwe has done well on Millennium Development Goals like on Goal 6 .
Also it has succeeded in Paediatric HIV care, Prevention of mother to child transmission, Sexual Reproductive Health Rights in young people .The chain achievement is in HIV testing, counselling prevention, treatment, care and support. However, PREVENTION, PREVENTION, PREVENTION is always first’’, he said.
The target is meant to bring an end to HIV and AIDS in the world. This means then that 90% of people get tested and know their status. Secondly, 90% get on treatment and 90% have the virus suppressed in their bodies.
Giving the key note Address, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obediah Moyo said the work done by partners in the fight against HIV and AIDS is relentless work put effort on. Many successes remain vital. However, he added that the need for stronger research and development in Medicines is one area still to focus on.
‘’As we move on, we look at the 100%, 100% , 100% elimination of the virus . We are moving into the future of vision with the mission to reach the destination of an HIV FREE GENERATION. This generation is possible through our consented effort scaling up activities related to the epidemic. Also let us not drop down the effort to work together as on nation,’’ he noted.
The 15th Anniversary launched a media award in HIV and AIDS. The award’s stories will run from this year October 2018 to October 2019.
How Ghana made itself the African home for a return of the black diaspora
November 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
In a recently released music video, Fuse ODG and Damian Marley (Bob Marley’s youngest son) explore the themes of slavery, colonialism, black pride and modern day police brutality. ‘Bra Fie’(which translates from the Ghanaian language Akan as “Come Home”) is an Afrobeats tune that harks back to the pan-Africanist themes of some of the older Marley’s anthemic hits. But it could also be a soundtrack for a potential wave of “homecoming” to Ghana for people of African descent.
August 2019 will make it 400 years since the anchoring of an English ship in Jamestown, Virginia carrying a small group of enslaved Africans. While African slaves had been in other parts of the Americas region (including the United States) before 1619, that year is widely regarded as the commencement of the African slave trade to North America.
When Brazil became the last country to abolish the slave trade in 1888, an estimated 17 million African women and men had been seized from the continent and transported to plantations across the Americas—a conservative figure that UNESCO admits excludes the many who died on the way and were thrown into the high seas. Many of the enslaved Africans came from West Africa and the present-day nation of Ghana was a significant place of origin. To mark the landmark anniversary, Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo in October, declared 2019 as “The Year of Return”, launching a series of programs that would seek to encourage people of African ancestry to make the“birthright journey home for the global African family.” The idea of a homecoming of “our brothers and sisters” who were taken away is one that Ghana has long fancied and championed.
Birth of a Nation
Right from the founding of the modern nation, early Ghanaian leaders led by the first president Kwame Nkrumah preached pan-Africanism, one that transcended the shores of continental Africa. As a student in 1930s and 1940s America, Nkrumah saw at first hand the racism black Americans endured and it radicalized his own consciousness about Africanness and blackness. In some ways, it was a driving force for him to return home in 1947 and eventually become the lead architect of Ghana’s independence—the first sub-Saharan African country to break free from European colonialism.
The civil rights movement in the United States was also at its height and many black American leaders at the time felt a connection to this new black African country that had gained self-determination in a largely peaceful manner. Leading civil rights leaders including Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King, Ralph Bunche (the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950) and Mordecai Johnson (the first African American president of Howard University) attended Ghana’s Independence Day celebration on Mar. 6, 1957.
Nkrumah and Ghana made a huge impression on Martin Luther King, which later inspired one of his famous sermons “Birth of a Nation’upon his return to the US. Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali also made high profile visits to the country years later. The black star on the national flag is inspired by the Black Star Line shipping company founded by pan-Africanist orator Marcus Garvey, which had the grand ambition of facilitating the return of African Americans to the motherland.
Accra has also been home to black American thinkers and exiles such as Maya Angelou (for three years along with her son Guy), Sylvia Boone (the first tenured black woman professor at Yale University), Julian Mayfield, W.E.B Du Bois and George Padmore, all of whom lived and worked in Ghana. Du Bois and Padmore are buried in the city and their homes are now public libraries.
But even before this period, Accra had long been home to the Tabon people, a group of African slaves in Brazil who returned after a popular slave rebellion. The Tabons arrived in Accra in 1820s and 1830s and their descendants have fully assimilated into Ghanaian social and political life.
