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Malawi: Chakwera justifies job creation strategy.
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Joseph Dumbula

Malawians are waiting on President Chakwera to fulfil electoral promises

President Lazarus Chakwera has rallied behind his 1 million job creation ideology, despite a backlash that the campaign promise is not making worthwhile strides.

Before assuming the office of the President, Chakwera and nine other leaders of other political parties came to full popularity at the back of a promise to create more jobs for the youths, who form the country’s largest population.

But a year down the line, government through the ministry of labour has previously said a policy to regulate the initiative is only being developed.

Speaking to BBC Hard Talk, Chakwera insists young more and others have been employed through the Affordable Input Program,- an agricultural subsidy program.

He said his belief is that there is need to empower people so that jobs are created.

Asked on issues of nepotism, against a report that he had appointed his daughter to diplomatic works in Brussels, Chakwera was quick to dismiss the reports.

This contradicts what state house press secretary told the media last week that the president’s daughter deserved the appointment because she is qualified.

Chakwera also defended his entourage saying each had a different role.

Meanwhile, a statement signed by Information Gospel Kazako has clarified that Sean Kampondeni, (Chakwera’s son in law) travelled because he is the assistant to the President while Violet travelled because she is the First Lady’s assistant.

There has been a massive backlash over Chakwera’s interview on BBC with others stating on social media that he underperformed while some feeling he was at his best.

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Court awards $30000 to Kenyan employee whipped in a Chinese restaurant.
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Chez Wou Restaurant was on the spot last year after a Chinese national, Deng Hailan, was caught on camera whipping a Kenyan employee

A Kenyan court has directed a Chinese restaurant based in Nairobi to compensate its former employee $30000 for violating his rights.

Chez Wou Restaurant was on the spot last year after a Chinese national, Deng Hailan, was caught on camera whipping a Kenyan employee identified as Simon Oseko and later dismissed him without proper explanation or explanation.

Following his dismissal, the complainant went to court seeking damages of $50000 from the management of the Chinese restaurant and Hailan for assault and unfair dismissal.

In a judgement delivered on Thursday by the Employment and labour relations court, Justice Mathews Nderi found the restaurant lost his employment prospects and lost his source of income as a result of indignity meted on him by the restaurant.

Justice Nderi also awarded Oseko $720 as compensation for illegal dismissal.

“It is the court finding that the Chinese restaurant used unlawful and unconstitutional methods to punish staff including the petitioner. The court awards the claimant general damages to a sum of $30000 for the human rights and fundamental freedom violations,” ruled the judge.

The complainant told the court that Hailan physically assaulted him after he refused his sexual advances. He noted that he worked for his ex-employer for three months, and within that period, he faced sexual, verbal and physical abuse.

‘The victim suffered extreme cruelty, humiliations, psychological, trauma; pain and suffering loss of self-esteem due to the continuous sexual harassment, corporal punishment, verbal abuse and confinement whilst being humiliated in front of co-workers. The petitioner has hallucinations and nightmares as a result thereof,” Justice Nderi added.

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Cameroon: Witness testimony and satellite images reveal the scale of devastation in Anglophone regions.
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

New research by Amnesty International has revealed the devastating scale of destruction caused by the ongoing conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions.

Fighting between various armed groups and the Cameroonian armed forces has continued unabated for the past three years, with civilians bearing the brunt of unlawful killings, kidnappings, and widespread destruction of houses and villages. Government intervention has been limited, and there has been near-complete silence from the international community.

Violence between government forces and the Anglophone armed separatist groups-who are themselves divided-erupted in 2017, when protests against discrimination and marginalization were repressed by the authorities.

Based on eyewitness testimonies and analysis of satellite images, Amnesty International documented how dozens of civilians have been killed and multiple villages destroyed since 2019.

All parties to the conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have committed human rights violations and abuses, and civilians are caught in the middle. In one particularly appalling case, armed separatists shot dead two elderly women with barrage rifles; in another, Fulani vigilantes burned hundreds of houses and killed four people in a terrifying attack. Fabien Offner, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher.

“All parties to the conflict in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions have committed human rights violations and abuses, and civilians are caught in the middle. In one particularly appalling case, armed separatists shot dead two elderly women with barrage rifles; in another, Fulani vigilantes burned hundreds of houses and killed four people in a terrifying attack,” said Fabien Offner, Amnesty International’s Central Africa Researcher.

