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“It was a privilege to live in and learn from the diverse and spectacular countries of Africa”-78 Former Amb in Letter to President Trump
January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments
Herman Cohen -Former Ambassador to  Senegal, and  Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Reagan and Bush is among the the 78 Ambassadors who signed the letter

Herman Cohen -Former Ambassador to Senegal, and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Reagan and Bush is among the the 78 Ambassadors who signed the letter

In response to the remarks attributed to President Trump talking low about Africa, a group of 78 Ambassadors who served with both Democratic and Republican Administrations , say it was a privilege to live learn from the diverse and spectacular countries of Africa. Expressing concern on the remarks in a letter to President Trump, the former Ambassadors describe Africa as a continent with deep historical ties with the United States.

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

As former U.S. Ambassadors to 48 African countries, we write to express our deep concern regarding reports of your recent remarks about African countries and to attest to the importance of our partnerships with most of the fifty-four African nations. Africa is a continent of great human talent and rich diversity, as well as extraordinary beauty and almost unparalleled natural resources. It is also a continent with deep historical ties with the United States.

As American ambassadors abroad we have seen Africa’s complex and rich cultures, awe-inspiring resilience, and breathtaking generosity and compassion. Even as some nations have faced challenges, we have counted among our contacts dynamic entrepreneurs, gifted artists, committed activists, passionate conservationists, and brilliant educators. We learned of novel solutions to complex problems, helped American companies find partners critical to their success, and counted on African military and intelligence officials who often assumed real risks to help achieve outcomes critical to our shared security.

 We know that respectful engagement with these countries is a vital part of protecting our own national interests. The United States of America is safer, healthier, more prosperous, and better equipped to solve problems that confront all of humanity when we work with, listen to, and learn from our African partners. We also know that the entire world is richer because of the contributions of Africans, including the many Americans of African descent.
Ambassador Robin Sanders and former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnie Carson pictured here here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan also signed the letter

Ambassador Robin Sanders and former Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnie Carson pictured here here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan also signed the letter

It was one of the greatest honors of our lives to represent the United States of America abroad. It was also a privilege to live in and learn from the diverse and spectacular countries of Africa. We hope that you will reassess your views on Africa and its citizens, and recognize the important contributions Africans and African Americans have made and continue to make to our country, our history, and the enduring bonds that will always link Africa and the United States.

Sincerely,

Mark L. Asquino – Equatorial Guinea
Shirley E. Barnes – Madagascar
William (Mark) Bellamy – Kenya
Eric D. Benjaminson – Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe
Michele Thoren Bond – Lesotho
Parker W. Borg – Mali
Aurelia E. Brazeal – Kenya, Ethiopia
Pamela Bridgewater – Benin, Ghana
Reuben E. Brigety II – African Union
Kenneth L. Brown – Ivory Coast, Ghana, Republic of the Congo
1Steven A. Browning – Malawi, Uganda
Edward P. Brynn – Burkina Faso, Ghana
John Campbell – Nigeria
Katherine Canavan – Botswana
Timothy Carney – Sudan
Johnnie Carson – Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Phillip Carter – Ivory Coast, Guinea-Conakry
Herman Cohen – Senegal, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Frances D. Cook – Burundi, Cameroon
Walter L. Cutler – Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tunisia
Jeffrey S. Davidow – Zambia
Ruth A. Davis – Benin, Director General of the Foreign Service
Scott H. DeLisi – Uganda, Eritrea
Christopher Dell – Angola, Zimbabwe, Deputy Ambassador at AFRICOM
Harriet Elam-Thomas – Senegal, Guinea-Bissau
Gregory W. Engle – Togo
James F. Entwistle – Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Robert A. Flaten – Rwanda
Robert S. Ford – Algeria
Patrick Gaspard – South Africa
Michelle D. Gavin – Botswana
Donald H. Gips – South Africa
Gordon Gray – Tunisia
Robert E. Gribben – Central African Republic, Rwanda
Patricia McMahon Hawkins – Togo
Karl Hofmann – Togo
Patricia M. Haslach – Ethiopia
Genta Hawkins Holmes – Namibia
Robert G. Houdek – Uganda, Eritrea
Michael S. Hoza – Cameroon
Vicki J. Huddleston – Madagascar, Mali
Janice L. Jacobs – Senegal
Howard F. Jeter – Botswana, Nigeria
Dennis C. Jett – Mozambique
Jimmy J. Kolker – Burkina Faso, Uganda
Edward Gibson Lanpher – Zimbabwe
Dawn M. Liberi – Burundi
Princeton N. Lyman – Nigeria, South Africa
Jackson McDonald – The Gambia, Guinea
James D. McGee – Swaziland, Madagascar, Comoros, Zimbabwe
Roger A. Meece – Malawi, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Gillian Milovanovic – Mali
Susan D. Page – South Sudan
David Passage – Botswana
Edward J. Perkins – Liberia, South Africa, Director General of the Foreign Service
Robert C. Perry – Central African Republic
Thomas R. Pickering – Nigeria
Jo Ellen Powell – Mauritania
Nancy Powell – Uganda, Ghana
Anthony Quainton – Central African Republic
Elizabeth Raspolic – Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe
Charles A. Ray – Zimbabwe
Fernando E. Rondon – Madagascar, Comoros
Richard A. Roth – Senegal, Guinea-Bissau
Robin Renee Sanders – Republic of the Congo, Nigeria
Mattie R. Sharpless – Central African Republic
David H. Shinn – Burkina Faso, Ethiopia
A. Ellen Shippy – Malawi
George M. Staples – Rwanda, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Director General of the Foreign Service
Linda Thomas-Greenfield – Liberia, Director General of the Foreign Service, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Jacob Walles – Tunisia
Lannon Walker – Senegal, Nigeria, Ivory Coast
Melissa F. Wells – Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Zaire (Congo-Kinshasa)
Joseph C. Wilson – Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe
Frank G. Wisner – Zambia, Egypt
John M. Yates – Cape Verde, Benin, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Permanent Charge (3 years) Zaire, Special Envoy for Somalia
Mary Carlin Yates – Burundi, Ghana, Sudan
Johnny Young – Sierra Leone, Togo

