China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy: Time for Africa to reconsider Its Sino Relations ?
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Prince Kurupati
At the start of the decolonization period in Africa around the 1960s, Africa (as a whole) and China were facing more or less the same problems economy wise. These two were struggling to sustain themselves; Africa and China were agro-based but an agriculture backbone was proving to be an unsustainable solution not just in keeping the economy stable at the time but also in shaping the future.
Faced with almost the same problem, Africa and China at the time (the early 1960s) decided to take different paths. China started diversifying its economy and placed austerity measures to cut government expenditure. Africa on the other hand when it attained independence decided to stick with agriculture, mining and adopted the welfarist ideology which chowed a huge chunk of government revenue subsiding consumer goods and paying for free health and education. The end result was that China moved forward and Africa regressed.
Africa’s regression meant that it had to look for bailouts. Surprisingly, one of the countries that Africa looked to for bailouts is China, the same country which the African continent had the same standing with barely less than 50 years back.
The mere fact that China managed to move forward while Africa regressed is enough for us to conclude that China is intelligent and Africa (as painful as it is to say) is dull. To illustrate China’s intelligence, one only needs to look at its Debt Trap Diplomacy which ensures that China continues to propel further economically while furthering its political interests. To better understand and appreciate China’s Debt Trap Diplomacy, let’s use the zero-sum game theory.
Zero-Sum Game Theory
In general, the zero-sum game theory entails that when two actors enter into a partnership, only one actor is going to gain while the other is going to lose. As such, in the China-Africa relationship, there is one actor who is clearly gaining and another who is clearly losing. Taking, for instance, the case of Zambia.
Since independence, mining (particularly copper mining) has been the backbone of Zambia’s economy. However, around 2011, the price of copper significantly fell thereby affecting the economic standing of the country significantly. The Zambian government was unable to balance its budget, therefore, leading it to look for alternative ways of earning money to be used in covering the budget deficit. The chosen alternative method was borrowing.
The first port of call was to look to the West. Zambia approached the IMF and received a small loan. However, as the prices of copper continued to tumble, it meant Zambia once again had to approach the IMF for another bailout. Unfortunately, the second time around Zambia received a different response from the IMF. Instead of receiving the funds it came looking for, the IMF said “…the latest borrowing plans provided by the authorities continue to compromise the country’s debt sustainability and risk undermining its macroeconomic stability…future program discussions can only take place once Zambian authorities implement credible measures that ensure debt contraction is consistent with a key program objective of stabilizing debt dynamics and putting them on a declining trend in the medium term.”
As has been the case with China in recent times, China was quick to offer Zambia a lifeline by offering quite a substantial loan. The trick however when it comes to Chinese loans under the Debt Trap Diplomacy is that it somehow indirectly influences leaders not to reveal the details of the loan to the prying eyes of the public. With less to no accountability, any staggering clauses inside the loan agreements will not cause any alarm hence no public outcry.
Using this method, China managed to offer Zambia loans in which she added major state assets as collaterals in case Zambia fails to repay back the loan within the agreed timeframe. The collateral that was included in some of the loan agreements includes national broadcaster ZNBC and power utility ZESCO. In one of the loan agreements, Zambia failed to meet the repayment terms and ended up losing ZNBC to the Chinese who now control the state broadcaster. In another loan agreement, Zambia also failed to meet the loan repayment deadline. While by default Zambia was supposed to automatically forfeit its control of ZESCO owing to its failure to meet the repayment deadline, it’s still controlling the power utility but just for the time being.
In the end, one can see that from the so-called relationship established by China and Zambia, only China has managed to win as it now controls the country’s state broadcaster and is likely going to control the country’s power utility. With its controlling stake in ZNBC, China does possess the keys to influencing public opinion and perception as media plays a critical role in how public opinion is shaped. Though we don’t know when (as it’s now looking certain) China will assume full control of ZESCO and any other national assets that we may not know of at this point in time, what we do know is that China is slowly but surely entrenching itself in Africa and placing itself strategically so that it can have access to Africa resources with no questions asked.
Zambia’s fate has also befallen Djibouti (which lost one of its ports to the Chinese) while other African countries are likely to face the same eventuality as they are all relying on Chinese loans to service their foreign and local debts while at the same time covering budget deficits with borrowings.
Reconsidering Sino-Africa Relations
The mere fact that Africa has already seen two countries cede some of their national assets to China should be a wakeup call for Africa. Now is the time for all African countries to start reconsidering Sino-Africa relations. There are different ways in which African countries can do this and below, we share some of these methods. Only with a reformed mindset will Africa start moving forward and this change in the mindset is needed right now.
- Revising Previous (Loan and Investment) Agreements
During his campaigns, the leader of the opposition party in Zimbabwe, Nelson Chamisa said that if he won, he would revise all Chinese deals that the country is part of. At the time, many media outlets, Chinese investors, economists and the general public viewed the remarks with contempt thinking that he wanted to boot out Chinese investors on the continent. That was not the case, however, all that Chamisa wanted was to revise all deals so as to find out if there are any glaring clauses which benefit China solely while inconveniencing Africa. Though he lost the election, his solution to the China Debt Trap Diplomacy is what Africa needs to do. Africa needs to revise all deals that it entered with the Chinese. All deals that threaten the sovereignty of Africa (such as the taking of key national assets) should be revoked as was done by Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar.
