Standard Chartered & USAID’s USD60 million partnership boosts Zambia’s power grid
June 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
Transaction is USAID’s largest Power Africa transaction to date
Standard Chartered continues to deliver on its commitment to bridge Africa’s power gap by facilitating, coordinating and arranging transactions which boost the capacity of national power grids and access to electricity across Africa. In this latest milestone transaction, Standard Chartered has partnered with the U. S. Government, through USAID, to deliver a term loan worth USD 60 million to Zambia’s Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), making this one of the largest facilities that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has delivered within President Obama’s ‘Power Africa’ partnership since the campaign’s launch in 2013. The loan will finance capital expenditure tor ZESCO’s Lusaka Transmission and Distribution Rehabilitation Project (LTDRP) as well as provide bridge financing to facilitate new connections to the grid.
“Part of ZESCO’s strategic plan is to improve the quality of electricity and enhance connections to the national grid,” commented ZESCO’s Managing Director, Victor Mundende. “USAID and Standard Chartered’s support has already delivered more than 15,000 new power connections. Furthermore, some of the funds provided will be used for other scheduled power system upgrades, contributing to new and existing connections to homes and businesses across the country. ZESCO remains committed to meeting its aspirations of electrifying 60% of Zambia by 2030.”
USAID/Zambia Mission Director, Michael Yates, added, “Power Africa is a broad partnership which aims to boost economic development, by providing access to electricity to homes and businesses across Africa. This is one of our largest commitments in Africa to date, and will enable us to meet a critical need for a quarter of a million Zambians and the economy as a whole.”
This facility is Standard Chartered Zambia’s longest tenor and largest facility provided to a Zambian parastatal entity to date. Andrew Okai, CEO of Standard Chartered Zambia, commented, “By using our strengths in structuring financial solutions which promote economically enhancing partnerships and improve the lives of individuals, Standard Chartered can demonstrate our promise to be Here for good. This is the Bank’s second Power Africa partnership to benefit Zambia, with the first being Standard Chartered’s Private Equity investment in Zambian Energy Corporation.”
Newly appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Group’s Corporate & Institutional Banking division, Simon Cooper, joined the signing ceremony in Lusaka, during his first Africa roadshow since joining the Bank earlier this year, “This transaction correlates directly with ‘Energy & Climate Change’ – the central theme for African Development Bank’s AGM which was hosted in Lusaka, Zambia this last week. Africa accounts for around a sixth of the world’s population, but only generates 4% of its electricity. Through our commitment to Power Africa partnerships – such as the one we have officiated with ZESCO – Standard Chartered will continue to support infrastructure development which provides a solid platform for long term economic growth.”
For this ZESCO / USAID partnership, Standard Chartered acted as the Global Coordinator, Structuring Bank, Bookrunner, Mandated Lead Arranger, Facility Agent and Account Bank. The international bank demonstrated its commitment to President Obama’s Power Africa campaign, which was launched in 2013, by more than doubling its original commitment to USD5billion.
ZESCO Limited is a vertically integrated parastatal whose primary business is to generate, transmit, distribute and supply electricity within Zambia as well as exporting to the Southern Africa Power Pool (“SAPP”) countries. It was established in 1970, and its governance has evolved over time to one that defines an arms-length relationship with Government of Zambia.
ZESCO has installed generation capacity of 2,224 MW which comprises 2,212 MW hydro (99%) and 11.3 MW diesel (1%).
The company owns approximately 39,000km of power transmission and distribution lines and has an installed substation capacity of 5,000 MVA in power transformation infrastructure. ZESCO has four licenses for its strategic business units, generation, transmission, distribution and supply.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. Currently active in over 100 countries worldwide, USAID was born out of a spirit of progress and innovation, reflecting American values and character, motivated by a fundamental belief in doing the right thing. When crisis strikes; when rights are repressed; when hunger, disease, and poverty rob people of opportunity; we act on behalf of the American people to help expand the reach of prosperity and dignity to the world’s most vulnerable.
Power Africa, an initiative led by the U.S. Government, aims to increase the number of people in of sub-Saharan Africa who have access to power. Launched by President Obama in 2013, Power Africa works with African governments and private sector partners to remove barriers that impede sustainable energy development in sub-Saharan Africa and unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, biomass, and geothermal resources on the continent.
Power Africa’s goals are to increase electricity access by adding more than 30,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections across sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa also includes the Beyond the Grid sub-initiative, which works to expand rural electrification and access to small scale and off-grid technology.
We are a leading international banking group, with around 84,000 employees and a 150-year history in some of the world’s most dynamic markets. We bank the people and companies driving investment, trade and the creation of wealth across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Our heritage and values are expressed in our brand promise, Here for good.
Standard Chartered PLC is listed on the London and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges as well as the Bombay and National Stock Exchanges in India.
African Development Bank says continent far from debt crisis
May 31, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Matthew Hill*
Africa is a long way from facing a debt crisis even as commercial lending to the continent soars and Mozambique became the first regional country to miss a payment on a dollar loan this year, according to a senior official at the African Development Bank.
Debt levels across the continent’s 54 countries average 17 percent to 18 percent of GDP, which is low, Abebe Shimeles, acting director in the AfDB’s development research department, said Thursday in an interview at the lender’s annual meetings in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital.
“In terms of the continent we are not even close, forget about crisis, we are not even close to a debt burden, especially the external debt,” said Shimeles. “It’s not systemic now. It’s not that all African countries are exposed to a debt crisis. The bad news is sometimes heard faster than the good news.”
Countries on the continent raised $26 billion in Eurobonds from 2006 to 2014 and a further $12 billion last year, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said on May 24 when he officially opened the meetings, warning a debt crisis must be avoided. While foreign-currency debt has soared, currencies on the continent have weakened, making repayments more costly as economic growth slows.