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AU comes of age: issues stern response to unfortunate Trump statement
January 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati*

In its many years of existence, even before it was rebranded, the African Union was seen by many as a toothless bulldog, which only came to life during the annual summits in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa where African leaders competed against each other for the bragging rights of being the most eloquent orators. Apart from the annual summit, the AU to many was just another body with strongly written principles but zero action.

However, recently the AU took a different turn to the AU many have become accustomed to. Instead of leaving it to member states to respond the ‘threat’ facing the entire continent, the AU for the first time took the first initiative to respond to the unfortunate statement reportedly uttered by the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

A couple of days ago, the Washington Post citing two sources from inside the White House stated that the US President had said, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries coming here.’ The sources claim that the President was referring to Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador. Television network, CNN and other mainstream media channels from the US corroborated the story.

The Washington Post claims that the President did not stop there, but he went further to suggest that the US must be looking at ways to attract more immigrants from Norway, a country that has one of the highest white demographics in the world.

It’s alleged that Trump made the remarks during a meeting with two Congress representatives, Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin and South Carolina GOP Senator, Lindsay Graham who had come to present the plan to cut the visa lottery on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus. The plan wants the other half of the visa lottery to be shared proportionally between Africa and Haiti.

In its response to the President of the United States, the AU spokesperson, Ebba Kalondo said it was disappointing that Donald Trump had little respect for the continent and he actually publicly stated it. Kalondo said the US was one of the countries that should never forget how crucial immigration is to the development of a country as it is through immigration that the US managed to achieve what it has achieved.

In reference to Trump’s statement saying we should have more immigrants from Norway, many interviewed officials from across Africa said this shows that the President of the US has racist tendencies especially if one factors in some of his earlier utterances in relation to some South American countries. By referencing Norway, one of the ‘whitest’ countries in the world, Trump just showed his true colours to the world.

Barely 24 hours after the news broke out; Trump addressed the media and denied ever saying ‘shithole countries’. He unconvincingly stated that he is not racist and is the “least racist person you will ever meet.”

In condemning Trump’s statement, the AU was joined by several African countries who issued their own responses. Many African nationals living in Africa and beyond also weighed in on social media uploading pictures of their beautiful shithole countries.

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Ringier Africa signs pan-African content agreement with The New York Times
January 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP) will publish New York Times journalism under its new media brand Pulse in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria
ZURICH, Switzerland, January 15, 2018/ — Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP) (http://Ringier.com) further expands its news and media portfolio by entering into a digital content license agreement with The New York Times News Service (www.NYTimes.com) and Syndicate, the licensing and syndicate division of The New York Times. RADP will publish New York Times journalism under its new media brand Pulse in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. Pulse informs and entertains Africa’s mass and mobile population with a reach of 100 million people every month.

The launch of New York Times journalism on Pulse will bring award-winning reporting and storytelling to Africa’s informed readership. The New York Times is a globally renowned media outlet for news and opinion, which will complement Pulse’s news coverage. Pulse readers will now have access to The New York Times’ top news of the day as well as a selection of other digital articles addressing key social, political and economic issues as well as videos, photos and graphics.

«Publishing content from The New York Times will be setting new standards in the regional media space, offering up-to-date information at any time of the day, directly to Africa’s media consumption tool of choice, the mobile phone, via the Pulse website and our newly launched mobile app» says Tim Kollmann, Managing Director of RADP.

This agreement consolidates Ringier’s position as Africa’s leading news brand. It signals a new strategic direction, expands Pulse’s editorial scope to include more politics, current affairs and international news stories and strengthens the platform’s followership. It also furthers RADP’s plan to build one of the most robust digital ecosystems in Africa by continuing to find new ways and platforms to engage and stay connected with users.