Positioning Ghana as the home of global Africa and the place for a spiritual journey of self-discovery has been an idea promoted by governments since Nkrumah. The country has been host to the biennale PANAFEST/Emancipation Day celebration since 1992 and in 2001, the Right of Abode law was passed, giving anybody of African ancestry in the Americas, the right to stay in Ghana indefinitely. On the occasion of Ghana’s 50th independence anniversary in 2007, the Joseph Project was launched to also encourage the descendants of enslaved Africans to return. In December 2016, 34 ‘returnees’ became Ghanaians in a naturalization ceremony attended by then president John Mahama. “I have only restored to you what rightfully belongs to you and was painfully taken away,” president Mahama said after handing out the naturalization certificates.
Dr Ọbádélé Kambon was one of the 34 and has lived in Ghana for 10 years. He first came to Ghana for a visit in 1998 with his mother, Dr Mawiyah Kambon who first came to Ghana in 1972 after adopting the Akan traditional spiritual system. “Back in the 1960s, many of us came to understand that we are not white people so why should we have white names? My parents had that level of consciousness before my birth so they decided to give me the name Ọbádélé which translates from Yoruba as ‘the king arrives [or returns] home,’” he says.
After some years teaching in tertiary institutions in Chicago, Kambon moved to Ghana in 2008 and started his doctoral studies in linguisticsin 2009 at the University of Ghana, where he now teaches at its Institute of African Studies. He is a near native speaker of Akan (Ghana and Ivory Coast) and Yoruba (Nigeria, Benin), proficient in Wolof (Senegal, Gambia) and has some level of competency in Kiswahili (East Africa) and Kikôngo (Angola, DR Congo and Congo Republic).
Kambon, 39, puts Ghana’s hegemony as the home of black people, down to better packaging compared to some of its neighbours. Just like the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Ghana has the infrastructure to back its narrative—by way of the well preserved European slave forts and castles on the coast, where captured women and men were loaded onto ships, never to return home. The visibility of the castles have increased following recent high profile, emotional visits by the Obamas, CNN’s Don Lemon and Colin Kaepernick.
“Freedom from fear”
While this is not the first time Ghana is seeking to encourage a return, the rising popularity of ancestry DNA tests coinciding with police brutality and the reawakening of white nationalism have rekindled a desire with some African Americans to more about their roots now more than ever.
Kambon feels there are advantages to moving to Ghana, telling the story of a friend who had also moved to Ghana. “He said, ‘This is what it must feel like to be white in America”. You’re able to walk around freely, nobody is going to do something to you just because you are black because everybody around you is black. In the US, police come around you and your heart skips a beat, here, there is a level of freedom from fear that can’t be purchased.”
The official policy of welcoming returnees has been backed largely by local attitudes. While there is an awareness of the otherness of returnees, Kambon says many ordinary Ghanaians see him as one of them. His ability to speak a local language and his adherence to the Akan traditional spiritual system has particularly endeared him to local chiefs. Kambon (just like famous returnee Rita Marley) has even been enstooled in a chiefdom in eastern Ghana where he bears the title “ruler of the rearguard.”
Aside from sentimental reasons, the return of the African diaspora is economically pragmatic for Ghana. The tourism ministry is coordinating activities for The Year of Return along with private agencies and it hopes the pilgrimages will boost tourism in Ghana. Tourism could add $5 billion to Ghana’s economy by 2027, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council [pdf p.5] and this is a prospect the government is looking to explore. The government is also not losing sight of the investment potential and human capital of the highly educated “returnees” like Kambon, who decide to move permanently to Ghana.
For 21 years, he and his mother have been organizing return tours to give people a feel of life in Ghana. Kambon says he has received about 60 consultations on repatriation to Ghana in recent weeks, however he always advises using an Akan proverb that translates as “A person doesn’t use their two feet to measure the depth of the river” to encourage short visits before making the final decision to move.
*Culled from Quartz Africa
More Research , Partnerships And Policy Development Needed To Address Economic Challenges SADC Faces
November 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
MEFMI is Macro and Economic Financial Management Institute for Eastern and Southern Africa . It is a Regional Financial and Economic organization .It frames out Economic policies, promote and support economic development in the SADC Region .It is working to grapple with challenges currently facing the Region.
MEFMI is targeting Infrastructure development .The most effective tool MEFMI applies according to its Director- Dr Sehliselo Mpofu in addressing challenges is Research and Policy development.
Policy stands vital in providing a platform for dialogue and exchange of knowledge. In search of related solutions to existing and related challenges emerging, qualitative Research is the most important tool to use .The main reason why it is looking at the policy issue is to support Economic growth and reduce poverty.