- Need For The Emergence of an Active Citizenry
African leaders have been able to get away with some scandalous deals because they have not been subjected to intense scrutiny. As such, it’s important that the African population becomes active in the affairs of the country. Each deal that the country enters should be scrutinized, if there are any suspicious and glaring clauses, they should be pointed out. Once there is accountability, African leaders will be forced to stop entering into unfavourable deals.
- Time Nigh For Africa to Depend On Itself
Africa has for so long depended on foreign aid to finance different government services as well as cover budget deficits. This despite the fact that Africa is one of the richest continents on the planet owing to the endowment of numerous natural resources. Therefore, there is a need for Africa to stop relying on foreign aid but to come up with measures which will enable the continent to feed itself. While relying on natural resources is alright, Africa no longer needs to export unprocessed raw materials but rather, it needs to focus on value addition and beneficiation.
- Need to Stamp Out Corruption
It’s not always the case that China puts clauses that disadvantage Africa. Sometimes it’s Africans who disadvantage Africa through engaging in malpractices such as corruption. There are times when Africa receives aid or loans but rather than channelling the funds to the purposes that they are meant to address, high ranking officials in the government syphon the funds and divert them to personal use. In the end, it’s the ordinary folks and the state which is left to bear the effects of corruption. Therefore, public servants ought to serve and not to profiteer at the expense of the country. Also, the ordinary folks ought to take measures to force the public officials to be accountable so that loans and aid money is used to address the goals it is supposed to address.
- Take Heed of Advice
Earlier on, we discussed how Zambia failed to take heed of advice offered by the IMF and decided to look elsewhere for support. Many countries on the African continent have taken the same stance, instead of listening to advice given by some economic think tanks to implement necessary reforms, they look the other way. Its high time, that African leaders start taking heed of the advice given by reputable authorities so that they remove their countries from the quagmire they find themselves in. the general public has a role to play in forcing the government to listen to advice and also to abide by the advice offered by reputable think tanks. Only a concerted effort between the leadership and the people can take Africa from its current predicament.
The Third Edition Of The Africa Forum To Take Place In Sharm El-Sheikh On The 8-9 December, Held Under The High Patronage Of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President Of The Arab Republic Of Egypt.
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Over 2,000 Participants Expected During The Two-Day Forum To Advance Trade And Investment Across Africa.
– Confirmations Received From 5 Heads Of State
– Forum Will Also Focus On Issues Relating To Entrepreneurship And Giving A Stronger Voice To Women At The Decision Making Table
Cairo, 3rd September, 2018 – The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and COMESA Regional Investment Agency today confirmed dates for the Africa 2018, a high-level forum offering participants an unparalleled platform for promoting trade and investment within the continent. The Forum will be held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt on 8-9 December 2018, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The Forum will be the biggest business-to-business and government-to-business gathering bringing together leading policy makers with captains of industry, financiers, major industrialists and young entrepreneurs from across Africa and beyond.
This year’s edition takes place against an important backdrop with Egypt taking over the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, making it a platform to help shape private sector priorities for the coming year. The theme for this year; ‘Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: The third edition of the Africa Forum to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh on the 8-9 December, held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Advancing Intra-African Investments’ reflects the need for policy makers and the private sector to collaborate more closely and take tough decisions to advance and fast-track development across the continent.
The organisers have confirmed that already five African heads of State had confirmed their participation including the newly elected Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and also President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, who has been leading the drive to get commitment from other African heads of State to sign the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
This year, the Forum will have a day focusing on the role of women in helping them define the continental priorities in a gathering called Women Empowering Africa. The organisers will convene women driving change across the continent and give them a platform to get together and agree on clear action points to ensure they have a stronger voice and more significant presence at the decision making table, as much in government as in the boardroom. A communiqué will be presented to the heads of state present highlighting their priority concerns and aspirations.
Building on last year’s success, the organisers will be hosting their Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) offering the continent’s rising stars the opportunity to meet a diverse set of investors as well as to hone their skills in some workshops tailored by specialist consultancies and leaders in their field.
Speaking about the Forum, H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, reiterated her country’s commitment to working towards a unified vision for promoting economic co-operation among African nations: “The Forum aims to improve intra-African trade and investment for the benefit for all citizens on this continent. Egypt’s comprehensive socio-economic reform programme to transform our country continues to progress alongside efforts to advancing Africa’s sustainable development through greater cross-border business among our nations.” Echoing this commitment was Heba Salama, COMESA Regional Investment Agency CEO, welcoming this important community to the third edition of the Forum: “COMESA, now consisting of 21 countries following the admission of Tunisia and Somalia this year, continues to play a lead role in advancing Africa’s economic integration. As one of the most influential regional economic communities in Africa we have a pivotal role to play in engaging with business leaders and investors.”
The Forum is by invitation only. Interested parties can apply for an invitation through the event website www.businessforafricaforum.com .