Ringier Africa & Asia CEO, Robin Lingg, adds: «Ringier is constantly reaching out to new opportunities to strengthen its position as an innovative and leading digital publisher. We are excited about this cooperation with The New York Times. We see a lot of great potential in the product and its further growth opportunities on the continent. The inclusion of New York Times journalism comes at an exciting time for our publishing company, as we continue to invest in building out a fast-moving, pioneering, credible and truly pan-African digital publishing network.»

The New York Times is known globally for innovation in its print and digital storytelling. With the Ringier agreement, New York Times journalism will reach a new digital audience. General Manager of News Services and Print Innovation for The New York Times, Michael Greenspon says: «Ringier has a deep understanding of the digital space and is the ideal partner to help us bring The New York Times voice to sub-Saharan Africa. We are delighted that this agreement will expand the reach of our journalism to new readers.»

The New York Times Company (www.NYTimes.com) is a global media organization dedicated to enhancing society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news and information. The Company includes The New York Times, NYTimes.com, and related properties. It is known globally for excellence in its journalism, and innovation in its print and digital storytelling and its business model.

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GAINDE 2000 at CES Las Vegas to showcase its research project ORBUS SIGN
January 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
GAINDE 2000 led the Senegalese delegation at the first event dedicated to Africa during the Consumer Electronics Show
LAS VEGAS, United States of America, January 15, 2018/ — Gainde 2000 (www.GAINDE2000.sn) participated, along with the Senegalese delegation in this year’s Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas from January 9-12. GAINDE 2000 was created in 2002 as a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop and run the ORBUS one-stop shop with a view to simplifying the formalities of international trade.

With fifteen (15) years of experience, GAINDE 2000 has become the African leader in the dematerialisation of administrative formalities, digital security and electronic payments with deployed solutions in 5 countries and internationally rendered consulting services.

GAINDE 2000 was at the CES Las Vegas international trade fair until 12 January to showcase its research project ORBUS SIGN, at a very advanced stage in its design at its Research and Development workshops.

ORBUS SIGN is a digital voice signature solution that allows users the option of signing electronically by pronouncing a word or expression. Conceived for signing one or multiple electronic documents by voice recognition (contracts, invoices, etc.), ORBUS SIGN integrates biometric software capable of recording a unique ‘voiceprint’, comparable to a fingerprint or retina pattern, since there are no two identical voices. Once the voiceprint has been recorded, it can be used to verify the identity of a person in the next signature process.

According to Ibrahima Nour Eddine Diagne, General Manager at GAINDE 2000, “ORBUS SIGN eliminates handwritten signatures in a long process generally entailing the printing, distribution and waiting for signed documents to be sent and returned. It is also a solution that brings a simple alternative, particularly in Africa, where illiteracy is nearly 40%.”

Mr. Diagne added that ORBUS SIGN is also useful for people with disabilities who are unable to produce a handwritten signature, though professionals seeking speed and effectiveness could also benefit from the solution regardless of their qualifications.

Daniel Sarr, project manager of ORBUS SIGN, said that participating at CES 2018 “is an opportunity for GAINDE 2000 to showcase its project and test the concept at this international temple of innovation by demonstrating the capabilities of African countries to contribute to emerging technologies.”

GAINDE 2000 (www.GAINDE2000.sn) is a leading edge IT Senegalese company specialized in trade efficiency and paperless public formalities. GAINDE 2000 was established in 2002, as a public-private partnership (PPP) with the mandate to develop and operate the ORBUS Single Window services for facilitating foreign trade formalities.

Gainde 2000’s core business is to design, implement and run state-of-the-art software solutions for Governments, Port Communities and businesses. Its solutions are tailored to businesses’ needs while providing value, efficiency and performance. The company helps countries improve their business environment and meet the challenges of a modern administration of service through reduction of formalities, use of paper, time and cost in public processes.

 

GAINDE 2000 has won the 1st place of the United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) in “Improving Public Services” category, with ORBUS Single Window that led to outstanding changes in trade procedures performance. The company is also an African leader in paperless formalities, digital security and e-payment solutions with platforms implemented in 5 different countries and consulting services delivered at an international level.
Visit www.GAINDE2000.sn

 

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CAN AFRICA’S SKYROCKETING POPULATION AND UNEMPLOYMENT BE TURNED INTO AN ECONOMIC DIVIDEND?
January 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

Moses Hategeka*

 

File Picture.President Barack Obama addresses the Young African Leaders Initiative in Washington, Wednesday, August 3, 2016. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders in hope of strengthening democratic governance and encouraging peace and security across Africa.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

File Picture,President Barack Obama addresses the Young African Leaders Initiative in Washington, Wednesday, August 3, 2016. President Obama launched YALI in 2010 to support young African leaders in hope of strengthening democratic governance and encouraging peace and security across Africa. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

With transformative and visionary leadership in place, a high population, that is rightly skilled and economically empowered, can be a catalyst, for accelerating, a sustainable economic growth and development, that is all-inclusive and beneficial, for a harnessed, political, economic, and social prosperity of a Nation/Continent. Africa’ population which today stands at 1.2 billion people, and is expected to more than double by 2050, is rising, and so is unemployment, that is forcing, thousands of young people, to trek extremely very dangerous journey, through the Sahara desert, to Libya, and then on insecure boats, in the Mediterranean Sea, with the hope of finding opportunities for a better livelihood in Europe.