“It is difficult to obtain accurate information about the human rights crisis unfolding in these regions, which are hard to reach by road and have poor telecommunications networks. But this is no excuse to look away – without strong action by the authorities and the international community, civilians will continue to bear the brunt of the crisis.” 

The Anglophone regions of Cameroon – the South-West and North-West – make up approximately 20% of the country’s population. Violence has recently intensified in parts of the North-West.

According to the UN, at least 22 civilians were killed in Ngarbuh in the night of 13 to 14 February 2020, including 15 children and two pregnant women, following a military operation. A government inquiry found that during the same incident, “the detachment commander decided to enlist 17 members of a local vigilante committee”. Several sources also reported that members of that “local vigilante committee” were Fulani armed groups.

The situation has heightened tensions with armed separatists who have long accused the Fulanis of cooperating with the authorities. 

Between June and July 2021, at least four policemen were killed in an ambush near the town of Bali Nyonga in the North-West region. Two gendarmes were beheaded in the town of Babadjou in the West region, bordering the North-West in an attack attributed to armed separatists by officials. Other examples include the killing by the army in Bamenda 3 subdivision of civilian man driving a car, and the kidnapping of six local officials in the town of Ekondo Titi in the South-West region.

Nwa subdivision particularly hard hit by violence

Nwa subdivision, located along Cameroon’s border with Nigeria, has been particularly hard hit by the recent violence. Between 22 and 26 February 2021, at least 4,200 people were displaced from seven villages in Nwa, following attacks by Fulani vigilante groups in which at least eight people were killed.   According to the Centre for human rights and democracy in Africa (CHRDA), the Fulani herders “have carried out over a dozen raids against the natives in the villages of Nwa in less than a month”.

Satellite images analysed by Amnesty International show some villages that have been destroyed or burned down in Nwa in February 2021. It is unclear whether Fulani vigilante groups attacked the villages or whether the destruction took place during clashes with armed separatist groups, but the images suggest that the destruction was fairly recent.

For example, imagery taken from the village of Sih on 5 March 2021 shows large areas of blackened vegetation, indicating it was recently burned.  

Like many areas in the North-West region, villages in Nwa subdivision are poorly mapped, meaning not all locations could be verified. 

In the village of Sih, three metre resolution imagery from 11 February and 5 March 2021, shows an overview of the area using the near infrared band which highlights healthy vegetation in red tones and recently burned areas in brown, black tones. Much of the vegetation in the village appears black as of 5 March 2021, indicating it was recently burned. @2021Planet Lab Inc

The village of Ntong was also heavily impacted as shown by imagery from 11 February and 5 March 2021.

  

High resolution satellite imagery from Ntong shows in detail part of the village that was heavily impacted. Three metre resolution imagery from 11 February and 5 March 2021, shows an overview of the area using the near infrared band which highlights healthy vegetation in red tones and recently burned areas in brown, black tones. Small areas within the village appear darker coloured on 5 March 2021, indicating it was recently burned. A 1.5 metre imagery from 3 April 2021, shows many damaged or missing structures. The changes in structures in Ntong appear more isolated, suggesting they were specifically targeted. @2021Planet Lab Inc

Imagery from 3 April 2021 shows multiple areas where structures in the village of Ntim appear damaged or no longer existing. 

High resolution satellite imagery from 2019 shows the village of Ntim in detail. Three metre resolution imagery from 11 February and 5 March 2021, shows an overview of the area using the near infrared band which highlights healthy vegetation in red tones and recently burned areas in brown, black tones. Much of the vegetation in the village appears black, on 5 March 2021, indicating it was recently burned. A closer look, with 1.5 metre resolution imagery from 3 April 2021, shows multiple areas where structures appear damaged or are no longer present – highlighted with yellow squares. @2021Planet Lab Inc

Mbororo communities paying a heavy price

Attacks by armed separatist groups have particularly targeted Mbororo communities-a subgroup of the Fulanis- 

According to unofficial figures Amnesty International received from Mbororo groups, in the absence of official data from the authorities, since 2017, in the seven divisions of the North-West region:

  • 162 Mbororo have been killed
  • Approximately 300 homes have been burned
  • 2,500 cattle have been killed or seized
  • 102 people have been kidnapped, resulting in the payment of almost 270,000 euros in ransom.