CAIRO: Engy AbdelHady (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LONDON: Ishara Callan (email@example.com)
About Africa 2018
Africa 2018 Forum will be held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 8th and 9th December 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organised by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
The 2018 edition builds on the success of the previous editions, which have seen the participation of 11 Heads of State and more than 3,000 delegates from 80+ countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with a Women Empowering Africa day as well as our exclusive Presidential Roundtables with African leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.
Africa 2018 has established itself as the premier business platform to nurture new partnerships; meet investors and fast track your business objectives in Africa.
Ethiopian Airlines wins Aviation 100 award
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa and Skytrax-certified four-star global airline, has won the Aviation 100 “Africa Lease Deal of the Year 2018” award by Airline Economics Magazine during the Airline Economics Growth Frontiers Dubai 2018 conference gala dinner.
The Aviation 100 awards recognize aviation’s most outstanding performers, as well as the most innovative and successful finance and leasing deals closed in the last 12 months. Winners of the Aviation 100 awards are decided by an industry-wide survey, a rigorous vetting process and editorial consideration.
Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam said: “We are happy to receive this award from Airline Economics. It’s for the first time that the Japanese financing system, JOLCO, financed an aircraft deal with an African airline. JOLCO availed financing for our A350 aircraft. The deal shows the strong confidence of reputed global financiers in Ethiopian balance sheet and business plan.”
Africa will not attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Agenda 2063 unless urgent climate actions are taken, says Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)’s Murombedzi
October 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
Investments to End Poverty 2018 – meeting the financing challenge to leave no one behind
October 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
Development Initiatives (DI) has published a new data-led report that explores how development finance is responding to the demands set by the Sustainable Development Goals and what changes and action are needed to ensure their aspirations become reality for all.
Investments to End Poverty 2018 can be read at http://devinit.org/post/investments-to-end-poverty-2018/
DI is an international development organisation that focuses on the role of data in driving poverty eradication and sustainable development. DI has offices in Kenya, Uganda, the UK and the US.
Key findings relating to Africa
- Hundreds of millions of people still live in extreme poverty and while the share and numbers of the population in poverty has decreased across most regions, the number of people living in poverty has risen in sub-Saharan Africa. The available data shows that in this region, 380 million people were living in extreme poverty in 1999; by 2013 this number had increased to 401 million people. Faster progress will be needed to ensure that no one is left behind.
- New projections on extreme poverty levels show a best case scenario of 200 million people and worst of 400 million people living below the poverty line. More than 80% of people in extreme poverty are projected to be in sub-Saharan Africa, compared with about 50% today. Even in a best case scenario, in sub-Saharan Africa, only half of those in extreme poverty today will be lifted above the poverty line.
- The difference in projected progress between South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa on numbers of people living below the poverty line is mainly because of the depth of poverty – poor people in sub- Saharan Africa are living much further below the international poverty line than poor people in Asia are.
- Pulling together human development, political and economic insecurity indicators alongside poverty projections, a select group of 30 countries – mostly in sub-Saharan Africa – emerge as being most at risk of being left behind.
- While the largest proportion of ODA allocated to countries goes to sub-Saharan Africa (37% in 2016), few of the countries in this region receive the largest amounts of ODA overall and only Ethiopia is one of the largest eight recipients of aid (US$4.2bn).
- In Africa significant volumes of concessional loans went to countries at high risk of debt distress in 2016, including Ethiopia (US$1.5bn) Ghana (US$656m) and Cameroon (US$391m). Mozambique, a country rated as actually being in debt distress, received loans totalling US$417 million in 2016.
- In many sub-Saharan African countries, the role of aid in ensuring that governments can provide social safety nets is key. In countries such as the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Malawi and South Sudan, these social protection programmes are funded entirely by external aid donors. In Liberia, Uganda and Sierra Leone, aid funds over 80% of social safety nets. In Benin and Zimbabwe the figure is over 60%. Even in middle income countries such as Kenya and Ghana, donors fund respectively around a third and a fifth of social safety nets.
- Absolute volumes of domestic public resources are lowest where poverty is highest. In sub-Saharan African countries, where over a fifth of the population lives in extreme poverty, levels of per capita government revenue are below – and in many cases, far below – the average of $2,285 per capita in developing countries as a whole
- In many sub-Saharan African countries there is potential to grow the tax base, but also a need to increase tax potential (see chart below
International flows (non-aid)
- A more-than six-fold growth in non-concessional official financing to sub-Saharan and North African countries between 2000 and 2016 is a key regional trend over the last one-and-a-half decades – particularly when compared with a more modest doubling of concessional ODA in sub-Saharan Africa and the 25% growth in aid to North Africa over the same period.
- While North Africa saw substantial growth across all non-concessional flows, in sub-Saharan Africa the trend is mainly attributable to a nearly thirteen-fold increase in non-concessional lending by official creditors that is not reported as other official flows. Given the potential contribution of this type of financing to development outcomes, such growth need not, necessarily, be concerning. However, the rising outflows that this type of financing creates, through interest and capital repayments, is a concern to be monitored, particularly given growth is currently faster in the countries identified as being at risk of being left behind, including countries already identified as being at risk of debt distress (e.g. DRC) or already in debt distress (e.g. Mozambique).