“Some countries have also experienced a spike in their debt levels that may be worrying in particular cases, unless they take measures to contain it,” Shimeles said. “The AfDB and other multilaterals can learn from previous mistakes and really step in with a solution to manage the debt, restructure it and also undertake some necessary reforms before we reach a level of crisis.”
Dollar debt sold by sub-Saharan African nations have returned 6.3 percent this year, compared with the 7.1 percent average return for emerging markets. Average yields have climbed to 7.63 percent, compared with 5.8 percent a year ago, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The bank would consider assisting countries that ask for it, and could work with other lenders including the International Monetary Fund, he said. Nigeria is already in talks with the AfDB for a $1 billion facility.
Growth on the continent will probably exceed the 4.5 percent the AfDB forecast for 2017 in a report published this week, Shimeles said. Domestic demand in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Sudan will lead to “much higher” economic expansion, he said.
“I believe that Nigeria has now taken the right steps in terms of the macro-economy,” he said.
Africa’s biggest economy this month cut fuel subsidies and signaled a more flexible exchange rate policy for the naira, which has been pegged to the dollar for 15 months.
“We are optimistic,” said Shimeles. “Still, this doesn’t mean we deny the headwinds. They are strong but I think the economies are resilient.”
New Book Highlights “The Most Influential Contemporary African Diaspora Leaders”
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Dr. Roland Holou*
Many books have been written about people of African descent, but so far no single volume has highlighted the lives, visions, achievements, policies, and strategies of exceptional contemporary African Diaspora leaders across the globe. To fill the gap, an International Selection Committee composed of some of the top African diaspora Leaders in the Caribbean, Europe, North America, South America, and West Africa was created to nominate and vet recipients of “The Most Influential Contemporary African Diaspora Leaders Honor.” For the first edition of this book, 30 leaders were featured in detail and out of the 50 chapters of this 336 page book, one was devoted to each. Others chapters were devoted to one hundred other nominees whose contribution warranted their inclusion in this book.
The stories of these Leaders showcase the diversity, complexity, and richness of the ongoing global African Diaspora engagement efforts. Their experiences of struggle, failure, growth and success will motivate current and future generations of people of African descent to take initiative, provide guidance to those interested in Africa’s development, and promote interest in the growing field of diaspora engagement. The featured leaders are known for their long-lasting achievements. Their bold actions contributed to important historical movements that significantly shaped and transformed the lives and history of people of African descent and removed major roadblocks preventing the prosperity of Africa and its Diaspora. They have brought about enormous and rare progress that would have been impossible without their leadership, including economic and political development of Africa and its Diaspora. To get your copy of the book, please visit www.AfricanDiasporaLeaders.com/order
Some of the initiatives featured in the book include the African Union African Diaspora Sixth Region Initiative, Healthcare Reform in Africa, Pan-Africanism, Global Anti-Racism Initiatives, International Decade for People of African Descent, Implementation of the UN Durban Declaration and Programme of Action; the Commission on Reparations, the Hebrew Israelites, the Initiatives of the Central American Black Organization; the World Diaspora Fund For Development; the Projects of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century; the Pan-Afrikan Reparations Coalition in Europe, the Pan-African Holiday Kwanzaa; the Educational Initiatives of Steve Biko Cultural Institute in Brazil, the Initiatives of DiasporaEngager concerning the Map of the Diaspora and their Stakeholders, the Diaspora Directory and the Global Diaspora Social Media Platform; the Initiatives of the African Diaspora in Australia and Asia Pacific; the AU Sixth Region Diaspora Caucus Organization in the USA; the “Taubira Law” Voted by the French Republic to Recognize that the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean are a Crime Against Humanity; The Global Movement for Reparatory Justice; the Ratification of the Article 3q of the AU Constitutive Act which “invites and encourages the full participation of the African Diaspora as an important part of Africa; the Economic Development for Black Empowerment in America and Europe; the African Diaspora Contribution to Democracy and Development in Africa, the Caribbean, Central and South America; the Initiatives of the Brazilian Association of Black Researchers; the Oprah Effect; the Promotion of the Black Population in Brazil; the Palmares Cultural Foundation in Brazil; the Celebrations of Zumbi dos Palmares in Brazil; the Caribbean Community [CARICOM] Commission on Reparation and Social Justice; the Initiatives of famous Prophet Shepherd Bushiri (Major1, the World’s Sharpest Major Prophet), and many initiatives in the USA, etc.
Some of the struggles still faced by the African Diaspora and discussed in the book relate to: Afrophobia, civil rights, denial of justice and devaluation of Black lives, education with curricula full of “lies” regarding history and history of scientific discoveries, healthcare problems, high rates of unemployment and imprisonment, housing problems, institutional racism and slavery, lack of access to good education and justice, media which persistently diffuse open racist stereotypes, multiple forms of discrimination, police violence, political and economic marginalization and stigmatization, poverty, racial discrimination, vulnerability to violence, xenophobia and related intolerance and discrimination. The book also addressed some of the strategical mistakes and divisions among the Continental African Diaspora and the Historical African Diaspora.
If you are interested in learning the secrets, agendas, strategies and potential of these modern leaders, then this is the book for you. Since influence can at times have negative effects, this book also addresses the destructive actions of certain leaders that are pulling down both Africa and its people. To learn more about the recipients, please visit www.AfricanDiasporaLeaders.com/recipient. Join the International Diaspora Engagement Social Media Platform today by creating a free account .
About the Author
Dr. Roland Holou is a scientist, businessman, and an international consultant in Agriculture/Agribusiness, Biotechnology, Diaspora Engagement, and Africa Development. He is the Founder and CEO of DiasporaEngager, www.DiasporaEngager.com and the architect of the map of Diaspora and their stakeholders . To learn more about him and contact him www.RolandHolou.com.
