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Covid-19 & Smart Food Markets for the Future
June 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Betty Kibaara*

Betty Kibaara is the Director, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation
Betty Kibaara is the Director, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

Nothing excites me more than visiting an open-air market and sampling some succulent, juicy pineapple, or a yellow-ripe sweet banana amidst small chit-chat with the friendly women vendors. These pleasantries are no longer the norm. With all of us wearing masks, I can hardly recognize my vendors and they cannot make out their customers. I don’t taste the fruits until they are washed in soapy water.

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that while open markets are a key component of a sustainable food system, they aren’t built for a crisis like this one. Urban food markets in Africa often lack adequate infrastructure, resulting in over-crowded spaces and massive amounts of food waste. Vendors have little or no control over the hygiene practices of their suppliers and customers, making food safety protocols difficult to follow.

The Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Agriculture, has provided guidelines to help secure the food supply during this challenging time. While this is a good short-term measure, we need to be thinking about the long-term changes that will make our markets more resilient for the future. African countries can develop prototypes for “smart” markets fit to our context, designed to ensure health and safety, and equipped to meet our food needs now and into the future.  The big question however is, what could an African Smart Market look like?

Firstly, the vast roofs of markets are a perfect place to install solar panels, enabling markets to run on sustainable energy. The power generated could also serve surrounding consumers and businesses.

Secondly, modern African markets provide the perfect opportunity for water harvesting infrastructure. The roofs of the markets could collect water during rains and would help keep the market well-sanitized and supply customers and vendors with clean drinking water.

Good water supply goes well with sanitation facilities. Water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are critical to limiting infection spread and protecting health. Clean facilities, maintained by private sector partners, could offer services such as sorting bays and improve hygiene by sanitizing surfaces for vendors.

Additionally, Kenya generates 8 million tons of waste annually and nearly 40 per cent of it comes from urban areas. Market waste can be sorted and converted to bio-degradable products to generate power. Organic waste could be used to produce alternative proteins for animal feed  such as black soldier fly production.

It is also worth noting that markets can be designed with basic food processing infrastructure to convert fruits into fresh juices. This could contribute to reducing food waste.  

Food wastage reduction cannot be efficient without a dedicated cold storage infrastructure. Without adequate storage in markets, fruits and vegetables spoil quickly under the hot sun. Cold storage solutions such as ColdHubs, would reduce post-harvest losses.  Through the YieldWise Initiative, and in partnership with TechnoServe, The Rockefeller Foundation has already invested in reducing post-harvest losses among smallholder mango farmers in Kenya. With investments in cold storage solutions, the smart market would provide an additional opportunity at the point of sale to reduce post-harvest loss.

To safeguard human health, food safety and traceability must be a priority throughout the food system. While subsistence production, informal distribution channels, and traditional community markets make it difficult to implement large-scale food safety interventions, smart markets could promote a shift in consumer attitudes by designating a section where traders only sell certified and traceable produce. This could be a big step toward creating consumer demand for food safety and traceability and lay the groundwork for future reform.

Therefore, a carefully considered market design is the final piece of the puzzle. For example, traders in the sunniest and windiest spots often cover their stalls in dirty sacks, introducing unnecessary risk of contamination. Markets could be optimized to have clear entries and exits and take into account the direction of the sun and wind, minimizing the need for extra work and unsanitary makeshift solutions.

As we think about designing the markets of the future, we should also explore business models to help markets become self-sustaining.

We must take COVID-19 as an opportunity to think creatively and help our markets evolve to be more hygienic, more sustainable and more resilient to future shocks and disruptions. By doing this, we can help protect our local vendors’ livelihoods and ensure that millions of Africans have secure access healthy, nutritious food.

*Betty Kibaara is the Director, Food Initiative, The Rockefeller Foundation

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June 1, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Khartoum Refinery Co. Ltd. installation in Sudan.Photo Chen Duo / Xinhua / Sipa
The Khartoum Refinery Co. Ltd. installation in Sudan.Photo Chen Duo / Xinhua / Sipa

Global Financial Integrity (GFI) has published a new study, Sudan and Trade Integrity,” examining trade-related illicit financial flows in Sudan’s trade, crude oil and gold sectors. The analysis finds considerable gaps in trade integrity in all three areas of analysis and potential revenue losses of US$5.7 billion in global trade, US$279.4 million in trade in crude oil andUS$575.2 millionin trade in gold during the seven years covered in the report.