- Countries being left behind are among the smallest recipients of other official flows, Foreign Direct Investment, private finance mobilised via blending and remittances. (see chart below).
Current state of the data needed for effective decision making
- Of the 47 countries classed as providing scant or minimal public budget information, 30 are in Africa.
- Of the 31 countries with recorded poverty populations of over 5 million people, 18 publish scant or minimal budget information. These include countries with both large populations of people in poverty and high poverty rates such as Nigeria, Tanzania and Madagascar get information
- Statistical capacity also differs widely across developing countries. 14 of the 30 countries with the lowest levels of statistical capacity as measured by the World Bank are in Africa.
Zim general warns on foreign bases in Djibouti
October 12, 2018 | 0 Comments
One of Zimbabwe’s most senior soldiers and a key US congressman say trouble may be coming to the Horn of Africa
HARARE, Zimbabwe, October 11, 2018/ — Major General Trust Magoba – who now serves as a special advisor to the African Union office for Peace and Security – has raised concern at foreign interference on the continent.
“The establishment foreign bases and the involvement of external forces in the conflicts on the Horn of Africa is a worrisome development,” he said. And he called on all countries to focus on “peace, security and stability within the region”.
General Magoba was referring to land adjoining a narrow strait that runs past Djibouti on the only route between the Indian Ocean and Suez, where the US, France and China have stationed their military.
Djibouti is small and hugely in debt to Beijing. And the rule of president Ismaïl Guelleh is frequently under attack from human-rights groups who allege torture and a lack of democracy.
Exports from Australia, India, Zimbabwe and much of East Africa sail through here to Europe along with more than 14m barrels a day of oil from the Persian Gulf.
Djibouti is host to the only permanent US military base in Africa and the largest post of the French Foreign Legion along with small units from Russia, Japan and Italy. But China has built its own barracks to house more troops than the joint strength of all other players.
Djibouti’s value for ships lies in a state-of-the-art container dock, but earlier this year President Guelleh signed a decree ousting Dubai-firm DP World from a 50-year contract to manage the port.
A London court has repeatedly ruled the contract valid only to be snubbed by Djibouti which claims DP World had not fulfilled its obligations and even accusing the firm of economic sabotage.
DP World has made clear it will not surrender its rights, but allies have been hard to find. The US and France – two of the world’s greatest maritime powers – are hostage to Mr Guelleh’s goodwill in order to keep their troops on his soil.
However, disquiet is growing in Congress, with letters of concern sent to cabinet, even to President Trump, warning of Washington’s vulnerability if China were to gain any part of the DP World contract to run the port. Mr Guelleh has assured them this will not happen.
Alabama congressman Mo Brooks is not convinced. Brooks sits on both the Armed Forces and Foreign Affairs committees and has written to US ambassador at the United Nations, Nikki Hayley.
“Mr Guelleh has never been one to respect the rule of law,” he wrote. Guelleh’s “dictatorial reign,” had been “fuelled by a steady flow of Chinese cash, palaces and gifts.”
He called on Ambassador Haley to use her influence to curb Mr Guelleh’s “reckless and unscrupulous behaviour”, and ensure his respect for “international norms, judicial bodies and the rule of law”.
US relations with China slumped last month after vice president, Mike Pence, accused Beijing of using “covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets,” to influence next month’s crucial mid-term vote that could see Republican Party numbers slip in Congress.
“China wants a different American president,” Mr Pence said.
Donald Trump aired the same view when he addressed the United Nations at the end of September.
“They do not want me to win, because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade, and we are winning on trade,” he said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused Mr Trump of using “hearsay evidence” to create allegations “out of thin air”.
In Djibouti, President Guelleh has assured Washington that he remains an ally in the war on terror.
However, an incident on 30 September when a Chinese warship nosed within 50 metres of a US military vessel in the Pacific has raised tension between the two countries and is likely to see more letters from Congress like that of Mr Brooks about Washington’s vulnerability in the world’s trouble spots
Four Key Areas Needed to improve future Zim Elections-EU Observer Mission Report
October 11, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
Head of the European Union Election Observer Mission of the 30 July 2018 election in Zimbabwe Elmah Brok presented a final Report on 10 October. This was witnessed in the eyes of and on behalf of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Government of Zimbabwe, Parliament, Civil Society and other stakeholders.
Addressing a pack gang of Journalists and the above mentioned, Brok said the Report contains 23 recommendations. He pointed out clearly that this is meant to strengthen positive contributions to future Elections in Zimbabwe.
‘’This is meant to improve future elections in the country. There is need to address short-falls as outlined in the Report. These short-falls must be bench-marks for future corrections. By – so doing and abiding to this , elections in the future can be improved transitionally and democratic ‘’.
‘’Recommendations need to be followed and adhered to as spelt out here. The need to have a legal framework is vital. Secondly, the role of Electoral Commissions in all elections must be seen going on prior and post- election period. Thirdly, there is need to stamp out human rights abuses. Lastly, Let us in the future observe political rights of opposition in the country.’’