Here are the books in the third annual African Politics Summer Reading Spectacular
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
Continuing the tradition we started two years ago, this summer will see the third installment of the annual African Politics Summer Reading Spectacular. Over the course of the summer, we will feature posts about newly published books in African politics — broadly defined. Not all of the books are written by political scientists – in fact, No. 10 is a work of fiction translated from Italian.
The common thread of these books is that they have something to do with important questions in African politics, such as women’s rights, election violence and the resource curse, to name a few. To try to expand our horizons a bit this year, we’ve included two books that were translations of texts previously published in another language.
We’ll have guest posts by the authors, reviews by us, and author Q&As. This is where you come in — if you have questions for the authors, please ask them in the comments section below or on Twitter using the hashtag #APSRS16.
We’ll be posting about these books on Fridays this summer, starting next week and following the tentative schedule below (subject to change). Please join us by reading along, asking questions of the authors and letting us know what you thought about each book.
- June 3 – We start off the series with a bonus book week (why read one book on violence and resistance in Rwanda when you can read two?!?): “Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship,” by Anjan Sundaram and “From War to Genocide: Criminal Politics in Rwanda, 1990-1994,” by André Guichaoua and translated by Don Webster
- June 10 – “The Paradox of Traditional Leaders in Democratic Africa,” by Kate Baldwin
- June 17 – “Making Sense of the Central African Republic,” edited by Tatiana Carayannis and Louisa Lombard
- June 24 – “Bargaining for Women’s Rights: Activism in an Aspiring Muslim Democracy,” by Alice Kang
- July 1 – “The US Military in Africa: Enhancing Security and Development?,” edited by Jessica Piombo
- July 8 – “To Live Freely in This World: Sex Worker Activism in Africa,” by Chi Adanna Mgbako
- July 15 – “Women and Power in Postconflict Africa,” by Aili Tripp
- July 22 – Bonus book week features a twin bundle of books on politics and health in Africa: “Preaching Prevention: Born-Again Christianity and the Moral Politics of AIDS in Uganda,” by Lydia Boyd and “The Experiment Must Continue: Medical Research and Ethics in East Africa, 1940–2014,” by Melissa Graboyes
- July 29 – “Ken Saro Wiwa,” by Roy Doron and Toyin Falola
- August 5 – “Queen of Flowers and Pearls,” by Gabriella Ghermandi and translated by Giovanna Bellesia-Contuzzi and Victoria Offredi Poletto
- August 12 – “Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa: Causes and Consequences,” by Stephanie Burchard
- August 19 – “Oil Wealth and Insurgency in Nigeria,” by Omolade Adunbi
*Source Washington Post . Kim Yi Dionne is Five College Assistant Professor of Government at Smith College. She studies identity, public opinion, political behavior, and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries.Follow @dadakim
Southern Africa faces impact of migratory pests due to climate change
May 25, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire*
Climate change is reportedly bringing increased pressures of migratory birds and other pests impacting on people’s livelihoods in most parts of the southern African region, according to agricultural experts.
According to Dr Joseph Made, Zimbabwe’s minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development who opened the 38th regular session of the governing council of ministers of the International Red Locust Organisation for Central and Southern Africa (IRLCO-CSA) in Harare, the climate is changing in the region bringing higher temperatures and more frequent droughts than ever before.
“Army worm and quelea bird outbreaks have become more regular in Zimbabwe and other countries in southern Africa, while quelea bird attacks on small grain cereal crops has also increased in Kenya and
Tanzania,” Made said.
Pests such as armyworm, quelea birds, locusts and fruit fly reportedly migrate across international boundaries with no restrictions, causing damage to crops and plants in the environment. Experts says that a swarm of red locusts with 40 million individual insects is not uncommon during outbreaks, according to Made.
They say that a red locust will eat its own weight of food in a single day and on average, an adult weighs two grams. Therefore, a small swarm with 40 million individuals will potentially consume an estimated amount of 80 Metric Tonnes (MT) per day.
According to Made, experts also report that comparatively, the average daily food intake of a human being is 0,65kg.
“By implication, if a small swarm of the size alluded to earlier were to feed exclusively on a crop, it could deprive a total of 123 077 people of food in one day,” Made added signifying it as a frightening
He added that the threat from red locusts is as real today as it was at the formation of the International Red Locust Organisation-Central and Southern Africa office in 1949, after the devastating famines of
the late 1920s to the mid 1940s.
He cited the example of 2008 when a heavy swarming of red locusts escaped from the Dimba plains in Mozambique. The swarms reportedly invaded Malawi and Zimbabwe, but fortunately it occurred during the
dry season when they were fewer crops in the fields.
The International Red Locust Organisation Central and Southern Africa office quickly stepped in to control the pests at source and prevented further swarming and invasions of other countries both in eastern and southern Africa.
The International Red Locust Organisation mandate involves continuously managing and controlling red locusts at breeding sites in Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia.
Apart from red locust management, the organisation works closely with member states technical staff in the surveillance, coordination,data collection, synthesis and feedback on activities of other migratory pests such as army worm, quelea birds and the African migratory locust.
The organisation has carried out applied research in developing environmentally friendly methods of controlling migratory pests and training to agricultural staff, especially at locust breeding sites.
A red locust plague which occurred between 1930 and 1944 invaded many countries south of the equator in Africa.
“That vulnerability to a potential locust plague still lurks in the background, meaning we cannot let down our guard, but continue to support our organisation,” Made warned.
Julia Pierini, CEO of Birdlife Zimbabwe commenting on migration and migratory birds said that migratory birds are not pests by any means and through her organization’s monitoring they have recorded declining
numbers to southern Africa at an unsustainable rate.