According to the international organization for migration, this year alone, 2017, over 8,800 African migrants, have been returned to their home countries. What is leadership in Africa not doing right, that is forcing millions of young people want to leave their continent in search of green pastures elsewhere?

Africa’s young people, who today, totals over 420 million aged between 15 -35 age, and is expected to increase to over 830 million by 2050, is a huge demographic asset, which if given right skills and opportunities, can be turned into an economic dividend driving the continent forward. Skilled young people produces high work rate, and acts as an attraction, for investors seeking to open up new investment prospects. Skilled young people, if also accorded right funding, can be able to produce inventions and innovations, in various sectors that can in the end result into turning Africa’s abundance natural resources, into usable finished products, thus promoting entrepreneurship and industrial development.

Are the African countries giving its young people factual skills and  opportunities to produce ground breaking technologies that can attract mutual industrial research and technological collaborations from developed countries especially in agriculture and agricultural related sectors?

Agriculture, which is, and is expected for the next decade, to continue being  a major employer, employing about 65 percent and source of livelihood for the majority of Africans, can if well consistently structured and profitably transformed, birth agribusiness enterprises and agro-industrialization in Africa, that can make majority of Africans, to secure well-paying jobs, and this would greatly curb migration of young Africans to Europe and mutually save both African and European economies, from spending millions of dollars, which they spend every year, trying to curtail their movement from Africa to Europe.

African countries, must in collaborations with regional and global institutions, such as African Development Bank and World Bank, design and implement policies and build institutions, that are job creation enhancing, and which provides for, creation of new rural micro- enterprises, larger scale agribusinesses, and agro- industrialization to thrive. This will not only contribute to transformation of rural economies and curbing of extreme poverty, but will also, create millions of jobs in agricultural and agricultural fed industrial sector, thus contributing to economic growth and development that is all- inclusive.

One youth from Uganda that I met recently had this to say, “Immediately after completing by Bachelor’s degree, in food science and technology in 2014, I underwent a basic agricultural training in passion fruits growing and juice making, armed with training and with funding from my parents and friends, I went to village and planted 4 acres of passion fruits. Initially I sold them, to fruits, making factories in raw form and earned good profit, which I later used to buy machines and other equipment’ to set up a medium juice making enterprise, which is now employing, 50 full time workers. I am now earning extremely very good profits from selling the juice to various institutions, and I am now working on securing a loan or a grant, to expand my factory and employ many more other people, as demand for my juice is higher than the supply”.

This in essence means that, access to timely funding from financial institutions, can make millions of unemployed African youth, to establish many small and medium enterprises, that has got the potential to turn into large scale industries, contributing to expanding of their countries’ economic and taxable base, but unfortunately lack of funding is their major constraint. To overcome this, African countries, must urgently put in place financial policy interventions, which unlocks the impasse that makes the youth, not to easily get timely funding to turn their entrepreneurship ideas into reality.

To attain this, activities such as establishment of an innovation and information labs that incubate new ideas and entrepreneurship, and scaling up establishment of well designed industrial parks complete with reliable power, access roads, guaranteed security, and other social amenities, which all stimulate private sector investments must be scaled up. These activities are very crucial in stimulating domestic investments and in attracting foreign direct investors, who are eager to come and massively invest in different sectors, to profit from the already existing large market driven by a high and skyrocketing population.

In sum, with abundance natural resources such as precious minerals, that are on high demand globally, and being home, to 60 percent of world’s arable land, coupled with expanding large market, Africa’s potential as destination of choice for investors is unquestionable. Virtually, all African sectors be it in, mining, oil and gas, agriculture, banking, among others, are very highly profitable for investors to invest in, either purely on private undertaking or through public private partnerships and investors must be genuinely and mutually interested in adding value to African products and create sustainable jobs that improves the welfare of Africa people.

*Moses Hetegeka is a Ugandan based Independent Governance Researcher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer

Email: moseswiseman2000@gmail.com

 

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It’s about to get easier for almost 700 million Africans to travel by air in Africa
January 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Abdi Latif Dahir*

Defined by long delays and cancellations, limited connections, rickety planes, and dilapidated runways, flying across Africa can sometimes be quite inconvenient. The problem is also compounded by the restrictive regulations and protectionism that hinder intra-nation travel, leading African airlines to lose $800 million in 2016, according to the World Bank.

Yet some of those problems are set to become history when the Single African Air Travel Market (SAATM) is launched by the African Union (AU) in late January. As one of the AU’s pan-African Agenda 2063flagship projects, the plan aims to improve air connectivity in Africa and use air transportation as an engine for economic growth, job creation, and integration.