Trade integrity is defined as international trade transactions that are legal, properly priced and transparent. Developing countries lose billions of dollars a year in tax due to trade misinvoicing, corruption and criminal activity associated with a lack of trade integrity, which hampers abilities to mobilize funds to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve the UN 2030 Agenda.

The report includes regulatory analyses for the trade, crude oil and gold sectors, along with surveys conducted with leading Sudanese thought leaders in academia, government and civil society.

Tom Cardamone, President & CEO of GFI, issued the following statement:

“Given the tremendous hardships the people of Sudan have suffered over the years there is still significant optimism about the country’s future. The surveys are revealing in that Sudan’s problems are well understood and the remedies are obtainable. It is hoped that the scale of the losses revealed in this report will be a catalyst for national and international action.”

Notable findings for global trade (all figures in USD):                                        

  • Of the 374 bilateral trade relationships between Sudan and 70 of its trading partners examined between 2012-2018, GFI identified an estimated $30.9 billion in value gaps, which is the difference between what Sudan and each of its partners reported as the values for any given bilateral trade transaction.
  • These estimated value gaps are equal to nearly 50% of Sudan’s total trade during this period with the 70 trading partners.                                                
  • The estimated revenue loss related to the value gaps for this period could potentially be as much as $5.7 billion.                                                
  • Ethiopia was among the top ten trading countries with the highest value gaps as a percentage of total trade with Sudan in all seven of the years studied, while Japan was among the top ten in six of the seven years examined.

Notable findings for crude oil (all figures in USD):                                  

  • Over the seven-year period 2012-2018, GFI detected a volume gap of 9 million barrels and equivalent to 80.1% of Sudan’s declared export volume.
  • In terms of value, Sudan reported exports valued at $4.8 billion during the seven-year period, while in comparison its trading partners reported imports of $8.9 billion; a value gap of $4.1 billion and equal to 4% of Sudan’s declared exports by value.
  • Assuming a conservative royalty rate of 5% along with the country’s corporate income tax rate of 35%, the Sudanese Government might have lost nearly $2 billion between 2012 and 2018. This represents an average annual loss of $279.4 million; more than three times the amount ($89.3 million) the Government spent on social benefits in 2017.

Notable findings for gold (all figures in USD):                  

  • Between 2012-2018, there was a volume gap of 199,286 kilograms (200 tons) of gold, equivalent to 97% of Sudan’s declared gold exports by volume.
  • Correspondingly, the total value gap equaled nearly $4.1 billion, equal to 7% of Sudan’s reported gold exports by value.
  • With a value gap of $4.1 billion, and using annual royalty rates paid by gold producers, there was an estimated potential revenue loss of $575.2 million for the Government of Sudan over the period 2012-2018; which could cover the cost of thousands of additional teachers in a country where the average person receives only eight years of education.

GFI provided bespoke policy recommendations for the Government of Sudan to improve the trade integrity of the global trade, crude oil and gold sectors.

Read the full report here.

ABOUT GFI: Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, producing high-caliber analyses of illicit financial flows, advising developing country governments on effective policy solutions and promoting pragmatic transparency measures in the international financial system as a means to global development and security.


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Activists to Protest Against US Police ‘Killings, Racism’ at US Embassy in Banjul
June 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Madi Jobarteh is  one of the organisers of the event
Madi Jobarteh is one of the organisers of the event

Activists in the Gambia will Monday converge outside the US Embassy in Banjul to protest against racism and killing of blacks by police officers in the US.

According to Madi Jobarteh, one of the organisers of the event, the protesters will meet outside the US Embassy situated on the busy Kairaba Avenue at 10:00 am during which they will take the knee like Colin Kaepernick to symbolize their mourning and condemnation of the acts of violence meted out to Blacks in the US by the police. They will then hand over a signed  petition to the US Ambassador to the Gambia.

In a long post explaining why they are holding the protest in the Gambia, Mr Jobarteh said: “It was White People from Europe and America who got up on their own to come to Africa hundreds of years ago to forcefully kidnap our ancestors and then carry them into slavery in the Americas against their will. Kunta Kinteh never asked to be made a slave. The kings and people of Niumi never invited White People to visit their village to kidnap Kunta Kinteh. Rather slavery was the imagination and invention of White People and it was Europe and the United States that emerged successful from slavery. The people of Juffureh, Niumi, The Gambia and the entire Africa only lost and became weak socially, economically and politically because of slavery.