“Many thousands of animal species migrate like insects, fish,frogs, birds and mammals. Time is of the essence in migration. The journey itself serves only to move the animal from one place to
another, where it will linger until a change in the environment stimulates a return trip. A voyage that takes too much of a species`annual cycle is not practical,” Pierini said.
She added that approximately 4000 species of birds migrate around our planet earth with songbirds, waterfowl, waders and shorebirds in the majority.
“The main driver is the need to exploit the best food resources,especially during the breeding season.The timing of migration is triggered by changes in day length, as yet not fully understood hormonal changes and local weather conditions,” she added.
Commenting on threats and concerns, Pierini said that migrant birds are facing a multitude of hazards both natural like predation from other animals, the weather and man-made. She said the ones caused by human activity and causing havoc include hunting and trapping, coastal development, wetland degradation,
deforestation, pollution ,long-line fishing, overhead powerlines , wind farms and Climate Change.
“Excessive hunting and trapping of millions of migratory birds over the Mediterranean Sea and across Africa is also depleting global migratory bird populations in an unsustainable manner,” Pierini said.
Africa: Resolved to Address African Problems Using African Solutions
May 24, 2016 | 0 Comments
By Baher Kamal*
Istanbul — The African Union (AU) representing 54 countries and home to 1,2 billion inhabitants, will be in Istanbul to participate in the May 23-24, 2016, first-ever World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) with two key demands – that the international humanitarian system be redefined, and a strong, firm own commitment to itself, to the continent and its people, anchoring on the primacy of the states.
In an interview with IPS on the eve of the WHS, the Head of Humanitarian Affairs, Refugees, and Displaced Persons Division at the AU Commission, Olabisi Dare said “All the key concerns that the AU will be raising at the World Humanitarian Summit is that there is a need for the redefinition of the international humanitarian system; this redefinition should take the form of a reconfiguration of the system.”
The Nigerian career diplomat and international civil servant with over 27 years international field and desk experience in Asia, Africa, Europe and America, added that the requested redefinition “should take the form of a reconfiguration of the system, it being understood that the existing system which is predicated on the UN Resolution 46 182 is to say the least not being faithfully implemented.”
It is therefore in this context that the African Union is going to Istanbul with its own commitments to itself, that is its own commitment to the continent and its people and one of the key things of this commitment is to anchor on the primacy of the states itself, “the State has the primary responsibility to its own people to satisfy their needs and to take care of their vulnerabilities,” said Olabisi.
“We look at these in several forms:
The African Union feels the State has to play the primary role of coordinating any and all humanitarian action that may take place within its territory; the States have in their efforts to alleviate the needs of its people; the States have also to maintain humanitarian space and have a responsibility to guarantee the safety of both the humanitarian workers and humanitarian infrastructure.
We note that the State has the capability and capacity in key areas like use of military assets in assisting humanitarian action-a key example is the use of military forces in Liberia and other acted countries the military was deployed to serve as the first line of defense to combat the spread of the disease.
That said, Olabisi remarked “We can’t over-emphasise the role of the State in ensuring that humanitarian action and relief is dispensed in an effective manner and we see that this in itself will effect humanitarian action more readily on the continent.”
Asked what are the African needed solutions that the AUC brings to the WHS, Olabisi, who was also senior Political/Humanitarian Affairs Officer at the African Union Mission in Liberia, with extensive experience in various aspects peace-building in a post conflict environment, including serving on the Technical Support Team to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Liberia, reaffirmed “The African Union will make proposals in terms of what it considers as the reconfiguration of the International Humanitarian systems.”
“Part of the solution is that there is a need for governments to play the primary role and a greater coordination role in order to fulfill the attributes of state in terms of its predictive and responsive nature and other attributes and this in itself is as part of what Africa has committed to do and if this find its way to the Secretary General’s report as part of the recommendation, this would be very good.”
Olabisi, who was involved in the return and rehabilitation programme of over 300,000 Liberian refugees from across the West Africa sub-region, added “We are also going to call for the re-engineering of resolution 46182 Strengthening of the coordination of humanitarian emergency assistance of the United Nations to reflect Africa’s views, to reflect the need to elevate the role of the state primarily to be to deliver to its people.”
The Resolution 46182 that Olabisi refers to, was adopted in 1991, setting as “Guiding Principles” that humanitarian assistance is of cardinal importance for the victims of natural disasters and other emergencies and must be provided in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality.
Guiding Principle 3 clearly states, “The sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States must be fully respected in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. In this context, humanitarian assistance should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle on the basis of an appeal by the affected country.”
And Guiding Principle 9 stresses, “There is a clear relationship between emergency, rehabilitation and development. In order to ensure a smooth transition from relief to rehabilitation and development, emergency assistance should be provided in ways that will be supportive of recovery and long-term development. Thus, emergency measures should be seen as a step towards long-term development.”
For its part, Guiding Principle 10 stresses, “Economic growth and sustainable development are essential for prevention of and preparedness against natural disasters and other emergencies. Many emergencies reflect the underlying crisis in development facing developing countries.
“Humanitarian assistance should therefore be accompanied by a renewal of commitment to economic growth and sustainable development of developing countries,” it adds. “In this context, adequate resources must be made available to address their development problems.”
“Contributions for humanitarian assistance should be provided in a way which is not to the detriment of resources made available for international cooperation for development,” says Guiding Principle 11.
Obalisi then recalled “When you look at the Common African Position (CAP) [on the post 2015 development agenda], you find that the first pillar speaks to the privacy of the state; all the other 9 pillar speak the same in one form or another.”
Africa will be calling on itself to be able to deliver more on resources and allocate more resources to humanitarian action, he added. “This is because it is mindful of the fact that the resource portals are dwindling from the north.”