Economic development in any part of the Region can be promoted through ‘’financing for development’’. Such is the theme for 2018.
‘’Our Annual Research and Policy Seminar came to success as a result of reviewers and discussants of the research papers who accepted partnership with us’’ .
‘’MEFMI stands for economic development to reduce poverty through employment creation in the Region. The most pressing thing is the Region is facing challenges which at the moment can reverse Economic Development ’’.
‘’For MEFMI, development is a goal which can be achieved through ‘financing for development’ a multi-dimensional process which supports economic growth and reduce poverty’’, she said.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangundya is optimistic economic development can be achieved if challenges facing the Region are simply addressed .Growth must be called sustainable. It means that it must continue along the same lines into the future without creating economic problems.
‘’In order to address these, we need to come out with policy action, foster dialogue and knowledge exchange through dialogue in strong partnership of Member states. Value Addition to development strategies crafted is vital so as to adopt policies at Regional level.’’
‘’Like what MEFMI takes as an objective in its work , we need to identify points of stable sustainable resource flows . We then adequately allocate these resources in the areas of greatest need so that we can achieve economic growth and reduce poverty ‘’
Experts agree with DR John Mangundya’s points related to the coming in of fresh challenges which deter economic growth and increase poverty. Strengthening the link between Research and Policy make us enhance strategic mechanisms which are important in crafting new ideas. Results based management related to Investment opportunities, smarter aid and partnerships which attract finance are a value addition in macro-economic development.
‘’Emerging challenges need fresh unlocking ideas. Therefore we need to strengthen link between Research and Policy and enhance strategic mechanisms to identify policy priorities and create a conducive atmosphere for basically three areas , Investments , smarter aid and financing partnerships’’ he concluded .
Countries in the Region must remain focused on development. Development is made possible through research. As a region, countries through the promotion of multi oriented quality research come out with goals to address the economy. Outcome of economic development resolve social problems.
MEFMI’s goal settles on sustainable economic growth as echoed by the African Union Agenda 2063 goal of ‘’Transformed Economies’’ .When countries of Africa talk of ‘’Transformed ECONOMIES’’ we are basically focusing on Economic Structuring. ‘’
Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations launched in 2015 after the Millennium Development Goals of 2000 under which Goal 8 was on Achieving Global Partnership for Economic Development is similar to MEFMI’s call for comprehensive approach involving multiple stakeholders of sustainable development .
Under sustainable development , partners work amass resources, channel these resources towards coming with production through finance injection , smart aid and Foreign Investments which bring economic growth .African countries are talking of poverty reduction through economic and social transformation under robust social and economic research for policy development .
A Development Expert from Lesotho, Selloane Khoabane on his presentation on Infrastructure development, said the Inter-Regional Infrastructure Master Plan and the Private-Public Partnerships are vital since nearly us$428 billion is needed in the Region to balance Infrastructural development, develop the Economy and reduce poverty in the 15 MEFMI member states.
‘’It is on onus of Governments of the region to follow on the Master Plan.’’
‘’Without plan follow-up , we have no direction on the whole discussion , let us make a way forward to push for Infrastructural and Economic Development’’ , he said .
McKinsey Global Institute highlights that Africa achieved average Annual Gross Domestic Product growth of 5,4% between 2000 and 2010 . Research findings after the growth’s decline by 3,3% between 2010 and 2015 reveal that the region continued to face economic challenges arising from population growth , lack of sustainable projects implementation contributing to economic poverty .
Another Economic Expert, Dr Nyasha Mahonye sited other factors trampling down economic growth in the African region.
‘’The region continues to face lower commodity prices, tight financing conditions and droughts. Sustainable growth improvements will depend on viable and innovative development strategies and the interaction of these strategies at Global level’’, said the leading Economist.
Adding to the point Leonard Mandishara an Economist said policy measures should target resources diversification. In diversification, the continent gets engaged in economic activities through Regional co-operation.
‘’The future of the continent in economic growth and the impact of poverty reduction depends on policies aimed at economic and structural transformation. These must be policies of Regional co-operation and technological advance so as to encourage innovation .Our challenge in the region and Africa as a whole is Finance. However despite strong links, structures competition in the region fosters Regional growth through good management of Financial innovation ’’ , he pointed out .
The 2008 Financial crisis is an example of mismanagement of Financial Innovation mainly because of weaknesses in regulatory system .MEFMI is pursuing Financial Development Regulatory policies which enhance competition according to a presentation by a Zambian national, Chiselwebwe Ngandwe .