‘’I urge the flow of Democratic Transition by the Government of Zimbabwe. If this is put in place there is light and that bright future of the respect of the electorate. Zimbabwe could be on the right track as long this is observed by the Government, then delivered to the people ‘’.
Elmah Brok stressed the FOUR KEY AREAS of future focus which are Independence of ZEC . The need to improve level playing field stands not to be ignored at all. Legal Framework and Inclusiveness of the processes which are key in this field must not be ignored. The four, he said have been observed and put on the table by the Observer Mission.
‘’EUEOM suggests in-order to enhance confidence in the process, to strengthen the Independence of ZEC to ensure its effectiveness confidence to the people of Zimbabwe; this must be main future focus. ZEC must develop results management process to enhance verifiability and traceability’’
‘’The need to make Electoral process Inclusive is a point as take-away home. Areas of under-registration of voters need to be established. Multi-Party liaison committees need to be used effectively .This must follow future Democratic change towards a new Government ‘’
‘’Democratic dividends must build better life for all Zimbabweans. This is only through new Democratic direction. The need for Democratic aspirations must not be hidden. This will give Zimbabwe a new Democratic direction and Democratic reforms’’, said Elmah Brok .
One product per person for Zim shoppers as panic buying grips nation
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe’s major supermarkets and retail shops have started to ration
products following unexpected price hikes which have seen prices of
major commodities going up exorbitantly.
Only recently, major fuel retailers were battling to cope with
supply of fuel mainly petrol and diesel resulting in long queues and
hoarding.However, as of yesterday even in the city of Harare long
vehicle queues could be seen at most fuel stations indicating that
they had been some injection of fuel to the suppliers.
As of yesterday major supermarkets in the capital Harare such as OK
supermarket registered long queues with customers in panic buying
However, it is still not clear what has triggered the price hikes
since fuel prices are still maintained at the same prices.
Some small retail shops have also started to peg their prices in the
US dollar currency.Most of the shops have of late been using the bond
note which had been pegged at the same rate with the US
dollar.However, the bond note is beginning to lose value by day due to
day to day speculative black market rates.
Zimbabwe’s major hurdle has been to contain a thriving black market
where prudent financial fundamentals are a pie in the sky.
l have just today been to Food World supermarket, one of the major
retail shops in the CBD of Harare wanting to buy a bottle of drink and
have been told that l am allowed just top buy one such product.
One young shopper in the CBD of Harare just told me here that he was
only allowed to buy one bottle of water due to the rationing of
products reportedly meant to minimise panic buying and hoarding.Some
of the buyers are reported to buy the commodities in bulk from the
major supermarkets then resale them at their verandas.But this
development was partially minimised when vendors were ordered to
vacate the CBD due to cholera.
This is coming amid reports that during the past few days shoppers,
especially in Harare were in panic buying mood grabbing most of the
basic commodities in anticipation of sporadic price increases.
However, government seems to be troubled by the price hikes
development and as of yesterday, Vice-President kembo Mohadi warned
retailers hiking prices unnecessarily that their licences would be
revoked.There have been unconfirmed reports that there might be
elements of sabotaging the economy by unspecified elements.
According to the Herald newspaper, government has directed that
prices of basic commodities increased without justification be reduced
immediately, as it moves to restore sanity on the market. Retailers
are hiking prices of basic commodities daily, triggering panic that
has led to artificial shortages.
Further, the government directed that no businesses should reject bond
notes and other electronic payments when transacting.
With regards to the proposed two cents tax per dollar, the government
said there was no need for the public to panic as this was yet to be
implemented and still being fine-tuned.
it is reported that those who defy the directives would face
drastic action and with regards to those in the fuel sector, they risk
revocation of their licences.
It is reported that the two cents per dollar tax that was announced
by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on monday will apply to transactions
of $10 and above only and will be capped at $10 000 for transactions
of above $500 000.
Zimbabwe :Economic Perils Threatening Democratic Gains
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
Zimbabwe continues to swim deeper into oblivion owing attention to current economic melt-down. All that used to depreciate is now decomposing to ashes. Following the introduction of 2% tax on all electronic transactions by the Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube hell broke loose.
Food prices like cooking oil have risen from 3 dollars 50 cents to between 9 and 15 dollars. Fuel increase in price has also contributed. Some food stuffs like bread have high prices because of the short supply of flour. However, wheat is running short.
The crisis has prompted MDC T Leader Nelson Chamisa to be called for a meeting by Zimbabwe Council of Churches. Chamisa said recently that he is ready to meet ZANU PF for the meeting. The meeting, he pointed out is ready to work out on solutions.
‘’The country is under- going a crisis. I am ready to meet ZANU PF. We need to talk about issues faced by the country. As we talk, they are certain new challenges sprouting from the ground. It is important to meet with ZANU PF. This is really a crisis. As a country, let us solve this once and for all.
Chamisa according to most sections of society and church denominations is the central figure of acrimony in the Zimbabwe politics. They invited him for a meeting. Kenneth Mtata , Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches indicated that a crisis talk is the only maneuver in the Zimbabwean politics to solve thorny issues .