Asked what are the outcomes that Africa would most expect from the WHS, Olabisi said that Africa expects the guarantee that international humanitarian system will be reconfigured to conform with new demands and address the issues faced by the humanitarian system at the moment – one of the main outcome the Summit will deliver.
“Africa is making these commitments to itself-due to the non-binding nature of the summit. The commitments Africa has made go beyond the WHS whether the summit is binding or not it will not affect what Africa is committed to, in its own self-interest and this is one of the key recommendations we will be taking to WHS.”
He stressed that Africa’s commitments are not to the WHS but the Summit “gives us an opportunity to discuss a paradigm shift in terms of the way we do things in the humanitarian field in Africa and also to see that we can positively add to the mitigation and alleviation of the sufferings of our people when disasters and displacements occur.”
“One of the key things to note is that Africa will go ahead with its own commitments, “our resolve to come up with something that is workable, pragmatic, and something that will make us see ourselves in a light that puts us in a position to help ourselves despite the grand bargain on Africa being shut out of the whole system,” Olabisi emphasised.
“Africa however is resolved to begin addressing its own problems using African solutions to African problems.”
President Kaunda, where is the book?
May 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Current leaders and the citizens can learn a lot from books authored by previous presidents. Zambia would benefit tremendously from hearing from President Kenneth Kaunda, the founding president who was in power for 27 years. How and why did he make the many momentous and not-so-momentous decisions during his time in office? He owes Zambians explanations.
It is my submission that presidents owe us good governance when they are in office and owe us another obligation when they retire – and that is to explain to the nation the reasons they made certain choices of crucial importance when they were in power. Even if some explanations may be informed by post-facto justifications and not afore-thought decisional predilections, they are still worth more than nothing at all. There are so many questions that require answers concerning the governorship of the most consequential president in Zambian history. This is the president who delivered us from colonialism, the president who stitched the nation together when it could have torn itself into tribal and regional fiefdoms; the Barotse region wanted independence, Nkumbula after being the second leader of the independence party after Lewanika, was sidelined to heading a party centred in Southern Province.
The president put together the most tribally-representative cabinet to date, including well-educated and technocratic ministers; the president built the first university; the first president decided that aiding the liberation movement at great economic and political and other costs to the nation was a worthy goal; the president determined that social spending in health and education was the way to go; he decided that it was a great call to encourage diversification into agriculture by giving cheap loans for fertilizers and agricultural equipment and to build farrows (migelos) to stem soil erosion; that national military service for students built national character; that ‘one Zambia one nation’ should be pursued; that non-alignment in international politics was a safer foreign policy method; that the Tazara Railway line be built by the Chinese and that Zambia become a one-party state; and more than a million other decisions. A lot of questions have been raised. We need answers.
What influenced Dr. Kaunda to make all the crucial decisions indicated above? Why and by what processes? How? Does he regret any one of them? Could he have appointed another minister and not the other one? How and why did he ignore tribal sentiments and how did he handle tribal sentiments? If he were to govern now, what would he do the same or differently?
A lot of former presidents have written books after leaving office. I like the books written by Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Ian Smith’s book is a dynamite. De Clerk has written a book. Mandela wrote several books after leaving office. Tony Blair has explained why he did what he did. Fidel Castro’s book is second to none. Obasanjo of Nigeria has several books written by him with the assistance of my former colleague from Canada. Nkrumah is my hero in writing books. And so on.
Current leaders can learn a lot from books authored by previous presidents. The nation of Zambia would benefit tremendously from hearing from President Kaunda. Maybe some of the criticisms about his governorship would be tempered if we heard directly as to why he made certain policies and decisions.
One of the easiest books to write is a presidential memoir. Presidents have daily memo and appointment books. There are minutes written of most things they do. The people they meet, like other presidents, also keep daily official minutes. The president’s life is regimented so it is easy to obtain the information from the diaries which are official and from other official documents. The books of Mandela, Clinton, Carter, Blair and so on clearly indicate that they are derived from official diaries. A president can fill in the gaps. So why not write now, Dr. Kaunda? This is not for personal gratification. It is for the benefit of Zambia. Presidential immunities continue after leaving office, so should the obligation to impart knowledge and experience to Zambia through a book or books.
I also know how easy it is to write from dairies and documents. I penned my book ‘Thoughts Are Free: Prison Experience and Reflections on Law and Politics in General’ (1992) from the existing raw materials and recollections and talking to friends who experienced some events at the same time. A president can have a team of authors or ghost-writers. It is permitted. It is not a secret.
I am reliably informed that President Kaunda has a book but that one of his children is said to have spirited it away and it has not been released. That book if it exists is not a family book. It is a common heritage to Zambia and humankind for their benefit.
President Kaunda will forever remain the most important and consequential leader Zambia ever had, thus he owes us as Zambians, the benefit of the gravitas that enabled him to steer the Zambian ship safe to harbour for 27 years.
West Africans have a saying that when an old man dies, a library burns to the ground. Can you imagine how many millions of libraries burn when a President dies? President Kaunda, where is the book?
* Source Pambazuka. Dr. Munyonzwe Hamalengwa teaches law at Zambian Open University and is the compiler of ‘The Case Against Tribalism in Zambia’. He is also the author of ‘Thoughts Are Free.’
US$7 Million Prize to Fund African Renewable Energy Projects
May 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Calling all entrepreneurs and developers of renewable energy projects in Africa
- Just three weeks left for entrepreneurs to enter the ACF competition which will see developers across the continent compete for funding and expertise
- Calling all entrepreneurs and developers of renewable energy projects in Africa
Access Power , a developer, owner and operator of power projects in emerging markets, today kicked off the countdown for applications to the ACF 2016, the second edition of its successful Access Co-Development Facility (ACF) for renewable energy projects in Africa.
ACF 2016 is a competition dedicated to finding local power project developers with credible renewable energy projects in Africa who need access to funding, technical experience, and expertise to bring their plans to life.