Kunta Kinteh and his descendants worked all their lives in the United States to build the country and its vast economy to what it is today, for free. Our Ancestor Kunta was never paid for his labour. Even when the US President Abraham Lincoln declared in 1863 that he had freed the slaves, the US Government until today has failed to pay back its Black citizens their fair share or uphold and protect their rights. Even the promise of forty acres and a mule that the US Government said it would give to each and every Black person since 1865 until today the US Government has failed to fulfill that promise.

Yet after 244 years of the US Declaration of Independence in which US Founding Fathers declared that all human beings are created equal and endowed with the inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, the fact remains that African Americans are not treated as such.

Look into the social, economic and political indicators in terms of access to power, leadership, resources, wealth, education, healthcare, housing and voice and you will find Black People are disproportionately lower than Whites. Why? Look into the prisons of the US and you will find Black People forming the overwhelming majority. Look into the number of people killed by police brutality and you will find more Blacks being unnecessarily killed than any other group of US citizens. Why?

Therefore, as Africans on the continent we are going to protest this unfair, unjust, illegal and oppressive treatment of our kith and kin in America. It is high time that each and every African in the continent of Africa makes the issue of America a personal and a national issue. Not just because African Americans are our blood kith and kin but also because we have millions of fellow continental Africans living in the United States. And they have not been spared as we have seen in the murder of Momodou Lamin Sisay few days ago as well as the murder of Amadou Diallo from Guinea in New York in 1999 just to mention a few.

Above all the struggle for independence for African countries was initiated and spearheaded by African Americans more than 100 years ago – well before Kwame Nkrumah, EF Small, Amilcar Cabral and Nelson Mandela and our Patriotic Leaders came onto the scene. African Americans have always been in the forefront and have died in the fight against colonialism and imperialism in Africa because they know that the destiny of Africa is intertwined with the destiny of the Black Man and Woman in America. Read your history to know.

If America touts itself as the beacon of democracy and champion of human rights in the world, then we expect the United States to practice what it preaches. We have even seen the United States Government wage wars and impose sanctions on several countries around the world in the name of defending human rights and democracy. Yet inside America itself that same Government continues to blatantly kill its own Black citizens with impunity. This is unacceptable.

We must therefore raise an international attention to what is happening in America just as America is raising international attention to human rights violations in other countries of the world. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. America cannot claim human rights for the rest of the world yet in its own backyard it is committing gross human rights violations. That is hypocrisy that must be confronted by the rest of the world, and Africans in particular must be in the lead against such hypocrisy because it is our people who are the victims.

Therefore, we are going to request a police permit to embark on a peaceful protest in front of the US Embassy on Kairaba Avenue to submit a petition to the US Ambassador. We want to demand that the US Government enforce its own Constitution, uphold its own Declaration of Independence of 1776 and implement all of its civil rights act to protect the lives and dignity of Black People.

We demand that the US Government investigates the murder of Momodou Lamin Sisay and George Floyd and Breonna Tayler and all victims of police brutality and hold all those officers responsible accountable. Above all, we demand the US Government to immediately put a complete end to institutionalized racism against African Americans in all spheres of life and society.

Stand up for your sons, daughters, brothers and sisters in the United States. We are one!”

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Senegal: AfDB approves 88 million euros emergency budget support for COVID-19 response
May 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank on Friday approved a loan of 88 million euros to Senegal, hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic,  in support of  the costs of its national COVID-19 Economic and Social Resilience Program.

The financing, which falls under the Bank’s COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility, will provide the nation with an emergency budget support program (PUARC) aiming to address the health, social and economic impacts of the crisis. The operation will target support measures providing relief to the most vulnerable households, while safeguarding jobs and enabling businesses to quickly resume. 

The operation will help strengthen the health contingency action plan through support to patient case management and care facilities with the construction of three new Epidemic Treatment Centers (ETCs), the upgrading of 7 others, as well as improving capacities of the intensive care units.PUARC will also support the distribution of food kits and the payment of the electricity and water bills for vulnerable households.

These emergency measures should enable both rural and urban households to make up for the loss of income caused by the pandemic and boost existing measures, such as cash transfers for the poorest.The operation will also support the adoption of measures to shield workers from dismissal and technical unemployment during the pandemic, ensuring that workers are paid a guaranteed minimum wage.