One Mbororo traditional leader in Nwa subdivision told Amnesty International:

“Armed separatists came to attack me six times. They destroyed my compound, burned down my brother’s houses. Seven people were killed in my compound. They gathered them in a house, locked the house and burned it. “

Testimonies, documents and satellite imagery reviewed by Amnesty International showed that armed separatists attacked a Mbororo community in the town of Mbem on 16 February 2020.
Four members of one family, aged between 15 and 80, were killed, and three others were injured, including two elderly women who were shot in the forehead, legs and thighs with barrage rifles. The attackers also set fire to 30 homes, the mosque, and looted property, including motorcycles.

A victim and eyewitness whose identity has been verified by Amnesty International said:

“We were coming out of the mosque after prayer, when armed separatists came on three motorcycles and attacked us. They burned all our houses. Two hundred people could not sleep because their homes were razed.”

A photo of the damage in Mbui in Mbem town, Nwa subdivision was geolocated using high resolution satellite imagery from 2019. Satellite imagery from 17 February 2020 shows changes in the structures at the same location. @2021 Planet Lab Inc

During the night of 30 to 31 May 2019, around a hundred armed separatist groups carrying guns and knives attacked Upkwa resettlement camp near Lake Nyos, burning down dozens of Mbororos’ homes and killing cattle.

In October 2019, Amnesty International researchers met two people, one of them who used to work as a motorbike taxi driver, said:

“The armed groups were looking for me because I was a motorcycle driver, and they think the motorcycle drivers are informants for the military. They told us to go back to where we came from.”

Leaders of separatist groups, and participants of the media networks they manage, have also targeted Mbororo communities in aggressive speeches broadcast online.

Some of these speeches could constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence, according to Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Advocacy of hatred escalated after the Ngarbuh massacre in February 2020. On 19 February 2020, an online TV channel belonging to an Anglophone separatist group broadcast a call from a speaker who said:

“These people [Mbororos] are immigrants and it seems their time is over (…) The earlier they will leave, the better…or they will pay the price like any other ‘La République’ citizen that is in the Southern Cameroon (…) All of them if they don’t want to leave, they will die.”
“Hundreds of houses were burnt”

Fulani armed groups have also committed multiple serious human rights abuses.

Between 30 January and 7 July 2020, five people were killed, 600 houses were burned down, and at least 4,500 people were displaced from Koshin, Fangs and Bu-u villages (North-West). These violations took place during attacks perpetrated by about 200 members of Fulani vigilante groups, according to reports by OCHA.

Imagery from February 2020 shows an overview of Koshin village using the near infrared band which highlights healthy vegetation in red tones and recently burned areas in brown, black tones. Areas in the centre of the village appear darker on 17 February, suggesting the structures were damaged or destroyed by fire. @2021 Planet Lab Inc

A resident of Koshin who is now displaced told Amnesty International that the village was attacked on three occasions in February 2019, February 2020 and June 2020.

“The Fulanis came twice. In February 2019 they killed four people and in February 2020 they killed two people and burnt many houses.  Then in June 2020, the state security forces also came in search of non-state armed groups and destroyed the village. They killed one civilian. Hundreds of houses were burnt. There are about 3,000 people [displaced] in the bushes now. They need food, shelter, health services, education, water,” he said.

“Bodies spreading all over… “

According to a report by OCHA, an estimated 350 people fled the village of Kimbi (Boyo Division), following clashes between armed separatist groups and Fulani vigilante groups on 25 and 28 January 2020.

Imagery from January 2020 shows a village in the Kimbi area using the near infrared band which highlights healthy vegetation in red tones and recently burned areas in brown, black tones. Between 12 and 14 January 2020, a large amount of vegetation has been burned in the village and one metal roof structure appears destroyed.

Kimbi was also attacked on 12 December 2019 by Fulani vigilante groups, some of whom were wearing army uniforms and armed with guns, who burned houses and killed people, according to eyewitnesses.

One witness told Amnesty International:

“They went ahead burning palm plantations all over Kimbi, harassing the population, looting people’s clothes, collecting money from people…On 16 December some armed separatists came, and clashes started with Fulanis. There were bodies spreading all over here in Kimbi.”

“The Cameroonian authorities must deliver on their responsibility to protect the entire population indiscriminately, and they should accept the fact-finding mission the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has been calling since almost three years, “said Fabien Offner. The international community must ensure that the humanitarian response aimed at addressing the needs of those affected by the violence, including refugees and internally displaced, is adequately funded. Fabien Offner

“The international community must publicly call on the Cameroonian authorities to urgently initiate thorough, independent, impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations and, if there is sufficient admissible evidence, prosecute those suspected of criminal responsibility in fair trials before ordinary civilian courts without recourse to the death penalty. In addition, the international community must ensure that the humanitarian response aimed at addressing the needs of those affected by the violence, including refugees and internally displaced, is adequately funded.”