Following the competition’s successful launch last year, the ACF increased its funding from US$5m in 2015 to US$7m for this year’s winners. Up to three successful projects will be selected by a panel of expert judges whose decision will be based on commercial, technical and environmental merits, the local regulatory environment, and capability of the project team.
The winners of ACF 2016 will be announced on Tuesday 22nd June 2016 before a live audience during the Africa Energy Forum in London (see Notes to Editors for further details). The winners will enter a Joint Development Agreement with Access Power, which will take an equity stake in the winning projects and fund third-party development costs such as feasibility studies, grid studies, environmental and social impact assessments and due diligence fees. Access Power will also provide technical support, financial structuring and development process management.
Nasir Aku, ACF Program Manager at Access Power commented, “With just one month to go until the application deadline, we want to make sure that all local developers across the African continent are aware of this fantastic opportunity to secure valuable funding and expertise that can turn an idea for a renewable energy project into reality.”
ACF 2016 is leading the way in demonstrating and supporting the type of renewable energy projects that will help meet Africa’s massive and urgent need for electrification.
“Through this unique facility, we hope to encourage innovation and support companies in their efforts to deliver power to places that desperately need it. Last year we received a total of 55 submissions from 18 countries across Africa, including solar, wind, hydro, hybrid and bio-mass projects. The applications are coming in fast so 2016 looks set to build on that success.”
The inaugural ACF in 2015 was won by Quaint Solar Energy from Nigeria and Flatbush Solar from Cameroon. Other competing projects hailed from Cape Verde, Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa, Morocco, Ghana, Rwanda and Tanzania.
One project has already pre-qualified for ACF2016. A 25MW solar project being developed in Sierra Leone by Africa Growth and Energy Solutions (AGES) won the Solar Shark Tank competition at the Making Solar Bankable conference in Amsterdam on 18th February. In a keenly fought contest, three emerging markets developers competed for a US$100,000 grant to support the development of their solar projects, funded by Access Power and Dutch development bank FMO. Part of the prize, subject to terms and conditions, was pre-qualification for ACF2016.
- The independent judging panel of four judges will include industry and legal experts as well as representatives from multilateral development banks.
- Following a pre-selection process, a shortlist of applicants will be chosen to present their projects to a panel of judges at the Africa Energy Forum in London on the 22nd June 2016.
- Applicants must present their projects to the judging panel during the Forum within a given time and take questions from panel members.
- Panel members will score each project based on the evaluation criteria, using weighted percentages.
- ACF 2016 submission period runs from 18th February to 20th May, 2016.
Access Power (‘Access’) was founded in 2012 with the aim of becoming a leading developer, owner and operator of power assets in emerging and frontier markets. Access has assembled a development team with a track record of financially closing ~30 GW of power projects across the globe. Through its various subsidiaries, Access is currently developing power assets in over 20 countries in Africa and Asia. Access’ portfolio predominantly consists of renewable energy projects with a gross total investment cost of over US$ 1 billion.
Cameroonian – American Teen Accepted to Nine Prestigious Colleges
May 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
A local senior, Niven Achenjang of Knox Central High and The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Bowling Green, Kentucky has been accepted into all 9 prestigious colleges he applied to. The humble dual student, gives credit to his teachers, school mates and guidance counsellors at Knox Central and The Gatton Academy as well as his extended family, siblings, friends and St. Gregory church Barbourville for earning his way to this moment.
Niven Achenjang who was recently named a National Merit Finalist by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation received the coveted YES, Congratulations and admission offers from Western Kentucky University, Stanford University, University of Kentucky, (these three under the Early Action program), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vanderbilt University-TN, California Institute of Technology-Caltech, Georgia Institute of Technology-GeorgiaTech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-MIT and Harvard College. Rejection letters can worsen what many seniors and their parents consider as a stressful and frustrating college process, but hard work pays and hopefully future seniors would be inspired by this story.
Niven smiles as he quips praising the Lord and adding that he must have something that the highly competitive/selective schools see as being of value in him. May that be true and may I not fail my friends, family, school district and myself as I look forward to define my place in the world and in what the future holds. Mr. Results driven Niven, plans to major in Math and Computer Science technically called Mathematical and Computational Science, with specialization in Software Engineering at Stanford.
Asked why he selected Stanford, he said, he planned on studying computer science and researching in the field adding that it was his understanding that Stanford has one of the top CS programs in the nation. He just returned from the admit weekend visit at Stanford and recalls that he came across satisfied that Stanford offers a flexible curriculum in many subject areas, with a diverse student body, culturally and intellectually. Being a part of Stanford, I believe, will be challenging and help me grow as I am surrounded by people different than me. Stanford also has great weather, many nice places for outdoor activities (running, hiking, etc.), and connections to many big name companies.
Asked what inspires him most, he revealed that he was probably most inspired by impactful ends. When I find something new, he continues, I try to think about what it could lead into and what that could mean for me, the people around me, and the world at large. The dream of being a part of something that has a long lasting effect (on mankind?) is what inspires me to take the steps to achieve that end.
On whether, he felt Knox Central/Knox County had helped him grow, he answered in the affirmative. Definitely, he said, I have been in Knox County for most of my life. It is where I was raised for the most part, and it is where I had the experiences that have made me who I am. If it were not for all the support and advice from family, friends, teachers, and members of the community I have come to know; for all the good times I have had with them; and for all the times I have messed up and been steered right by one of them, I would not have been able to accomplish what I have. For this and more I am grateful to them and thankful to God
Finally, on how he felt looking back on his work and accomplishments, he said, I feel proud. Not only proud of what I have done, but proud of the fact that I did not do it alone. I am elated that I have been able to meet and befriend people who have been willing to help me along the way as I have gone through life.