“ Senegal is among the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to face the pandemic. I congratulate the government for the significant efforts deployed and for thebold measures taken at a very early stage, which helped to control the spread of the virus and its social and economic impact,” Bank Director General for West Africa Region Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade said following the approval.

The COVID-19 pandemic is already having a significant impact on the Senegalese economy, through the rapid deterioration of global economic conditions and the spread of the disease. Real GDP growth projections have been revised down from 6.8% to less than 3% for 2020, due to a slowdown in the tertiary sector, especially the tourism and transport sectors.

At the national level, measures to close borders, a curfew and social distancing have deepened the impact of the pandemic on certain sectors and led to the cessation of activities in others.. Sectors such as tourism, land and air transportation, trade ((including youth and women involved in informal sector and cross-border trade) and education are therefore directly affected by the crisis.

“The operation approved today by our Board, will allow the country to create the necessary fiscal space to address the emergency situation, while preserving the macroeconomic framework and growth, to support SMEs and to help the vulnerable populations most affected by the crisis,” Akin-Olugbade further said.

As at 29 May, the country had recorded 3,429 coronavirus cases, with 41 deaths.

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Cabo Verde: African Development Bank Group approves 30 million euros loan to fight COVID-19
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has extended a loan of €30 million to Cabo Verde to help the West African island nation fight the COVID-19 outbreak and mitigate its economic impacts.

The loan, approved on 26 May, will be used to fund the country’s health and social response, support macro-economic stability, and assist the private sector.

As of 27 May, Cabo Verde had reported 390 infections, 155 recoveries and four deaths. Only one of the country’s 10 islands has been affected, namely Santiago, home to the capital city Praia. Cabo Verde is currently focusing on restarting economic activities gradually and the Bank’s support will help the country achieve that in a safer manner.

The Bank noted that while Cabo Verde’s health system was better equipped than that of many countries in the region, it could do with additional capacity in the face of the health crisis.

The pandemic has halted Cabo Verde’s recent strong economic performance. In 2019, its GDP grew by 5 percent. The country, which relies heavily on the blue economy and tourism, is expected to see its economic output contract by 4 percent in 2020.

The Bank funding will support a commitment from authorities to increase the number of ventilators from 20 to 86 in isolation rooms, and in total from 35 to 130 by mid-June.

A social inclusion income program will be expanded to reach a total of 8,000 vulnerable and woman-headed households, out of an estimated 9,000 households living in extreme poverty. Currently, 5,000 households are receiving such support.

In addition, a scheme will be established to partially fund the wages of furloughed workers from affected businesses. Temporarily suspended employees will receive 70 percent of full wages for the duration of the crisis.  

The funding forms part of the Bank’s $10 billion COVID-19 Crisis Response Facility, approved by the Board of Directors on 8 April this year.

The Bank said containment measures had slowed the spread of the pandemic in Cabo Verde.

Measures to contain the virus are expected to have a disproportionate impact on certain segments of the population, which may deepen inequality. Young people in particular stand to be affected, given their already high rate of unemployment and underemployment. Women, who make up a disproportionate segment of affected sectors like services, are also a high-risk group, along with those at the front line of the pandemic in professions like nursing. Other vulnerable groups include unprotected workers, such as those who are self-employed, or in key formal sectors like tourism.

The government of Cabo Verde has created a National Technical Intervention and Response Team, and is budgeting for an increase in the number of key medical equipment and salaries for further medical staff.

The Ministry of Health and Social Security approved the COVID-19 National Contingency Plan in January, detailing strategies for all stages of the pandemic, responsibilities, priorities and action plans across all levels of government.


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CHRDA condemns the Extrajudicial execution of four unarmed young men by State Defense and Security Forces in Buea, Southwest Region Cameroon
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

On Thursday, the 28th of May 2020, the state military conducted an offensive raid around the Neighborhood of Upper Bundouma, situated in Buea, the chief town of the South West Region, which lead to the killing of four (4) unarmed young men. The incident took place in an uncompleted building, where the young men were allegedly caught smoking weed before being executed by the military. According to our sources, the building was raided by the military, and voices were heard of young men crying under pain of beatings for close to 45 minutes before gunshots were heard.

Access to the scene of the incident was restricted for the locals, but after the administrative authorities of Buea visited the scene, the corpses of the victims were taken to the mortuary. A few journalists of the local media who visited the building recounts that apparently there were no weapons found in the building, save for the fact that the building appears to be a host for marijuana consumers. It is also alleged one person survived the shooting and was whisked off by the military to an undisclosed destination.