The idea is based on the 1999 Yamoussoukro Decision, when African ministers responsible for civil aviation agreed to deregulate air services, put in place mechanisms for fair competition and dispute settlement, and liberalize frequencies and tariffs. As part of the agreement, countries would also free the exercise of up to fifth freedom rights for passengers and freight air services, allowing a carrier to fly between two countries on a flight originating or ending in its own country.

By setting this up, African nations hope to imitate and build on the single aviation markets in places like Europe and Latin America. The AU also hopes to encourage cross-border investment and innovation, improve business operations and efficiency, increased route competition resulting in lower fares, create more jobs, help airlines grow, and allow for the free mobility of people and goods.

So far, 21 countries that command more than 670 million of the continent’s population have committed to the plan. These include Benin, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone in the West; Kenya, and Rwanda in the East; Zimbabwe and South Africa in the south; and Egypt in the North. The single market is also host to eight of Africa’s top ten busiest airports including Bole International Airport in Ethiopia and O. R. Tambo in Johannesburg, South Africa. Up to 15 carriers, which account for more than 70% of intra-African air travel, have also signed up for the common market including Ethiopian Airlines, Kenya Airways, South African Express, and Egypt Air.

21 countries have-signed to the single african air transport market

21 countries have-signed to the single african air transport market

The move to liberalize air travel coincides with a push from African governments to open more borders and encourage inter-regional trade and tourism. Last year, Africans traveled more easily across the continent, and countries like Kenya, Namibia, and Ghana announced removing visa restrictions or granting visas on arrival. Local tourism in Kenya, Tunisia, and South Africa have also boosted domestic air travel, leading to the growth of budget carriers.

Yet despite the plan’s best intentions, African air travel still has a long way to go. Carriers like Kenya Airways or Nigeria’s Arik Air have struggled to make profit in recent years, plagued by debt or the results of a poorly timed expansion strategy. And unless more countries open up, government restrictions on visas and establishing air routes will continue hindering a potential five million Africans the chance to travel the continent, according to the International Air Transport Association. Air travel in nations like Somalia also have a long way to go before they can become fully integrated with the rest: after 27 years under the control of the United Nations, the country regained control of its airspace in Dec. 2017.

 **Courtesy of Quarz
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Africa startled by Trump’s sudden and vulgar attention
January 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

BY CARA ANNA*

U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd from L) poses with (L-R) Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, Guinea's President Alpha Conde, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, Vice-President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for a photo after an expanded session at the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7 plus the European Union in Taormina, Sicily, on May 27. JONATHAN ERNST/AFP/GETTY

U.S. President Donald Trump (3rd from L) poses with (L-R) Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, Guinea’s President Alpha Conde, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, Vice-President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn for a photo after an expanded session at the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7 plus the European Union in Taormina, Sicily, on May 27.
JONATHAN ERNST/AFP/GETTY

Africans woke up on Friday to find President Donald Trump had finally taken an interest in their continent. It wasn’t what people had hoped for.

Using vulgar language, Trump on Thursday questioned why the U.S. would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” in Africa rather than places like Norway in rejecting a bipartisan immigration deal. On Friday he denied using that language.

The African Union continental body told The Associated Press it was “frankly alarmed” by Trump’s comments.

“Given the historical reality of how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, this statement flies in the face of all accepted behavior and practice,” AU spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said. “This is particularly surprising as the United States of America remains a global example of how migration gave birth to a nation built on strong values of diversity and opportunity.”

Some African governments quickly found themselves in an awkward position. As top recipients of U.S. aid, some hesitated to jeopardize it by criticizing Trump, especially as his administration has sought to slash foreign assistance.

“Unless it was specifically said about South Sudan, we have nothing to say,” South Sudan government spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny told The Associated Press.

But Botswana’s government called Trump’s comment “reprehensible and racist,” saying the U.S. ambassador had been summoned to clarify whether the nation is regarded as a “shithole” country after years of cordial relations.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress called Trump’s comments “extremely offensive,” while opposition leader Mmusi Maimane called them “abhorrent … The hatred of Obama’s roots now extends to an entire continent.” Uganda’s state minister for international relations, Henry Okello Oryem, called the remarks “unfortunate and regrettable” and said he hopes African heads of state will reply at an African Union summit later this month.

African media outlets and the continent’s young, increasingly connected population were not shy, with some tweeting sleek photos of African landscapes and urban areas with the hashtag #shithole.

“Well, that is the perfect definition of racism. That is all I have to say,” Kenyan entrepreneur Wangui Muraguri told the AP in response to Trump.

“Casual Friday at the White House is soon to include hoods and tiki torches at this rate,” South African media outlet Daily Maverick wrote.

Many on the world’s second most populous continent reached for their smartphones, long-practiced in defending the vast and varied region from easy stereotypes. While 40 percent of the world’s poor live in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund, the region also has billionaires, reality shows and a growing middle class.