Niven’s hobbies include track and field, cross country, frisbee, and community involvement.
*Previously published as a Special for The Times Tribune of KY, with caption KNOX COUNTY TEEN ACCEPTED BY TOP COMPETITIVE COLLEGES TO THE CLASS OF 2020!
Black Woman Rejected by Airline Decides to Start Her Own Airline — And Does!
May 2, 2016 | 1 Comments
When Sibongile Sambo, a 42-year old woman from South Africa, was told by South African Airways that she did not qualify for a flight attendant position because she did not meet their minimum height requirement, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
She became an entrepreneur, and started her very own airline called SRS Aviation, and until this day, her company is the only Black woman-owned and operated aviation company in Africa.
So, how did she do it?
Starting an airline is not an easy or cheap thing to do, but despite this, she was still able to get it off the ground.
First, she formed her company and gave it the name of SRS Aviation. Then, she bid and won a contract for cargo transport issued by the South African government and formed a partnership with MCC Aviation – a South African-based fixed & rotor wing charter operator. Finally, she sold her car and cashed out her mother’s pension to help her obtain an Air Operating Certificate from the South African Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). It wasn’t an easy process, but she was able to raise the needed capital and make it work!
Now, Sambo’s company offers their clients professional and personalized flight options to destinations in Africa and around the world. Their services include VIP charters, tourist charters, cargo charters, game count & capture, and helicopter services. Her customers pay anywhere from $1,000 USD to $200,000 USD per flight.
Sambo’s vision is to be the number one choice in affordable air service solutions for individuals and businesses, locally and worldwide, by providing an unparalleled air service. She also aims to uphold the highest safety standards.
When it comes to giving back to her local community, she is also very passionate about helping young people by sharing her knowledge and expertise. During a recent interview with CNN, she commented, “I’m where I am today because somebody invested in me. It’s my opportunity now to invest in other people.”
Carlos Lopes: To industrialise, Africa needs strong but smart states
May 2, 2016 | 0 Comments
“Africans have not negotiated well in a number of areas…Who’s fault is it? It’s Africa’s problem and they need to address it.”
African Arguments caught up with the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Executive Director to talk about economic transformation, what’s holding the continent back, and whether leaders will really take action in the wake of the #PanamaPapers.
In a lot of your work, you emphasise the need for Africa to undergo ‘structural transformation’. What does this mean, and why is industrialisation so important to it?
There is a whole literature about structural transformation, but in practical terms right now in Africa it means moving to higher productivity sectors. We see this happening in three particular areas. Firstly, there’s agricultural productivity, which is at its lowest in Africa yet offers incredible potential for minimising poverty and contributing to industrialisation through agro-processing. Secondly, there’s manufacturing, which requires policies that mimic part of the experience of successful industrialisation processes of the past but are much more adapted to African characteristics. And thirdly, there’s the service sector, which needs to become more integrated into the formal economy.
Industrialisation plays a critical role because it’s more than just the production of processed goods or value addition from natural resources. It’s also an enabler for a rising society and, being a latecomer, Africa can learn from the experiences of others and adjust. For Africa, issues such as the environment, for instance, can be tackled up front.
There are varying verdicts as to how African industrialisation is faring. Some emphasise that manufacturing as a share of Africa’s GDP has almost halved from its 20% level in 1970. But others highlight that manufacturing is increasing at 3.5% a year, faster than the global average. What’s your take?
If you measure it by manufacturing value added, which is the common preferred indicator, then yes it is true that in percentage GDP terms, African manufacturing is stagnating if not falling. But African economies have doubled in the last 15 years, so even if you maintain the same percentage it means a lot more industry has come on board. Moreover, this also doesn’t take into account a number of activities that we can consider industrial but aren’t counted in statistics because of delays in updating national accounts.
Our take is that industrialisation is increasing significantly in some countries, though not across the entire continent, and that we need to accelerate and aggressively.
What’s holding African industrialisation back? Is it insufficient infrastructure? Lack of imagination amongst policymakers? Trade treaties that constrain what governments are able to do?
It’s all of those but the important question is which of those comes first. I think the capacity for comprehensiveness that comes with an industrial policy is what is the most important, because if you tackle the issue from just a specific sector or enabler or dimension, you are never going to get your act together.
The countries that really move and industrialise always have the same recipe: a very strong state hand, but a state that is very smart, a state that is capable of introducing smart protectionism because crude protectionism is no longer available, a state that is capable of identifying the critical enablers like infrastructure, and a state that knows how to fund its policies whether through domestic resource mobilisation or astute borrowing.
In a recent ECA report, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Bilateral Investment Treaties and Economic Partnership Agreements are painted as significant barriers to African industrialisation. Do these agreements just need tweaking or are they inherently detrimental for Africa?
I think African countries have embarked on signing stuff they shouldn’t sign, but too bad for them. The WTO is a consensus-based mechanism that would allow for stalling, so if Africans don’t get their act together to stall the things that are bad for them, then that’s an African problem not a WTO problem.
I think Africans have not negotiated well in a number of areas. They are not taking advantage of space they already have. And Africans are also distracted by negotiating bilateral trade agreements before they finalise their own. Who’s fault is it? It’s Africa’s problem and they need to address it.
Given enormous global power imbalances, do you think it’s enough for African policymakers to just be slightly smarter and more imaginative under the current system, or do you think there needs to be more fundamental change too?
The moral and political dimension I leave for the media, NGOs, and civil society, though we should certainly give them ammunition so their claims are evidence-based. Where we can really make a difference is in deconstructing some untruths that have long been masquerading as truths. That’s why we’ve been plunging into legislative issues, contract negotiations, and investment and trade treaties to try and have a more informed discussion. We think a lot of space exists in these that Africans are not using. After all, countries that are good negotiators do get a better deal.