The indicator shows Swaziland as having highest level of competition in 2014 followed by Zambia, Angola, Lesotho and Mozambique.
”The fact is, financial sector competition indicators are yet to incorporate non- bank players.”
”We are living in a new era in demand of quality service. Competition is good for functioning of financial intermediaries and markets and improved access to finance, ’said the Economist.
SADC Report of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan indicated that the Region has got an Infrastructure deficit in roads, air, rail, pipeline Infrastructure, water, Information Communication Technology and Energy Infrastructure since financing lacks in some parts of the Region.
Cresencia Gapare said Infrastructure is important to easily access International markets resources development, Investments and concessional loans. Regional cohesion serves an option of financing social and economic development. This enlarges local markets after the pooling of risk .The stimulation of Production, Trade and Investments is value addition to Africa’s economy.
The challenge Africa faces currently is, it needs 93 billion for Infrastructural Development. On its own SADC with 17 countries needs almost a quarter of it if not more.’’
‘’The spirit to develop needs multi-dimensions in Economic funding. This can only be possible through partnerships, funding, human resources expertise and the role of the International Monetary Fund. However this Economic cohesion with the International Community. In other words, Global Partnerships will definitely reduce for us poverty. We first experience Industrialization both in urban, farm, mining and rural communities’’, she ended .’’
MEFMI works with 14 countries in the SADC Region to support Research and Policy development for the region‘s economic growth .This is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
A Year Without Mugabe: Is Zimbabwe Progressing or Regressing?
November 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
On November 14 2017, at sunset, military tanks were seen rolling into Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. The first people to catch glimpses of the military tanks quickly took snapshots and went onto their social media platforms to post the news. In less than an hour, the news of the military tanks rolling into the capital had reached most parts of the country. In the following minutes and hours, rumours started to do rounds both online and offline with regards to the military tanks. No one among the civilians and the media knew exactly what was happening.
It was only in the early hours of November 15, 2017, that the whole of Zimbabwe and indeed the world came to know why military tanks had stationed in the capital city when the then Major-General Sibusiso Moyo appeared on national television announcing that President Mugabe was confined to his home but is safe and sound. According to Moyo, the reason why military tanks had rolled into the capital city was to arrest ‘criminals’ surrounding the president (Robert Mugabe).
Soon after the announcement by Major-General Moyo, there was delirium among Zimbabwean citizens. The country was in a state of joy in the aftermath with thousands attending a mass protest on November the 18th demanding Robert Mugabe to resign. A few days later, the unthinkable happened, the 37-year rule of Mugabe came to an end. For the first time since the country’s independence in 1980, Zimbabwe would be having a new president. The man chosen to replace Mugabe was his former aide in Emmerson Mnangagwa who had been in government since 1980 serving different portfolios from the Ministry of Justice to heading the country’s intelligence organization.
Thousands thronged the National Sports Stadium when Mugabe’s replacement, Emmerson Mnangagwa was sworn in as the country’s new president on November 24 2017. Among those who attended were the country’s main opposition leaders in (the late) Morgan Tsvangirai and his then deputy who is now the leader of the opposition Nelson Chamisa. Everyone in the country saw this as a new dawn and as Mnangagwa said on his inauguration, it was a ‘new dispensation’.
One year later after his inauguration, Mnangagwa’s stock has sharply declined (in spite of him winning the presidential election). In many quarters, the fall in Mnangagwa’s stock signifies the regression of the country ever since he took power. Below, let’s explore some of the key factors which played a huge role in Mnangagwa’s decline.
Failure to Foster Unity
When Mnangagwa preached about the start of a new dawn, many people thought that he would start by apologizing for the wrongs he did in the past. During the early years after independence, hundreds if not thousands of people from Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland and Midlands region were butchered by the military and the state security agents. At the time, Mnangagwa was the country’s head of the intelligence sector and as such, was viewed to be part and parcel of those who orchestrated the massacre. However, Mnangagwa has proclaimed his innocence ever since despite overwhelming evidence suggesting he played a key role in the massacre. With everyone expecting him to acknowledge and apologize for his part in the massacre, Mnangagwa decided to preach ‘letting bygones be bygones’. This angered a large section of people from Matabeleland and Midlands who simply see him as a man who cannot reform and as such a man who cannot unify the nation.