The World Bank on Friday tweeted that sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth this year is forecast at 3.2 percent. That was the U.S. economy’s annual rate of growth from July through September, according to Commerce Department data late last month.

Some in Africa quickly decided to own Trump’s vulgar language or throw it back in his face.

“Good morning from the greatest most beautiful ‘shithole country’ in the world!!!” South African Broadcasting Corporation anchor Leanne Manas tweeted.

“As someone from South Shithole, Trevor is deeply offended by the president’s remarks,” The Daily Show tweeted of its South African-born host, Trevor Noah.

In Kenya, East Africa’s economic hub, political activist Boniface Mwangi pleaded: “Please don’t confuse the #shithole leaders we Africans elect with our beautiful continent.”

Trump’s comments were “shocking and shameful” and “I’m sorry, but there’s no other word one can use but racist,” said a spokesman for the U.N. human rights office, Rupert Colville.

Trump’s comments highlighted months of concerns about his lack of focus on Africa, including empty ambassadorial posts in key countries like South Africa, Egypt, Congo and Somalia. A list maintained by the Washington-based American Foreign Service Association says eight such posts are vacant.

Trump has expressed negative opinions about the continent in the past. “Every penny of the $7 billion going to Africa as per Obama will be stolen – corruption is rampant!” he tweeted in 2013.

The U.S. president is only hurting himself both at home and abroad, some Africans said.

“He has not only insulted Africans, he has also insulted African-Americans,” said Sylvester Odion Akhaine, associate professor of international relations at the Lagos State University in Nigeria. “Internationally, such language will deepen the isolation of the United States, a country that is already losing its global prestige.”

An opposition lawmaker in Ghana called for a boycott by developing countries against the United States until Trump leaves office. “The sooner he is made aware that America needs the world and the world needs America the better it is for all of us,” Ras Mubarak said.

As outrage spread, the U.S. government’s own Africa Media Hub tried to put out the flames.

Without directly referring to Trump’s statement, it tweeted that “US remains committed to working together w/Africans to realize the promise of a more peaceful, more productive, more prosperous 21st century Africa. US deeply respects the people of #Africa & values its partnerships with them.”

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Africa: Botswana Condemns Remarks Made by President Trump
January 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Earl R. Miller, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana with President Khama

Earl R. Miller, U.S. Ambassador to Botswana with President Khama

The Ministry of International Affairs & Cooperation wishes to inform the public and the international community that the Government of Botswana, today summoned the US Ambassador to Botswana to express its displeasure at the alleged utterances made by the President of the US, Donald Trump, when he referred to African countries and others as “shithole countries” during a meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers at the White House on Thursday 11 January 2018.

The Botswana Government has also enquired from the US Government through the Ambassador, to clarify if Botswana is regarded as a “shithole” country given that there are Botswana nationals residing in the US, and also that some of Batswana may wish to visit the US. The Government of Botswana is wondering why President Trump, must use this descriptor and derogatory word, when talking about countries with whom the US has had cordial and mutually beneficial bilateral relations for so many years.

Botswana has accepted US citizens within her borders over the years and continues to host US guests and senior government officials, including a Congressional delegation that will come to Botswana at the end of this month; that is why we view the utterances by the current American President as highly irresponsible, reprehensible and racist.

Botswana calls on SADC, the AU and all other progressive nations across the world to strongly condemn the remarks made by President Trump.

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Nigerian baby born on migrant rescue ship inspires song for Eurovision contest
January 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Baby Mercy and mother aboard migrant ship

Baby Mercy and mother aboard migrant ship

AN electro-pop song called “Mercy” by French duet Madame Monsieur is competing to represent France in the 63rd edition of the European song contest Eurovision in May. The piece tells the unique story of a toddler born on a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea.

“I am all those children taken by the sea”. There’s a stirring story behind the lyrics (originally in French) of this unreleased new song from Paris-based electro-pop band Madame Monsieur: one of a migrant baby born onboard a rescue ship a few months ago.

“Mercy is a positive song that intends to show that there’s always hope even when it all seems lost, as long as we keep a bit of humanity,” wrote duet’s Emilie Satt and Jean-Karl Lucas on their Facebook page on 1 January. They also proudly announced that the song was entering the competition to represent France in the famous European song contest Eurovision next May in Portugal.

Baby Mercy let out her first cry on 21 March 2017, on board the Aquarius. This humanitarian ship, operated by the two NGOs Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée, had just rescued 945 migrants and was about to dock at Catania’s port in Italy when the baby girl was welcomed to the world.

“What a memorable moment of emotion for the entire crew”, recalls French journalist Grégory Leclerc who was then reporting alongside the rescue team.

“Taiwo, her Nigerian mum, is doing well”, he said back then, adding that the captain of the Aquarius had signed the birth certificate himself “with great emotion.”

Births are quite unusual onboard rescue ships furrowing the Mediterranean sea. It was only the fourth one on the Aquarius, which started its operations in February 2016.

Mercy’s mother made the journey alone. As for her dad, he was still in a Libyan prison at the time of the birth. “We haven’t got any news since then”, said SOS Mediterranée on a Facebook post.