CHRDA condemns this act in the strongest possible terms as it is a blatant violation of human rights. The extrajudicial executions go in sharp contrast to the fundamental rights protected by the constitution of Cameroon and all International Human Rights instruments as well as the Criminal Procedure Code. All of these instruments proclaim the right to life, right to fair hearing as well the as presumption of innocence which is guaranteed a suspect even when caught fragrante delicto.

In the meantime, no statement has been issued by the state authorities in the Division about the killings, and as we are in wait, we recommend an immediate investigation into the killings so as to give the rule of law a chance to prevail over impunity.

It should be recalled that this is not the first case of arbitrary executions in Buea within the context of the Anglophone crisis. On Monday the 30th of July 2018, five (5) young men in the locality of Bakweri Town, were massacred under similar circumstances. Equally, on Thursday the 27th day of September 2018, the military (BIR) targeted and killed seven (7) identified unarmed civilians in a compound at Ikundi Street in Babuti neighborhood of Buea town.

None of these cases has ever been investigated despite calls from the local and international human rights defenders, yet such incidents keep repeating even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. CHRDA calls on the government of Cameroon to investigate these targeted killings committed by the Defense and Security Forces and put to rest such impunity against unarmed civilians.

*Source CHRDA

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Affected And Shork-Absorbed The Economy: Agriculture In Uganda Throughout Covid-19 Crisis To Date
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Moses Hategeka *

“My son, its unbeliebvable but a reality. Its me you are now seeing, driving and  hawking my poutry farm eggs, from towns to towns, hoping to find customers for my eggs says Mubiru John a poutry and cattle farmer from Mukono district. On being asked, what has prompted him to do so, he narrated to me that, the global Covid-19 crisis, has had a devastating impact on his farm earnings. Since January 2020, the prices of per tray of my eggs, has drastically been reducing from Shs 12,000 to Shs 7000 in May. It is so frustrating for me and other poutry farmers, as I have continue incurring chicken feeds costs yet the farm is yielding no profits but only losses for me”.

 To make matters worse, even the price of per- little of milk from my cattle farm, has in the same period todate been plummeting from Shs 1200 to Shs 300 and yet I have to sustain the farm, which unfurtantely, I am doing on an operating loss. He says!

  The Covid-19 preventive measures among which includes, business shutdown, that  also included shutting down hotels, resturants, food joints, public transport, international airports, and curfew, that the country introduced, made farmers, to loose a big percentage of their customers and market base and this coupled with, the long lockdown period that the country has been and is still partly in, has made the lives of farmers in different parts of the country more miserable, as reports of farmers, especially banana farmers seeing their bananas rippening and getting wasted continues to trickle in due to decreasing number of buyers.

  The situation has been and is being made worse by dwindling of majority of people’s disposable income, with mostly those engaged in informal sector severly affected and unable to meet their basic needs, due to the ongoing lockdown and accompanying preventive mesaures.

  It is mostly only the agricultural dealers who had large stocks of beans and maize flour, that have made serious money during this on going Covid-19 crisis, largely because of the government intervention to massively buy their produce and have it equitably distributed to the low income earners dwelling in urban centers, and also because of people’s preference of their produce to other easily perishable goods like bananas, as theirs, can be stocked and survived on, for a long time, as the country goes on grappling with Covid-19 crisis.

 However, much as the Covid-19 crisis, has made and is making the country, to expereince an economic slump, it is important to note that, both the agricultural productivity loss and profitability that has been registered in various agricultural subsectors, during this ongoing Covid-19 crisis, has largely been a blessing in disguise, in that, it has cushioned the economy from galloping and hyper inflation effects, and also sort of enabled the country to relatively sustain its micro-economic stabilty.

 Going forward, the economic stimulus packages, that many interest groups from different sectors are craving for, from government to enable them stay on course in their business enterprises in this Covid-19 period, should without any debate, firstly be given to the farmers especially to those specifically engaged both in producing and adding value to their farm goods, and to those who are willing to do the same, as well as to agricultural cooperatives that does the same and are willing to establish modernized storage facilities of their members farm products.

 There is no reason, why our banana farmers should be left to cry and see their bananas being wasted, when they can be helped to turn their bananas into banana flour and crisps for consumption not only in Uganda but also in other countries.