Reluctance to Be Tough On Corruption
In the last decade, Zimbabwe has become a haven for looters with most of these being government officials. It was therefore expected by many that one of Mnangagwa’s first priorities would be to go tough on corruption to win the love and support of the ordinary man. However, soon after his inauguration, Mnangagwa decided to appoint as ministers some officials who are widely considered to be corrupt. This angered the nation. While he managed to dumb some of them later on when he made his cabinet selection after winning the presidential election in July, the nonexistence of any top government official to be convicted suggests that Mnangagwa does not want or fears imprisoning those that he ‘ate’ with.
One of the things which widened the rift between citizens and Mugabe was that Mugabe was seen as detached from the struggles of the majority. While this on paper would seem to be a simple thing to rectify for Mnangagwa, the opposite has happened to this day. Just to illustrate this, Mnangagwa forked out over a million dollars to hire a private jet to fly in the former first lady when her mother died. However, some weeks later when the nation was facing a deadly cholera crisis, the Mnangagwa administration managed to ‘chip in’ with a paltry $100,000.
Issue of Human Rights
One of the main reasons cited by the US and other western countries and organizations when they slapped Zimbabwe with sanctions was that Robert Mugabe failed to respect human rights. This, therefore, meant Mnangagwa had a perfect chance to paint himself in a positive way by just taking the necessary steps to respect human rights. However, the August 1 events and the subsequent setting up of a farcical commission just dampened his claims of being a reformist and a respecter of human rights.
On the Bright Side
Re-engagements Paying Off
At his inauguration, Mnangagwa said that he will be prioritizing reengagement as he wants Zimbabwe to start building relationships with the countries that it had frosty relations with in the past. True to his word, Mnangagwa went on a diplomatic offensive charming western nations and organizations to start seeing Zimbabwe in a positive way. Countries such as the US, Britain, Australia and others that previously had not sent official delegations to Zimbabwe in years were able to send some top-level delegations.
Eritrea breakthrough as UN sanctions lifted
November 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
The UN Security Council has unanimously agreed to lift sanctions against Eritrea after nine years.
An arms embargo, asset freeze, and travel ban were imposed in 2009 amid claims Eritrea supported al-Shabab militants in Somalia. Eritrea always denied the accusations.
The resolution, drafted by the UK, was backed by the US and its allies.
The UN vote comes amid a thaw in relations between Eritrea and its neighbours following years of conflict.
BBC World Service Africa editor Mary Harper says the politically repressive state had long been a global pariah, and was likened by some commentators to North Korea.
Eritrea agreed a peace deal with Ethiopia in June following two decades of animosity, while the leader of Eritrea and the UN-backed government in Somalia recently signed a joint cooperation agreement.
Why were sanctions imposed?
The resolution, backed by 13 votes in favour, was passed after the UN Security Council accused Eritrea of arming, training and equipping armed groups including al-Shabab.
The UN had frequently expressed concern about the flow of weapons into Somalia, where Islamist militants were battling government forces for control of the capital Mogadishu.
Eritrea has also been criticised for human rights abuses and mandatory national service conscription, which has led to tens of thousands of young Eritreans fleeing the country for Europe.
The asset freezes and travel ban affected individuals and businesses, as well as the Eritrean leadership.
However, the Council members now quote experts as saying there was no proof Eritrea backed al-Shabab.
What does Eritrea say?
The Eritrean government has always denied supporting al-Shabab militants, calling the claim a “fabrication” created by US intelligence officials. Ethiopia is a close ally of the US, especially in the fight against al-Shabab.
When they were imposed, Araya Desta, Eritrea’s ambassador to the UN, dismissed the sanctions as “ludicrous punitive measures”.
Eritrea occupies a strategic location on the Red Sea, which connects Europe, Africa and the East. However, its economy has suffered after years of sanctions.
The Eritrean government now says it wants compensation for the sanctions, which it insists were politically motivated.
How peace has broken out in the Horn of Africa
By Emmanuel Igunza, BBC News, Addis Ababa
Since the sanctions were imposed, Eritrea has lobbied and fought hard against them. But three times over that period, the UN Security Council has always voted to maintain them, claiming the country was a destabilising factor in the Horn of Africa region.
But all that seems to have changed after Eritrea signed a landmark agreement with Ethiopia in June, committing to end a bitter two-decade dispute.
Since then, diplomatic ties have resumed and both air and land transport between the two countries have re-opened.
The bromance between Ethiopian’s new reformist leader Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s President Isaias Aferweki seems to have rubbed on neighbouring leaders.
Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia have now signed a joint agreement of cooperation, and leaders of the three countries have met personally on three different occasions this year – something that hadn’t happened in years.