Madame Monsieur’s song will be fully unveiled late January on French TV. The band will be participating in a show to try to convince a jury and the public that Mercy has what it takes to win the European contest nest May in Portugal.

*African Courier/Real News

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Bell backs Cameroon’s preparations for 2019 Afcon
January 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

By John Bennett*

Bell (left) has backed Cameroon to deliver despite being an outspoken critic in the past

Bell (left) has backed Cameroon to deliver despite being an outspoken critic in the past

Former international Joseph-Antoine Bell says Cameroon will be ready to host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, ahead of an inspection visit by the Confederation of African Football (Caf).

Caf is set to tour the various host cities from Friday onwards, amidst long-standing concerns about the country’s preparations.

“Being on track is definitely the truth – Cameroon is on track,” Bell told BBC Sport.

Caf president Ahmad has repeatedly said that an alternative host will be found if Cameroon is not ready on time.

In August, the Malagasy said Cameroon would ‘have to work to convince Caf’ of its ability to host the finals, which expanded from 16 to 24 teams in July.

“I’m not convinced Ahmad wants any problem with anybody,” added the former goalkeeper, who has worked on occasions with the Caf president since his election last March.

“He said Cameroon wasn’t ready but this is because Cameroonian people – especially the press – were leaking such bad news.

“But remember Cameroon hosted the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and they succeeded like nobody before, so why not trust them to do something wonderful.”

Cameroon hosted the Women’s Nations Cup in 2016 to widespread acclaim as vast numbers of spectators turned out for matches in the eight-team tournament.

Cameroon are the reigning African champions, having triumphed in Gabon last year

Cameroon are the reigning African champions, having triumphed in Gabon last year

The inspection visit, which will be carried out by independent business consultancy Roland Berger, will start in Yaounde on 12 January before trips to Garoua, Bafoussam, Douala and either Limbe or Buea.

It will end with a visit to the Caf Centre of Excellence in Mbankomo on 23 January.

“People are behaving like this will be the first and the last inspection,” said Bell, who won two African crowns with Cameroon (in 1984 and 1988).

“This is just the first inspection and it’s coming to see step-by-step how far you are in the preparation of the Nations Cup.

“So it’s not like tomorrow morning they will tell us they will take away the organisation from Cameroon. I know people have talked about this before but it doesn’t work like that.”

“They do not have to be ready now, they have to be ready in at least March 2019. I’m totally convinced Cameroon will be ready.”

The 2019 tournament will take place in June and July after Caf moved the timing of the tournament from January and February.

Morocco, which will host this month’s African Nations Championship, has said it will step in as host should Cameroon be unable to stage Africa’s most prestigious sporting event.

 *BBC
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AFC & Harith Appoints Inaugural CEO of Anergi
January 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Enos Banda, CEO of Anergi

Enos Banda, CEO of Anergi

LONDON, United Kingdom, 11 January 2018,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Enos Banda has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Anergi, the major African power company established through the joint venture between Africa Finance Corporation (“AFC”) and Harith General Partners (“Harith”).

 
Anergi was established through the merger of the power investments of AFC and Harith, the two pre-eminent institutional investors based in Africa, bringing their experience and expertise together to create a new entity that combines both renewable and non-renewable power assets in Africa.
 
The joint venture has over 1,786 MW of gross operational and under-construction capacity which will supply reliable energy to  over 30 million people in 5 African countries.
 
Anergi comprises AFC’s interests in Cenpower, owner of the Kpone Independent Power Project under construction in Ghana, and Cabeolica, a wind farm that provides 20% of Cape Verde’s energy needs, with those of the Pan Africa Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) which is managed by Harith. The Harith interests include the Azura Edo IPP in Nigeria, the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project in Kenya, Kelvin Power Station in South Africa and the Rabai Thermal project in Kenya. Collectively this portfolio represents some of the largest recent independent power projects in Africa’s energy sector.
 
Enos began his career as a member of the New York Bar, working with White & Case LLP, a prestigious international law firm for which he helped establish a successful presence in South Africa, where he is also an Advocate of the Supreme Court. He is also an investment banker, having served as Sub-Saharan Africa Head for Global Investment & Corporate Banking and Country Head for two leading global investment banks.  He has advised on major infrastructure projects, including a major electricity industry operator listed on the London Stock Exchange in relation to significant IPP bids and capital raising. 
 
Enos’s experience in the electricity sector includes serving as the regulator of the South African electricity industry and, serving as CEO of Eskom Enterprises (Pty), the asset formation and maintenance arm of the Eskom Group, the largest producer of electricity in Africa. Eskom Enterprises is responsible for non-regulated electricity, supply industry activities, electricity supply and served as a generation and transmission utility outside South Africa. This includes project development, construction, operations, maintenance and energy solutions across Sub Saharan Africa including Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania as well as Libya. He was responsible for a nine-fold net profit turnaround in his first year as CEO. This experience has also accorded him with a track record of operating at key ministerial and government levels across Africa.
 