‘’Zimbabwe is in crisis. The only solution is to address thorny issues at hand. A dialogue of some sort is the only solution. We need to bring peace of mind to bring unity between the two. How-ever. This must not be a long hill climb.
Giving his few words comment, Dr Francis Danha said it is all about building on a new Zimbabwe. The problem lies with politics of greedy Leadership in the country. We have seen that the country is in squabbles. What then is the ultimate answer to problems we have?
‘’Politics is creating poverty for the country. This is not new. This has been on and on for some time. There can be meetings to come up with solutions but if it bounces, there is always an answer to questions remaining unanswered ‘’, he said .
Several companies have threatened to close. Big Department shops are running their day to day business because of the confidence they have with them. Many small shops in high density suburbs have remained closed for some days. To make it worse, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has separated Foreign Accounts from the Local Real Time Gross Settlements Accounts.
Zimbabwe hosts international trade fair for floriculture and horticulture as it seeks to reposition sectors
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
horticulture industry has opened today in Harare, Zimbabwe running
until 11 October, 2018 as the country aims to reposition the ailing
sector to boost much needed foreign exchange.
According to Dick van Raamsdonk, General Manager of HPP
International Exhibitions group based in Holland, the first edition of
the newly established international trade fair hortiflor was
especially created for the horticulture industry of Zimbabwe.
He said that hortiflor is a platform where growers, suppliers,
traders, investors and buyers of fresh produce and fresh flowers can
“This is a platform where Zimbabwean horticulture can meet with the
world of horticulture,” Raamsdonk said.
He also said that the three day trade event in its first edition has
attracted exhibitors from 10 countries and visitors from an expected
15 to 20 countries.
“With a total of almost 60 companies that represent growers and
suppliers from the fresh flower and fresh produce sectors, it can be
called an excellent beginning of much more to come in the near future.
Since Zimbabwe has already proven to be one of Africa’s top exporters
of horticulture products in the past, it is not a new road that has to
be taken, but much more continuing on an existing road, basically in a
pretty good shape, just waiting for a good maintenance. This together
with the message of a new government of Zimbabwe, that the country is
open for business, makes it very interesting opportunity that offers
great chances to both Zimbabwean and international companies,”
Gorden Makoni, Chairman of the Export Flower Growers Association of
Zimbabwe (EFGAZ) said that the premier trade show, the first of its
kind in over 18 years in Zimbabwe brings together farmers, growers,
breeders, investors and buyers with one purpose of increasing
horticulture export in Zimbabwe.
Makoni said that the flower industry is going through remarkable
growth buoyed by the four rising stars, Colombia, Kenya, Ecuador and
“The US market is on the upswing, Russia market is declining but the
Netherlands remains the fulcrum of the global flower trade,” Makoni
He added that to think that in the late 90s to early 2000,
Zimbabwe was only second to Kenya and third in the world in flower
production reads like a fairy tale.
“The exhibition by HPP exhibition reminds us that we have work to
do, that is to take back our spot snatched by Ethiopia,” Makoni said.
He also added that Zimbabwe had some of the best climate for cut
flower production and horticulture.
“We need to seize on this comparative advantage against our erstwhile
and it does put us in a good steady,” he added.
Makoni also called on the government to lead by ensuring that the
industry is well funded the way mining is funded, land issue is
stabilized and can be used as collateral as some farmers are failing
to use land as collateral to increase production.
He also added that value chain linkages are needed to make sure
that growth in one has the domino effect on all up and downstream
industries including marketing, freight forwarding, finance, input
suppliers, agro-chemicals, greenhouses, packaging, irrigation, cold
rooms and refrigerated trucks.
Agribank Acting CEO, Mr Francis Macheka said that his bank was
ready to create competitive facilities such as capital to support
financing for horticulture and floriculture in Zimbabwe.
He said that his bank was geared to drive exports growth and has
made progress in sectors such as tobacco farming.
He said that the bank was pleased that some farmers in Zimbabwe had
already started to launch or relaunch projects in horticulture and
floriculture and the bank was ready to offer much needed capital
Arsenal FC and WorldRemit name Hamisi Mohamed from Kenya as the winner of the “Future Stars” youth coaching programme
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The winner of an international vote, Hamisi will travel to London to train with Arsenal Soccer Schools, courtesy of WorldRemit
PARIS, France, October 9, 2018/ — Arsenal FC (www.Arsenal.com) and its official online money transfer partner, WorldRemit (https://www.WorldRemit.com/), today announced that Hamisi Mohamed from Nairobi has won the public vote determining the winner of their Future Stars programme. Competing against five other youth football coaches from across Africa, Hamisi secured over 35% of the votes on https://FutureStars.WorldRemit.com to win the chance to train with coaches from Arsenal Soccer Schools. Hamisi will now prepare to travel to London to attend a customized training programme to support him in building a legacy of positive social impact through football in Kenya.
Hamisi Mohamed, known locally as Coach Kaka, is one of the founders of Young Talents Soccer Academy, a mixed academy in Embul Bul, Ngong. The academy aims to help children to succeed both on and off the pitch. “We use the power of football to address social issues, to teach them life skills. We want them to learn to respect themselves, to know the effects of drug abuse, the effects of violence and crime,” says Hamisi.