*Amnesty International

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EARTHDAY.ORG Releases All-New Africa Climate Ambassador Toolkit
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

Washington, D.C. — EARTHDAY.ORG, the global organizer of Earth Day, today released the Africa Climate Ambassador Toolkit in partnership with a cohort of Sub-Saharan, youth-led organizations including Liberian Youth for Climate ActionsEnvironment Savers ZambiaThe Ianna Mallayka FoundationKichini Gardeners, and Renew Our Earth Inc. The interactive toolkit enables teachers, government officials, members of civil society, and parents to educate youth on the local impacts of climate change and inspire the next generation of environmental activism.

The free online guide includes a variety of interactive exercises, lesson ideas, and more that teach youth how they can engage in climate restoration in their communities. This resource breaks down the causes and impacts of climate change in Africa as well as the necessary actions for mitigation. From tree planting to waste management to climate literacy, a handful of young climate activists share their stories and best practices on a variety of climate topics.

“Youths have not fully understood climate change as a crisis because they have not understood the urgency of the issue. Therefore, informally and formally educating citizens about the science, solutions and how citizens can participate is key to achieving the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Ezekial Nyanfor, Founder of Liberian Youth for Climate Actions and Creator of the toolkit. “Education is crucial to promote climate action because it helps people understand and address the impact of the climate crisis and empowers people with the knowledge skills, values, and attitudes needed to become an agent of change.”

“This toolkit is incredibly important because it is created by sub-Saharan youth for sub-Saharan youth. There is a huge need for material written in an African context to address the lacking presence of climate education amongst youth and the larger general population. We are hoping that this toolkit will be the first in a series of educational materials aimed to share stories, spread knowledge, and inspire others through best practices to make real change in their communities,” said Matthew Lefler, EARTHDAY.ORG-Africa Manager.

Download the Climate Civics Toolkit here: https://bit.ly/3y7Z815

Toolkit Creators:
Ezekiel Nyanfor, Liberian Youth for Climate Actions
Enock Mwewa, Environment Savers Zambia
Ianna Mallayka, The Ianna Mallayka Foundation
Irene Nagudi, Kichini Gardeners
Dr. Ugoji Adanma Eze, Renew Our Earth Inc.
Yundeh Alfreda Butler, Liberian Youth for Climate Actions
Kadiatu A. Sheriff, Liberian Youth for Climate Actions

EARTHDAY.ORG Editors:
Callie Smith
Matthew Lefler
Jean-Betrand Mhandu
Derrick Mugisha
Ghammid Abdulbasat
Juliana Schmidt
Rachel Weisbrot

About EARTHDAY.ORG:
EARTHDAY.ORG’s mission is to diversify, educate, and activate the environmental movement worldwide. Growing out of the first Earth Day (1970), EARTHDAY.ORG is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 150,000 partners in nearly 192 countries to build environmental democracy. More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world.

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ABA honors Nigerian lawyer with international human rights award.
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

Adeola Austin Oyinlade

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2021 — Adeola Austin Oyinlade, a Nigerian lawyer, human rights advocate and international law expert also known for providing pro bono legal services to those in need in Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 ABA International Human Rights Award.

The award was established to honor an individual or organization that has made an exceptional contribution to the advancement of human rights outside of the United States. One of the association’s top human rights honors, the award is given on behalf of five ABA entities — the Center for Human Rights, the International Law Section, the Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice, the Litigation Section and the Rule of Law Initiative.

Oyinlade has “advanced solutions to human rights issues across Africa, including the South Sudan political crisis, the Central African Republic crisis, the Congo Democratic Republic armed conflict and the Libyan peace talks,” ABA President Patricia Lee Refo said. She also praised his contribution to the African Union on the implementation of the African Youth Charter.

In 2008, Oyinlade began hosting a human rights empowerment radio program that educates Nigerians on the scope of their constitutional rights. The radio program simplifies listeners’ understanding of the law and assists to seek justice for human rights abuses. He also is a founder of Constitutional Rights Awareness and Liberty Initiative, an organization that works toward expanding the frontiers of human rights and democracy in Nigeria by educating people about their rights and responsibilities and by providing legal assistance.

In 2016, Oyinlade unveiled “Know Your Rights Nigeria,” the first-ever human rights empowerment app, which simplifies human rights and constitutional safeguards in several languages, including English, Pidgin and other major regional languages. Users have the option to chat with Oyinlade and a team of 50 lawyers for free legal support on human rights issues and to report human rights abuses.