 Pumkin and soya porridge is very nutrious and on high demand in our surrounding countries as well as to other countries in Africa and Asia. Our pumkin and soya farmers should be skilled and financially enabled, to add value on their goods and tap into this huge avalialble markets.

  In sum, Agricultural sector, has played and is playing a fundemental role in shock-absorbing the economy in this Covid-19 period and therefore it is prudent that the country should leverage on its excellent climatic conditions, and prioritize agriculture in its economic stimulus plans during this ongoing Covid-19 crisis, and and develop sustainable strategies that will position  the country to not only continue being food secure, but to also become a net exporter of food through deepening agricultural production import susbstitution stratgegy.

 Moses Hategeka is a Ugandan based Independent Governance  Reseracher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer .He can be reached via email:

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Gambia: Defence Minister assures Gambians of Continuous Government Protection
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

The government of President Adama Barrow will never abandon her citizens, Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye reassured the population

Gambia’s Minister of Defence Sheikh Omar Faye has assured Gambians that the government of President Adama Barrow will never abandon her citizens. Speaking during a   recent visit to Garawol Kuta Village in the Upper River Region of the Gambia which was the centre of an incident with Senegalese forces, Minister Omar Faye said the Government of President Barrow had been working tirelessly to resolve the issues.

“The Government of the Gambia will never abandon her citizens, and the immediate deployment of a patrol team that crossed into Senegal to follow up on the case is a clear indication that the security forces and the government will never abdicate their responsibilities,” Omar Faye said.

While some people took issue with the fact that the Minister had taken long to visit considering that the shooting incident took place on the 8 of March, Minister Omar Faye indicated that the government of President Adama Barrow had been working tirelessly to resolve the issues .It has been a long and rocky effort to ensure that peace continues to prevail , he said.

So much has been taking place behind the scenes and will be eventually brought to the public at the appropriate time, Sheikh Omar Faye

Mr Omar Faye informed the villagers that  so much has been taking place behind the scenes and will be eventually brought to the public at the appropriate time. The Minister said he was not there to cover or bend the truth but to inform the villagers that the government was with them and doing everything possible to protect them and ensure that such incidents are averted in future.

Going further,  the Defence Minister said at the diplomatic level a mediation team had been composed to work out modalities to avoid the reoccurrence of this kind of incidents though the outbreak of COVID-19 had slowed things down, the team will continue work.

Defence Minister Sheikh Omar Faye said all was been done to avert such unfortunate events in future .

The experience of Mr Sulayman Trawally and the villagers as a result of the incident and the ordeal were very unfortunate and regrettable, Mr Faye said , and lauded the efforts of the MP for the area ,the Chief and other community leaders whose efforts contributed to the resolution of the matter.

Others who spoke at the gathering were; the Deputy Governor of the Region, the Member of Parliament of the area, the chief of the area, the Alkalo of the Village and two community leaders. They both expressed appreciation for the visit and requested for more support in terms of road infrastructure and security.

The Hon Minister was accompanied to the area by Commissioners of Police, Immigration, Commanding Officer of 3rd Infantry Battalion and other Security heads of the region.

Cross border issues are a regular occurrence in Africa and have often times required great tact and diplomacy to resolve in way that broader relations are not strained. The closeness of Gambians and Senegalese means that people interact frequently on both sides of the border and every now and then misunderstandings could occur. It is therefor in the interest of leaders of both countries to ensure that misunderstandings are handled amicably with issues understood before actions taken.

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Gambia Gay Rights Saga: Sabally Calls On Foreign Minister to Resign
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Head of Civil Service

Momodou Sabally, former Secretary General and Head of Civil Service has called on Dr. Mamadou Tangara to resign as minister of foreign affairs.

European Union mission in The Gambia earlier this month sparked anger after it released a statement suggesting its commitment to gay rights in The Gambia. Some Gambians called for the deportation of the Ambassador.

Some Gambians condemn gays and lesbians and are determined to attack anyone practicing same-sex marriage because they described it as inhuman, ungodly and a serious threat to human existence.

And Mr Sabally speaking in an audio message to Gambians said Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Mamadou Tangara failed to say a word about it.

He said: “This happened,  President Adama Barrow didn’t talk, Vice President Isatou Touray didn’t talk, Momodou Tangara his Foreign Minister didn’t say a word about it.