Reflecting the shared values of the two companies, the Future Stars programme was set up by WorldRemit together with Arsenal to acknowledge and reward the valuable contribution of youth coaches to their local communities. Through the programme, 25 shortlisted coaches have already been granted Arsenal replica shirts for their entire youth squad in recognition of their work.
Andrew Stewart, Managing Director Middle East & Africa at WorldRemit said:
“Our business is all about helping our customers’ financial support for their community to go further. The work of all the coaches in the Future Stars programme has reinforced our belief in the immense potential of sport to inspire positive change and encouraged us to explore further opportunities to support the communities we serve through sport. We hope that this programme will encourage others to follow their example and that this will be only the beginning of a much longer story.”
Back in 1985, in response to social unrest on London estates, Arsenal became one of the first clubs in the UK to set up a dedicated community team in 1985. The Young Talents academy emerged from similar origins: Hamisi founded the club over 10 years ago to bring young members of his community together following the post-election violence in Kenya.
As Arsenal’s community has grown, so has the impact of Arsenal in the Community’s work and the team now deliver sport, social and education programmes to over 5,000 individuals each week.
Simon McManus of Arsenal Soccer Schools said:
“Arsenal itself is an example of how the social impact of football can grow from a small local community to an international programme. It is inspiring to us to see how coaches across Africa are using the power of football to support and educate children at the grassroots level and I think there is a lot we can also learn from them.
“Both WorldRemit and Arsenal have grown from humble beginnings to become global businesses, credited with transforming our respective sectors. Now we hope that together we can help Hamisi to play a similarly transformational role in Kenya – perhaps even internationally.”
WorldRemit (https://www.WorldRemit.com/) is changing the way people send money.
It’s easy – just open the app or visit the website – no more agents, no more queues, no more time wasted
• Transfers to most countries are instant – send money like an instant message
• Send money anytime with award-winning customer service team available to help 24/7
• 85,000 5-star reviews for our app
• More ways to receive (mobile money, bank transfer, cash pickup, and mobile airtime top-up)
• Available in over 50 countries and more than 145+ destinations
• Backed by Accel Partners and TCV – investors in Facebook, Spotify, Netflix and Slack
WorldRemit’s global headquarters are in London, UK with offices in the United States, Canada, South Africa, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
About Arsenal Football Club:
Arsenal (www.Arsenal.com) is one of the leading clubs in world football with a strong heritage of success, progressive thinking and financial stability.
The club was founded in 1886 in Woolwich, south London, before moving to Highbury in north London in 1913. We moved to Emirates Stadium in 2006.
Arsenal has an impressive roll of honour: English League Champions 13 times, FA Cup winners a record 13 times, League Cup winners twice and European Cup Winners’ Cup (1994) and European Fairs Cup (1970) winners once. In addition, Arsenal Women are the most successful English club in women’s football. They celebrated their 30th season last year.
The Arsenal Foundation uses the power of football and the Arsenal name to inspire and support young people in north London and across the globe. The Arsenal Foundation raises funds each year and works with a number of key partners including Save The Children, Islington Giving, Willow and the Gunners’ Fund. Locally, Arsenal in the Community has delivered programmes to drive positive social outcomes for more than 30 years.
For further information please visit www.Arsenal.com
About Arsenal Soccer Schools:
Arsenal Soccer Schools encourage children to be active whilst learning to play football; with the emphasis placed on passing, movement, creativity and technical development through teamwork.
Gemfields launches ‘Every Piece Unique’ global campaign to highlight responsibly sourced Zambian emeralds
October 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Gemfields, the world’s leading supplier of responsibly sourced
coloured gemstones, has launched a global advertising campaign to
raise awareness of responsible sourcing in the coloured gemstone
industry and promote Zambian emeralds from its Kagem mine in
Gemfields believes that coloured gemstones should be mined and marketed by championing three key values – transparency, integrity and legitimacy – and seeks to challenge itself and the sector by setting new benchmarks for responsible sourcing. The campaign was designed to bring these core values and Gemfields’ associated initiatives to life, highlighting the breadth of activities involved in responsibly supplying coloured gemstones to global markets.
“We wanted to bring to life the many stories behind responsibly sourcing precious gemstones in Africa as there is far more to our business than industry-leading mining and geology”, explains Emily Dungey, Group Marketing and Communications Director. “The characters in the campaign allow us to build awareness of the many life-changing
community projects we carry out, our pioneering quest for greater transparency across the industry and the support we provide for vital conservation work protecting Africa’s biodiversity. The campaign is a snapshot of who we are: it’s fun, unexpected and non-conformist, but also gives an insight into some of the ways in which Gemfields strives
to leave a positive and lasting impact.”
The campaign film is set in a contemporary art gallery, closing for the night, when the sculptures come to life through movement and dance. Each character moves with unique style, unveiling their distinctive role in the Gemfields ecosphere. The six sculptures were designed and brought to life for Gemfields by MPC Creative using
motion capture, VFX and CGI animation.