The virtual award presentation will take place during the ABA Hybrid Annual Meeting on Thursday, August 5 at 11:30 a.m. CDT.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law

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President Biden nominates Peter Hendrick for Ambassador in Mozambique.
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

President Joe Biden announced on Tuesday his intent to nominate Peter Hendrick for Ambassador in Mozambique in replacement of Dennis W. Hearne,in Mozambique since December 2018.

Peter Hendrick Vrooman, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, is the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Rwanda. 

Vrooman recently served as the Chargé d’Affaires and Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.  Prior to that he served as the spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi; Director for Iraq on the staff of the National Security Council in Washington, D.C.; and Deputy Political Counselor in Tel Aviv and at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. 

He also worked at the U.S. embassies in Baghdad, Beirut, and Djibouti, as well as the U.S. Liaison Office in Mogadishu, Somalia.  In Washington, he was a Watch Officer in the Department of State’s Operations Center and the Desk Officer for Algeria in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. 

A native of New York, Ambassador Vrooman graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in Social Studies and earned an M.S. in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed Forces, now known as the Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, he worked as the special assistant to the President of the American University in Cairo.

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Chronic diseases rampant among Kenyans below age 40.
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi

Cancers, heart diseases, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases are the most prevalent Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) in Kenya.

The Ministry of Health said the diseases affect mostly young Kenyans below 40 years as they account for 53 percent of all NCDs patients.

Health Chief Administrative Secretary Dr. Mercy Mwangangi said NCDs are now contributing to 39 percent of all deaths, attributing the growing burden among young people to poor lifestyle choices and a polluted environment.

Dr. Mwangangi spoke during the launch of the 2022-2026 Kenya National Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases in Nairobi. The strategy put more weight on prevention and control measures, as well as strengthening health systems.

Dr. Gladwell Gathecha from the non-communicable diseases department, during the event named tobacco use, consumption of unhealthy diets, insufficient physical activity, and harmful use of alcohol as risk factors.

She further noted that 19 percent of Kenyans are either obese or overweight. Only 17.5 percent of men are overweight compared to 38.5 percent of women. On the other hand, 13.7 percent of those who are obese are women, whereas 4.7 percent are men.

NCD Alliance-Kenya, a local non-profit organization, chair Dr. Zipporah Ali asked the government to provide free treatment to NCDs patients.

“Most people with NCDs cannot access essential medicines, so a strategy is just one thing. We also need to look at control of food because many cannot afford special diets,” stated Dr. Zipporah.

NCDs are causing a negative economic impact on families, said Dr. Mwangangi.

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Children Are Targeted in Anglophone Cameroon Violence.
July 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Rebecca Tinsley*

Dormitories of PSS Mankon in the North West Region went up in flames last January.Photo courtesy

A new report describes how schools are being targeted in arson attacks across Cameroon’s English-speaking regions in the country’s increasingly violent Anglophone Crisis. Children are deliberately mutilated, abducted and killed as armed separatist groups and government soldiers terrorise civilians.

The independent investigation by Bellingcat verified 13 recent attacks using satellite images. It is thought that two hundred schools have been attacked or set on fire since 2018. Armed separatist groups use violence to enforce a ‘school boycott,’ while government security forces punish those keeping children from school, trying to convince the international community that normalcy has returned.

The investigation draws on initial research by the Cameroon Anglophone Crisis Database of Atrocities, working with the Berkeley Human Rights Center in one case. Bellingcat is an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists. Its report, “How Schoolchildren Became Pawns in Cameroon’s Anglophone Crisis,” is based on videos posted on social media by civilians, soldiers and armed groups, and open-source material and satellite imagery.

Among the incidents catalogued in the report are two attacks in 2018 on a Presbyterian school near Bamenda during which almost 100 teachers and children were abducted, interrogated and held for ransom. They were eventually released unharmed.  

In October 2020, men on motorcycles armed with machetes and guns killed seven children and wounded a dozen at Mother Francisca International Bilingual Academy in Kumba. In November 2020, students and teachers at Kulu Memorial College in Limbe were forced to strip and then run away before the building was burned. More recently, in February 2021, the wing of a Catholic school in Nkambe was burned.