Relations between Eritrea and Djibouti are also thawing after years of a border dispute. There is now even an ambitious talk of the Horn of Africa countries forming an economic bloc of sorts.
Many analysts believe that there are still many issues like the border disputes to resolve before that can be achieved, but so far leaders of the region are daring to believe.
Africa Investment Forum 2018: a new bold vision tilts capital flows into Africa
November 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Forum highlighted a solid pipeline of projects and wealth of opportunities ready for investors
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 14, 2018/ — “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others,” a saying goes. When African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) President Akinwumi Adesina laid out his vision to tilt the flow of capital into Africa by convening the first transaction-based investment forum, many did not see what was coming ahead.
One year down the road, the verdict is undisputed.
The three-day Africa Investment Forum ended November 9th in the South African capital exceeding the expectations of its conveners – The African Development Bank. Beyond participants’ commendations, a preliminary review of the meeting leaves room for much optimism.
The Forum highlighted a solid pipeline of projects and wealth of opportunities ready for investors. After a final review of all Boardroom projects, investor interest stood at close to US$40 billion, the organizers said Wednesday.
Close to 300 institutional investors from 53 countries, including 23 non-African countries gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa from 7-9 November for the inaugural event.
“Africa is ahead of its time. Business as usual is no longer the norm…from now on it will be Business unusual. All is now set for global and regional investments to make a smooth landing into Africa. The Africa Investment Forum has turned the tide of investment into the continent,” Adesina said.
The value of boardroom projects tabled for discussion during the Forum stood at US$47 billion, up from US$40.4 billion announced on the eve of the closing. The updated figures following a final review indicated that investment interest was secured for 49 projects worth US$38.7 billion, up from US$32 billion
The projects ranged in diversity from infrastructure, Energy, Transport and Utilities, Industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, Water and Sanitation, Funds/financial Services, Health, Education, Hospitality and Tourism, Housing, and Aviation. A total of 169 bilateral meetings took place in the Marketplace boardrooms. In addition, open marketplace B2B conversations went on throughout the three days.
Notable among the deals which secured investor interest are:
In the energy sector, 400 delegates convened for focused deliberations on regulations and policy issues for the construction of the second phase of a 450 MW Power Plant in Tunisia worth US$440 million. Agreements were reached on a number of action plans designed to accelerate regulatory reforms and to unlock bottlenecks that will help facilitate investments in a sector with a potential value of US$70 billion.
In Africa’s transportation and logistics sector, a major milestone was reached with the launch of “THELO DB,” a new partnership between THELO SA (of South Africa) and DEUTSCHE BAHN (of Germany). The partnership intervenes in the critical railway sector of Africa’s economy, which has an annual deficit of around US$62 billion.
A total of 1,914 out of 2,200 registered delegates attended the event, signifying strong interest in the Forum.
President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South Africa; President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea; President Macky Sall of Senegal; President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana attended the Forum. Other officials included the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo; the Prime Ministers of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente and Cameroon, Philémon Yang, as well as ministers representing the Kingdom of Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Niger, and Gabon. In attendance also were Governors and Board members of the African Development Bank.
The main goal of the Africa Investment Forum is to catalyze investments into the continent through a unique marketplace platform designed to advance projects to bankable stages, raise capital, and accelerate the financial closure of deals.
Ringing endorsements came in from investors, multilateral development heads and key stakeholders. When a panel of investors and project sponsors was asked by African Development Bank Communication Director Victor Oladokun what they would change during the next Forum, the consensus was that the event had already achieved what it set out to do. For the first time ever, a platform had brought together all critical players under one roof – investors, project sponsors and government leaders.
According to Basil El Baz, CEO of Carbon Holdings, “I have never seen a conference like this. To the organizers, I say do not change a thing. Keep doing exactly what you are doing.”
Global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank, Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, partnered with the African Development Bank to form a solid and strategic alliance around the new initiative.
The next edition of the Africa Investment Forum will take place in November 2019.
Africa Must Have The Strongest Voice In COP 24 Symposium.
November 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu .
Climate Change, Environmental and Energy Experts are fully geared to stretch their muscles in alacrity for the close by COP 24 to be held in Katowice Poland from the 2nd to the 14 of December. In a preliminary tight strength of practical action on ground, ZERO, an Energy and Environment Organisation prepared a draft position paper. The draft paper is for the 24th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC.
According to ZERO Energy Information Expert, Wellington Madumira , the document outlines the Zimbabwean common position on matters of national interest on climate negotiations . The included elements have much focus on past COP consultations. This is the information, knowledge and experiences of those who attended other conferences.