The first character, a faceted female form, half emerald and half ruby, embodies the gemstones that underpin Gemfields’ drive for Transparency, the founding principle of the business. Gemfields’ extractive operations, combined with its proprietary grading and auction systems, are all designed to bring a reliable supply of
responsibly sourced gemstones to market with an unprecedented level of transparency.
Gemfields has partnered with Switzerland’s Gübelin Gem Lab in launching a breakthrough technology entitled ‘Provenance Proof’, empowering traceability back to the mine of origin and providing consumers and Gemfields’ Authorised Auction Partners with certainty that their gemstones started their journey with Gemfields.
As Transparency dances through the gallery, her arm brushes a second character – a petite paper sculpture featuring hand-writing and emeralds. The scroll-like figure personifies Gemfields’ Education programmes. Gemfields supports life-changing initiatives for the communities near its mines in three key spheres: Health, Livelihoods and Education.
It has constructed four schools in Mozambique and established three in Zambia, as well as providing university
scholarships in the fields of mining and geology. In total, more than 2,500 pupils are now attending these schools and classes for adults have been added to allow parents to keep up with the next generation.
Transparency and Education awaken a valiant rhino sculpture carved from wood, half-dipped in recycled green gold and replete with emerald eyes. An iconic African symbol of Conservation, the rhino was chosen to reflect Gemfields’ work with conservation partners to protect Africa’s wildlife and biodiversity, including the Niassa Carnivore
Project and Quirimbas National Park in Mozambique and the Zambian Carnivore Programme spanning several Zambian reserves.
The three characters run together through the gallery until they reach a dominating, vibrant, abstract painting featuring human forms dramatically poised around a Fabergé egg. The central figure emerges
from the painting to join the energetic trio. He represents Gemfields’ community initiatives to improve the Health care and wellbeing of those living around its mines. Before Gemfields introduced formalised mining operations, these remote communities had little or no access to healthcare. Cholera, malaria, HIV and dysentery were commonplace. Now, two mobile health clinics in Mozambique serve six remote villages of around 10,000 people. In Zambia, a further 10,000 people benefit from a significantly upgraded health centre and maternity ward. The
presence of a Fabergé egg reflects Fabergé’s role as a vital component of Gemfields’ ‘mine and market’ vision.
Wholly-owned by Gemfields Group, Fabergé is famed for its ingenious use of coloured gemstones, innovative techniques and workmasters-of-distinction to create highly coveted jewellery befitting Gemfields’ most prized emeralds and rubies.
The dance energetically builds as the characters surround a large-scale hanging installation. Comprising bright blue feathers and sparkling rubies, its colouring is inspired by the lilac-breasted roller, a native African bird. This character signifies Livelihoods, the third of Gemfields’ local initiatives and is a nod to the chicken farms created to empower local women. Gemfields set up the farms with local women, teaching them how to manage these autonomously and then transferring the projects as independent, fully functioning businesses providing self-sufficiency for the women. Gemfields strives to leave a positive, lasting legacy in the communities it touches that will
long outlive its presence and support ongoing economic sustainability, including in agricultural projects. Gemfields has created two farming associations in Zambia and nine farming associations (two of them run by women) in Mozambique. Training in agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, pest control and conservation farming has increased yields by up to 200%, advancing quality of life from sustainable
livelihoods in the local area.
The characters dance to the base of a flowering Baobab tree, the ‘tree of life’. This iconic African motif embodies Sustainability, Gemfields’ approach to communities near its mining operations. By its very nature, mining impacts the environment, but Gemfields seeks to minimise this where possible. Gemfields does not use chemical
substances that are hazardous to health or pollute. Before mining commences, seeds are collected from indigenous plants and trees to create a seed-bank and the rich top soil is stored for re-deployment. Gemfields re-fills and re-plants as part of an ongoing integrated mining process, reducing impact to the site and maintaining biodiversity. The film’s ‘tree of life’ is inspired by a real-life Baobab tree which sits directly within the mineralised ruby mining
area in Mozambique. Gemfields has mined around it, leaving the magnificent tree standing on an island, pending rehabilitation of the surrounding area.
The film concludes with an explosion of Baobab flowers, the exuberant characters poised in their original gallery positions and two gently floating flowers – with hearts of ruby and emerald – the only evidence of the magical activities. Similarly, Gemfields’ mine sites will return substantially to their original state, leaving in place the
wider positive effects of improved community healthcare, education, sustainable livelihoods and conservation efforts.
‘Every Piece Unique’ highlights how each gemstone is distinctive,possessing its own personality and character, much like original pieces of art. The film continues the narrative of Gemfields’ ‘A Story in Every Gemstone’ campaign, building a greater understanding of the vigour behind responsibly sourcing emeralds and rubies from their
origins in Zambia and Mozambique.
The campaign was created by adam&eveDDB with production carried out by Gutenberg Global and media planning and buying carried out by Havas LuxHub Media. The Moving Picture Company (MPC) in collaboration with
FutureDeluxe produced and directed the campaign film, with characters brought to life by MPC Creative, using VFX and CGI animation. Gemfields’ Every Piece Unique campaign launched globally on 1 October 2018.