In terms of untruths, take this race to the bottom towards zero tax for investors for an example. Does it attract more investors in relation to potential competitors? No. Typically countries that are well organised and structured and that offer investors a package of incentives that are not tax-based are more attractive than ones offering tax incentives.
When it comes to illicit financial flows, through which $50 billion leaves Africa each year according to an ECA report, do you think leaders will seize this moment after the #PanamaPapers to implement real reforms?
There are various dimensions to the debate, but because of Mossack Fonseca we are currently focusing on one dimension: namely tax jurisdictions and how multinationals are taking advantage of different loopholes to move from one jurisdiction to another in order not to pay tax.
Another dimension, however, is the competition amongst financial centres. The City of London, for example, doesn’t want to lose its prominence as one of the leading financial centres of the world. This means that they have to stay ahead of competitors and protect a certain number of very complex legislative dimensions that will appear from a regulatory point of view to be very strong and powerful, but at the same time be lenient where they know competitors could have an edge.
There is certainly now a strong public push for regulators to put a bit of order to things. And I don’t think the rhetoric is hypocritical, but how far they will go and how much political leaders will embrace actual change is another matter.
Letter from Africa: Anger, fear and ‘Afrophobia’ in Zambia
April 28, 2016 | 0 Comments
In our series of letters from African journalists, film-maker and columnist Farai Sevenzo considers the implications for Zambia of recent riots.
Six bodies of murdered citizens have turned up in the Zambian capital Lusaka in the last month.
It was widely reported that the victims had been mutilated and were missing their hearts, ears and private parts.
At the heart of the matter lay the darkness of ritual killings – when people are murdered for their body parts in the malevolent belief that in the hands of powerful sorcerers, these organs can be employed as charms to enhance political ambition and improve the lot of individuals in the pursuit of business and money.
While no African imagination is bereft of these tales, the practice of ritual murder has been shocking because of the frequency of its occurrence.
Albinos have borne the brunt of it in Burundi, Tanzania and now Malawi – where just this week police arrested 10 men for allegedly killing a 21-year-old albino woman.
Other cases of ritual killings have been reported from Nigeria to South Africa.
As a short cut to riches and influence, ritual murders have never been proven to work or they would have long replaced the tried paths of education, ambition and sweat.
What they do instead is polish “Heart of Darkness” labels for constant use on a continent awaking to her full potential and the promise of a 21st Century free of superstition.
Hunger and unemployment
The consequences of these murders were to prove far more serious for President Edgar Lungu’s Patriotic Front (PF) government.
The residents of Lusaka’s townships of Zingalume, George and Matero – where the bodies were discovered – attacked the police with stones for not doing enough to protect them from the ritual murderers.
But far more insidious enemies have been stalking Zambia’s poor – hunger and unemployment.
The collapse of the Zambian copper trade as well as the kwacha currency and the onset of the southern African drought could easily be detected in the motives of the subsequent riots which saw xenophobic attacks on foreigners in Lusaka’s high-density suburbs.
The rioters took what they could to eat and blamed foreign shopkeepers for the ritual murders.
The “foreigners” under attack had spilled over the borders of the Democratic Republic of Congo and then into Zambia after the Rwandan genocide in 1994.
They were mainly Hutu refugees who had stayed on in Zambia, despite the UN refugee agency declaring Rwanda a safe destination for their return back in 2013.
There is nothing glamorous about being a refugee – for 22 years some 6,000 Rwandans have wandered stateless in Zambia without passports and legal status.
They then mingled with the locals in townships just like Zingalume, which are by no means upmarket addresses, and set up little shops to trade and survive.
It is in xenophobia’s nature to point the finger of blame at those foreigners who own something, who show evidence of money where there is none to be found.
The former Rwandans found themselves seeking shelter in churches and assurances for their safety from the Zambian government with more than 700 displaced after two days of rioting.
In the short and dangerous history of xenophobia in South Africa and now Zambia, the word “foreigner” invariably refers to black Africans, not to the Portuguese escaping Lisbon’s meagre prospects for the oil fields of Luanda, or the Chinese who run Zambia’s copper mines, supermarkets and chicken farms.
Afrophobia is our xenophobia; it appears to be as African and as regular as ritual murders and deserves to be shunned.
Freedom fighters welcomed
Zambia’s history of welcoming Africans without a home is legendary.
South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) was based in former President Kenneth Kaunda’s Zambia as they fought apartheid, as were Zimbabweans fighting white-minority rule in what was then Rhodesia.
At the centre of President Lungu’s dilemma is the economic crisis now gripping Zambia as copper mines fold and the rains refuse to fall.
Youth unemployment and a rising cost of living seems more likely to be the roots of future riots, not ritual murders.
A Global Hunger report has grouped Chad, the Central African Republic and Zambia as the “three most hungry countries on the global hunger index”.
Mr Lungu became president in January 2015 following a rushed poll necessitated by the death in office of Michael Sata.
Zambia’s gloomy economic outlook has him trying to put out fires on many fronts as the country prepares for general elections due in August 2016.
The move to deploy soldiers to the townships is being seen as a calculated government plan towards voter intimidation, not a means to restore security.
It is unlikely that any amount of soldiers on the streets will make this an easy ride for the PF government.
History records only too well how this nation responds to hunger.
Thirty years ago Mr Kaunda, Zambia’s founding president, tried to face down riots that had began in the mining towns of Kitwe and Ndola at the doubling of food prices.
By June 1990 the riots had reached Lusaka, the soldiers sent to quell them attempted a coup and Mr Kaunda was to be defeated at the ballot box by 1991.
The ritual killings may have left six citizens dead and mutilated, hundreds of refugees displaced and soldiers on the streets; but as long as the economic crisis continues to grip Zambia, further riots may come to Lusaka sooner than the rains.