‘’This serves as guide for Zimbabwe Delegation negotiators and representatives in the UNFCCC committees, panels and other institutions. Apart from consultations from the previous meetings, they also reflect decisions of the Africa Group of Negotiators [AGN] Negotiating positions. These were drafted from the Bangkok Climate Conference and COP24 to be held in early December.’’
‘’As a country we are geared to showcase commitments and the will per-say to preliminarily come up with our set of synthetic data related to the event. We have experiences of other COPs done. What we fill in the open gaps is that which must remain intact in closed circuit of our agreement with others. This moulds for us an impact as Zimbabwe.’’
‘’In fact Africa must have the strongest voice in COP 24 Symposium. We are the ones more affected as a continent. As our voices are heard, we get responses to what remains as challenges related to climate change and Energy’’.
Rodger Mpande ZERO Technical Adviser expounded on Sustainable Development and poverty reduction as Africa’s main priorities. Negotiations which are destined for economic growth and development must leave no negative impacts on the African Economy which already has bleeding crevices of its long term pain.
‘’The impact must be positive for Africa. There must be positive impacts on African Economies, ecosystems, social cultural well-being and sovereignty. Besides, let us create policy space inside vacuums to bring a voice. Let us show the World that Africa needs new straightened direction.’’
‘’We want a situation where-by negative impacts on African Trade like unilateral measures mainly on exports are to be avoided. African countries should ensure that full utilisation of their resources remains not compromised.’’
The need to reduce emissions, Mpande said, stands crucial in addressing further impacts of climate change. Damage has been brought to Africa as a result of un-planned approach to climate change. This, he added resulted in the upsurge of many negative artificial consequences.
‘’Mitigation in emissions could address our plight as Africa, however, we are in challenge. This Climate Change we talk of has impacted more on Energy sources such that poverty increases.
‘’The focus is on reducing emissions, not eliminating or writing off any source of energy, no’’, argued, Mpande . Amplifying his voice in a seethe of light emotions , he rose again,
‘’In this regard, the focus on reducing emissions;’’, he repeated his statements.’’ We need to ensure transfer of technologies needed to reduce emissions ‘’, he said.
Speaking with the balance of Gender equality and equity after being engaged for a comment, ZWRCN Information and Public Relations Officer Gamuchirai Chipagura commented on the Gender Action Plan which she said is a move to strike balance.
‘’The UNFCCC Gender Action Plan seeks to advance women’s participation. This is no doubt a clear indication of Gender equality and equity at Global level. However, there is need to work out on more policy priorities to increase women participation at all of the UNFCCC levels.
‘’Increase of women in climate change negotiations breeds them in the sector of Energy as well because these Environmental aspects touch more on Energy. For sure they explain and expound on these environmental and economic circles of life’’, she added on.
I Ran for President in Cameroon. Here is What I Learnt
November 14, 2018 | 0 Comments
President Biya won disputed elections on 7 October amidst rising unrest in Cameroon
By Akere T. Muna
On 6 November, Paul Biya was inaugurated for the seventh time. The 85-year-old has already been in power for the last 36 years and will now serve another seven-year term.
President Biya won disputed elections on 7 October amidst rising unrest in Cameroon. The country is divided into the Francophone area – which makes up four-fifths of territory – and the smaller Anglophone area. In the last two years, the latter region has been in a situation just short of civil war.
Over the decades since unification, the Anglophone regions have been increasingly dominated (https://bit.ly/2DDukwx) and felt resentful. This led to a movement that, in 2016, began by holding strikes and peaceful demonstrations. Activists called for the restoration of the English-speaking education and judicial system.
The government responded with furious repression and shut down any discussions about federalism. This led to a spiralling crisis. Today, the talk is about secession, while the conflict has become bloody. There are now over 300,000 internally displaced persons and more than 40,000 refugees in Nigeria. At least 90 villages have been razed, while over 400 civilians have been killed and thousands more wounded. 40% of Cameroon’s revenue derives from the Anglophone regions, but the local economy has been deeply undermined by the insecurity.
This is the context in which Cameroon’s elections were held last month. In theory, this exercise was an opportunity for citizens to shape the direction of the nation. But the reality is very different.
The body that organises Cameroon’s elections is supposedly autonomous, but all its members are appointed by the president and can be removed at will. All electoral disputes are settled by the Constitutional Council, but all its members are also appointed by the president. The Minister of Territorial Administration, another presidential appointee, handles all other administrative issues connected with elections.