“I am advising him. We cannot spend the whole time criticising Adama Barrow. Everyone is responsible for a department and this is not a ex- president Yahya Jammeh government where one would say ‘I am scared to talk because of him’. I don’t think Adama Barrow is a dictator yet.

“Dr Mamadou Tangara is the one who betrayed Gambians, he is the one who belittled himself, belittled his tradition and values, belittled his religion. To sit and keep quiet while the White people are playing us, White people who enslaved our people.

“They didn’t do anything here and now they are coming and insulting us during Ramadan and Mamadou Tangara is sitting and saying nothing. This is very deliberate. I am advising him to resign.”

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The “High 5s”: A strategic vision and results that are transforming Africa
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

For the past ten years, Africa has recorded some of the world’s strongest rates of economic growth. At the same time, many African economies continue to function at well below their full potential. Structural transformation is needed to create more jobs, reduce poverty and accomplish sustainable development objectives.

The African Development Bank’s High 5 priority areas are intended to support African countries’ achievement of the SDGS. They are: Feed Africa; Light up Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the  people of Africa. 

Atta Abdul, Fatima-Zahra, Shuaibu, and Daniel are the faces of a continent that is being transformed. By betting on Africa’s youth, the Bank is banking on the future to make the continent a land of progress, prosperity and hope.

Feed Africa

Since 2015, 74 million Africans have benefited from improved agricultural technologies through the Bank’s efforts to support increased food security on the continent.

In western Mauritania, for example, the Brakna-Ouest irrigation infrastructure improvement project, supported by the Bank in the amount of $12 million, enabled 1 500 farming and livestock-producing families to return to cultivating their fields. 

“We come from a farming and livestock-producing family and we grew up in that environment. Our harvest was very poor. We wanted to move somewhere else,” explains Atta Abdul Seck, a project beneficiary in Louboudou in western Mauritania. “As a farmer’s son,  what I liked most when I returned was being able to continue farming. Farming is in my blood,” he says proudly. 

Light up Africa

Without electricity, agriculture cannot effectively meet the growing challenge of food security in Africa. The Bank has made investment in energy a priority. Since 2016, it has mobilised $12 billion for its “Light Up Africa” strategic priority. Through this investment, 13.4 million people have gained access to electricity.

Morocco has made significant progress in widening access to electricity. In just the past twenty years, the electricity system has expanded to cover almost the entire country. The national rural electrification program, supported by the Bank with 155 million euros, has connected nearly 12.8 million Moroccans to the national power grid.

In Dar El Aïn, a village twenty kilometres from Marrakesh, the arrival of electricity has opened new doors for the women of the “Al Amal” cooperative. They use electricity to process their wheat into couscous or create other barley or wheat-based products. “The cooperative processes local crops into added-value products. Now, with electricity, the women are much more efficient, and their products are of better quality. It creates hope,” says Fatima-Zahra, a thirty-year-old member. 

Industrialise Africa

As part of the Bank’s “Industrialise Africa” priority, 9 million people have gained access to private financing. In Nigeria, for instance, where more than 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture, fluctuating harvests have significant repercussions on yields, income and food security. 

One solution is fertilizer, particularly if locally produced. The Bank provided $100 million to support construction of a modern fertilizer plant in Port Harcourt.

Shuaibu Yusuf, a farmer in his thirties who live near Port Harcourt, has experienced the impact of this project in his daily life. “When I used this fertilizer, I saw the difference. My harvest increased by more than 40 percent. I can feed myself, pay for my children’s education, and even their medical expenses,” he says. “I’m going to encourage my children, my neighbours and members of my community to increase their farming activities so we can all progress together,” Shuaibu continues.

Integrate Africa

To derive more benefit from industrialisation, Africa must become better integrated in terms of trade and markets. Through integration, African countries can gain access to larger markets and thereby increase incomes for millions of residents through new opportunities.

Since 2015, 69 million people have benefited from the Bank’s support for new transport infrastructure that has advanced integration. Gaps in the primary transport corridors have been filled, links between countries have been strengthened, and intra-African trade has been revitalised.

A good example of this is The Nairobi-Addis-Ababa corridor, which received$670 million in Bank financing and which has enhanced the potential for trade and job growth in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Daniel Yatta, a forty-year-old Kenyan lorry driver, has been transporting goods between Nairobi and Addis-Ababa for 15 years, and has seen the new road’s impact on his business. “ Back in the day, it would take more than two weeks to drive between Addis and Nairobi,” he says. The new road has made his life much easier. “With the new road, the trip takes only a few days. With 30 tonnes of freight, it only takes about 24 hours to drive to Addis!” he continues.

Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa

An important part of improving living conditions is providing better access to essential services such as health, water and sanitation. Since 2015, Bank-supported projects  have given 43 million people access to water and sanitation

The High 5s’ impact in numbers

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Gambia:Covid 19 shutting down economies, President Barrow tells UN
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Adama Barrow
President Adama Barrow

President Adama Barrow has told the UN high-level virtual meeting on ‘Financing for Development on Covid-19’ that Gambia’s economy s among many others that are shutting down due to Covid 19 pandemic.

The impact of the pandemic has necessitated the world body to convene this high level event, to discuss strategies towards recovery of economies and financing development in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Our economies have been virtually shut down for the past several months as economic growth has become seriously compromised for the foreseeable future,” President Barrow told the meeting.

The Canadian and Jamaican Prime Ministers have joined the UN Secretary General in convening the meeting. The world leaders through this meeting have formed a consensus that Covid-19 is more than a global health challenge.

Rather, they consider it “a serious economic and social challenge” for the global economy, with devastating effects on most vulnerable countries such as The Gambia.

President Barrow told his colleague leaders that it has become more urgent for them to accelerate the implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development in the Era of Covid-19 and beyond.

The Chairman of the African Union, President Ramaphosa of South Africa called for total debt cancellation for African countries. He further called on world leaders to honour their commitments to the Addis Ababa Plan of Action.

A global response package of up to $200 billion is targeted to finance this re-emergence plan. Mr. Ramaphosa expressed his commitment to lead the raising of this funds.

President Buhari of Nigeria and Kenyatta of Kenya were among those who gave strong support to debt cancellation for African countries.

The World Bank has called for extension of debt servicing, warning that creditors must not exploit the vulnerabilities of debtor countries during these times.

The IMF supported the G20’s debt scheme that puts moratorium on servicing debts by developing countries in order to support them build more robust and resilient economies.

The Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres said it was clear that many developing countries lacked the financial means to recover from the impact of Covid 19 pandemic. Their economies’ financial inflows, tourism, remittances, aviation services have hugely suffered that they need global partnership to emerge from this crisis.

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Gambia’s Economy Worsen in 2020- Central Bank Governor
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Bakary K. Jammeh, Governor of Gambia Central Bank
Bakary K. Jammeh, Governor of Gambia Central Bank

Bakary K. Jammeh, Governor of Gambia Central Bank yesterday indicated that preliminary estimates of government fiscal operations indicated that overall deficit, including grants worsened from D24.3 million in the first quarter of 2019 to a deficit of D341.6 million in the first quarter of 2020.

“Revenue and grants in the first three months of 2020 decreased to D4.7 billion from D5.0 billion registered in the corresponding period in 2019. Domestic revenue, which comprises tax and non-tax revenue increased to D4.5 billion during the period under review from D3.0 billion in the same period last year.”

Jammeh was speaking during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) press conference held in Banjul, Governor Jammeh added that the deficit excluding grants have improved to D0.5 billion during the first quarter of 2020 compared to D1.97 billion in the same period in 2019.

He further explained that total government expenditure and net lending increased slightly to D5.02 billion, compared to D5.01 billion in 2019. He added the recurrent expenditure increased by 23.5 % to D4.1 billion (4.1% of GDP) during the period under review.

“Capital expenditure decreased to D948.7 million in the first quarter of 2020 from D1.7 billion in the same period last year.”

Dwelling on the domestic debt, Governor Jammeh stated that The Gambia’s domestic debt remains high, saying the stock of the domestic debt increased to D33.6 billion or 33.2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as at end April 2020, from D32.5 billion or 35.7% of GDP in the corresponding period in 2019.

After reviewing the country’s economy, Jammeh explained that the committee decided to reduce the monetary policy rate by 2% point to 10% to support the economy. It also reduced the statutory required reserve ratio by 2% points to 13%, which will release about D700 million liquidity to banks; and maintain the interest rate on the standing deposit facility at 3% and the interest rate on the standing lending facility at 1% points above the monetary policy rate.

With regard to the decision taken by the MPC, Governor Jammeh encourages banks to translate these to increase lending to the private sector, while adding that the committee will continue to closely monitor the situation and stands ready to act accordingly.

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