Andrew Alli, President and CEO of AFC and Chairman of the Board of Directors at Anergi commented on the announcement: “We are thrilled to welcome Enos as CEO of Anergi. In addition to an impressive record in Africa’s infrastructure finance space, Enos has also served as CEO of Africa’s largest producer of electricity.
 
“It is precisely because of this experience that we believe he is best positioned to become the inaugural CEO of our joint venture with Harith. Whilst generation is steadily increasing, access to power remains one of the major barriers to economic prosperity in Africa. This venture will play an important role in closing this gap.”
 
Tshepo Mahloele, CEO of Harith General Partners also commented on the announcement: “The energy deficit Africa faces calls upon all of us to expedite and increase our efforts in closing this gap. Key to doing this is pulling together experienced pairs of hands together with substantial capital and other existing assets.
 
“An experienced pair of hands is precisely what Enos brings to the table. A confident, well established, self-starter, Harith is delighted to have him on board, and look forward supporting him in maximising the potential of Anergi in development power projects across the continent”.
AFC, an investment grade multilateral finance institution, was established in 2007 with an equity capital base of US$1 billion, to be the catalyst for private sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa.  With a current balance sheet size of approximately US$3.5 billion, AFC is the second highest investment grade rated multilateral financial institution in Africa with an A3/P2 (Stable outlook) rating from Moody’s Investors Service. AFC successfully raised US$750 million in 2015 and US$500 million in 2017; out of its Board-approved US$3 Billion Global Medium Term Note (MTN) Programme. Both Eurobond issues were oversubscribed and attracted investors from Asia, Europe and the USA. 
AFC’s investment approach combines specialist industry expertise with a focus on financial and technical advisory, project structuring, project development and risk capital to address Africa’s infrastructure development needs and drive sustainable economic growth.  AFC invests in high-quality infrastructure assets that provide essential services in the core infrastructure sectors of power, natural resources, heavy industry, transport, and telecommunications. To date, the Corporation has invested approximately US$4 billion in projects within 28 countries across North, East, West and Southern Africa.
Follow us on Twitter – @africa_finance
 
About Harith General Partners: www.harith.co.za
Harith General Partners is the leading Pan-African fund manager for infrastructure development across the continent. With offices in Johannesburg and Cote d’Ivoire; Harith manages Africa’s first and only 15-year US$630m infrastructure fund, the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund (PAIDF) 1 and recently announced the first close of the US$435m PAIDF2.
The funds are invested in a number of major projects in diversified sectors such as energy, transport, information and telecommunications, and water and sanitation. Harith recently added health care as a sector.
PAIDF is supported by African capital raised from state pension funds, development finance institutions, top investment banks and financial institutions.
Harith is also in a partnership with Asset and Resource Management Company Ltd (ARM), a leading Nigerian financial services company which currently manages over US$2.7bn of assets, to form the ARM-Harith Infrastructure Fund (ARMHIF). ARMHIF invests in infrastructure projects in West Africa.
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Kenya Airways starts ticket sales for its non-stop daily flight to New York
January 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
Kenya Airways becomes the first airline to offer a non-stop flight between East Africa and the United States of America
Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO Sebastian Mikosz

Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO Sebastian Mikosz

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 11, 2018/ — Kenya Airways (www.Kenya-Airways.com) today marks a great milestone with the launch of a non-stop flight from Nairobi to New York. The national carrier starts selling today tickets for the inaugural flight which is scheduled for October 28th this year.

Kenya Airways becomes the first airline to offer a non-stop flight between East Africa and the United States of America.

The airline already serves Africa, Europe, Middle-East, Indian sub-continent and Asia. The opening of the US destination completes an essential piece for Kenya Airways’ network, cementing its position as one of the leading African carriers.

“This is an exciting moment for us. It fits within our strategy to attract corporate and high-end tourism traffic from the world to Kenya and Africa. We are honored to contribute to the economic growth of Kenya and East Africa.” said Kenya Airways Group Managing Director and CEO Sebastian Mikosz.

With over 40 American multinationals located in Nairobi and many more across Africa, the launch of daily flights is expected to further spur trade between America and Africa.

Kenya Airways will offer its customers a unique travel experience between two great gateways. It will be the fastest connection from East Africa to New York, with a 15 hours duration eastbound and 14 hours westbound. The ultra-long-haul flight, unique to Kenya Airways network, will require 4 Pilots and 12 Flight attendants as well as 85 tons of fuel each way, making it an exceptional operation.

The airline will operate its state of the art Boeing 787 Dreamliner with a capacity of 234 passengers. The flight will depart every day from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub in Nairobi at 23:25 arriving at JFK airport in New York at 06:25 the following day. From New-York it will depart at 12:25 landing at JKIA at 10:55 the following day. Its duration will be 15 hours east bound and 14 hours west bound.

This convenient schedule will allow connections to and from over 40 African destinations through Kenya Airways hub in Nairobi.

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