In Cameroon, the voting system is first-past-the-post and uses multiple ballots. Voters are given papers for all the candidates and then cast their vote by putting their favoured nominee into the ballot box. This means they can leave the booth with the papers of the other candidates, allowing vote-buyers the ability to check how people voted. Calls to adopt a single ballot paper system have been ignored.
For presidential hopefuls, getting onto the ballot in the first place is challenging. Nominees must pay around $60,000 to submit their candidacies. They must either be endorsed by a party with at least one elected official or, if running as an independent, produce at least 300 signatures from specific kinds of dignitaries from every region.
In the elections themselves, there are close to 25,000 polling stations. What candidate can field representatives in each of these locations? The official campaign period lasts two weeks and it is illegal to campaign before this period. How can one visit 360 districts in just 14 days? The presidential campaign team, which includes ministers and other dignitaries, travels the country at the expense of the state, meaning the playing field is nowhere near level. Meanwhile, the state media turns into the ruling party’s propaganda machine.
Despite the very high hurdles, however, I decided to run for president. I have spent the last 25 years defending good governance and fighting corruption. In 2000, at a time Cameroon was accused of being the most corrupt country in the world, I founded the national chapter of international anti-corruption NGO Transparency International. Needless to say, this earned me the ire of the establishment. I went on to work for bodies such as the African Development Bank and High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa.
In this time, I watched as my country steadily moved in the wrong direction. And with the worsening situation in the Anglophone regions threatening to pull apart the fabric of our nation, a sense of responsibility weighed on my soul. I knew that I had to put my experience at the service of our citizens and attack the issues at their source – the system.
In the end, though, I withdrew my candidacy and backed Maurice Kamto. There is nowhere in African where the opposition has removed a dictator like Biya without presenting a common front. In Cameroon, the remaining eight candidates held some further meetings, but never met once together as a group. This meant that there was no single opposition candidate. This fact discouraged voters who concluded it was a waste of time.
In the final tally, Biya officially won with 71.28%. Kamto came second with 14.23%. But there were reports of massive fraud. The absence of opposition officials at many polling stations allowed the stuffing of ballot boxes. An incomplete biometric system meant that certain people voted multiple times.
The legal challenge against the election results that followed exposed the Constitutional Council as political institution. This all played out on national television and many citizens, for the first time, witnessed the fraud that cripples our electoral process.
The danger that Cameroon now faces is that its elections’ lack of credibility could lead voters to question the need to participate. And if electoral justice becomes captured by politics and hence incapable of addressing issues raised by the proper, the streets will take over. Since the presidential elections, there have been demonstrations against what has been described as a faulted political process. These demonstrations have been relayed to the Diaspora in Europe and America.
Cameroon needs to design an adequate electoral system. It is essential to make reforms so that the individual controlling the process is not also a player in it. This year, Cameroons saw first-hand the effects of a lopsided system. If the electoral playing field is not evened out then the country risks being stuck in an interminable loop created by a government for the government. Cameroonians will only stand for this so long. Till then, Cameroon remains a state captured by a few oligarchs.
A Call For Compassion: An Open Letter To Mrs. Chantal Biya
November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ethiopia avails to all African travelers visa on-line and on-arrival Service
November 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Ethiopia has launched visa on arrival service for all African travelers as of November 1, 2018. The service was launched at a colorful ceremony held at the headquarters of the African Union Commission in the presence of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Ethiopian high government officials, African Ambassadors residing in Addis Ababa, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines Group, invited guests and media.
Addressing the gathering, Ethiopian Group CEO Mr Tewolde Gebremariam said, “It is truly an honor and a special privilege to witness this historical and truly inspirational day. Ethiopian Airlines has been bringing Africa together and closer to the world for over 7 decades. Today, Ethiopian flies to 60 African destinations and connects the continent to over 50 major international cities in 5 continents. Visa on arrival for fellow African brothers and sisters and more importantly, visa online will greatly boost cross-border tourism, trade and investment, further deepening African integration.”
Throughout its seventy plus years of service, the pan-African carrier Ethiopian Airlines has been bringing Africa together and closer to the world. Thanks to its unwavering commitments and efforts to bridge the air connectivity vacuum in the African skies, today Ethiopian serves 59 cities across the continent, commanding the lion’s share of the intra-African network.
It is to be recalled that the Ethiopian Immigration and Nationality Affairs Main Department, in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines, launched an e-visa service for all international visitors to Ethiopia in June.