The school boycott originated as a temporary protest measure. In 2016, lawyers and then teachers peacefully protested against the Francophone-dominated central government’s placement of French-speaking judges and teachers in English-speaking courts and schools, including a systematic erosion of Anglophone Common Law procedures. “This…prompted the shutting down of almost all schools across the region in order to raise awareness of the damage such a move would bring to our education system” .

The Biya government responded to the 2016 protests with what human rights groups described as disproportionate force, arresting peaceful protest leaders and shutting down the internet for three months. In October 2017, some Anglophones unilaterally declared the regions to be an independent country called ‘Ambazonia,’ prompting more crackdowns. As the violence intensified, armed pro-Ambazonia groups emerged, enforcing “ghost towns” that shuttered the economy, and maintaining the school boycott.

Four years later, most schools have not reopened. A warning from the “Ambazonia Defence Forces” appeared on Facebook in August 2019, telling parents to continue the boycott and not send their children to school, saying, “You will have only yourselves to blame.” Although the Biya government has signed the Safe Schools Declaration, it has not kept schools safe. Government officials have urged a return to school, but parents lack confidence because there are insufficient security measures.

UNICEF estimates that more than one million youngsters (out of a total Anglophone population of six million adults and children) have been out of school for almost four years. The Cameroon Ministries of Basic and Secondary Education recently announced that 70,000 children have now returned and 400 schools have reopened. However, it is understood that those schools are in towns and cities, whereas institutions in more remote areas are reluctant to reopen for fear of attack. Cho Ayaba of the “Ambazonia Governing Council” claims that children could attend school, but only in areas controlled by his armed group, and only learning from an Ambazonian curriculum.

The Bellingcat report quotes teachers who “walk a thin line” between the armed separatists enforcing the boycott and the government security services trying to end the ban. In addition, teachers say they are harassed by not only the warring parties but also by criminal gangs extorting money. Voices in civil society express concern that the school boycott is self-defeating, producing a generation of illiterate youth and deterring any international allies from supporting legitimate Anglophone grievances.

Before he died earlier this year, Cardinal Christian Tumi warned that violently enforcing the school boycott was turning the Anglophone population against the separatists. He mentioned a girl whose hand was amputated by separatists as she went to sit her exams. Cardinal Tumi was kidnapped and interrogated by an armed Anglophone group in November 2020. He was later released unharmed but died in April 2021, age 90.

Ambazonian leaders believe the boycott demonstrates their control over the Anglophone population and their leverage over the Biya regime, although only Anglophone children and their communities are suffering. Many parents keep children home while those who are wealthy enough send them to schools in the Francophone regions (where, paradoxically, they learn in French), forcing education in the Anglophone regions to largely cease. Before the conflict began, Anglophone schools had a reputation for such high standards that Francophones would send their children to school there.

Most separatist leaders live overseas, where their children are not missing school. They refuse to back down unless they are seen to win concessions from the government. In a Newsy video accompanying the Bellingcat report, Ebenezer Akwanga, leader of the Southern Cameroons Defence Forces (SOCADEF) separatist group, says that the boycott could compel the government to come to the table, although there is no evidence this tactic is working.

The prominent barrister Felix Agbor Nkongho of the Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Africa (CHRDA), co-led the first peaceful protests in 2016 that started the Anglophone Crisis. He was imprisoned for eight months by the Cameroonian government. He says, “Perhaps at a time the school boycott was good, but a school boycott cannot run for long. And you cannot sacrifice the well-being of kids for political reasons.”

Meanwhile the Swiss Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue continues to offer to host inclusive peace talks. Both the government and some armed separatist groups have declined to participate. Meanwhile, a million Anglophone children live in fear of violence today and unemployment in the future.

*Rebecca Tinsley is a human rights activist and journalist. She is the founder of Network for Africa, and her most recent novel, When the Stars Fall to Earth, is set in Darfur. Stars Fall to Earth, is about Darfur and is available in English and Arabic

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Nigeria: State Sponsored Terrorism Against The Yoruba People Must Stop- -Attorney Ade Omojola On ICC Case Against President Buhari .
July 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

We filed the Submission at the ICC, because we cannot secure justice for the Yoruba people within Nigeria, due to the hijacking of the federal government, by agents of Fulani identity, says Aderemilekun “Ade” Omojola

State sponsored terrorism against the Yoruba people in Nigeria has reached alarming levels and must be stopped at all costs, says   Aderemilekun “Ade” Omojola, ., a U.S based Attorney in  New Jersey  who  recently filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court ,ICC against  Nigerian officials.

The complaint accuses multiple members of the Nigerian government of genocide, torture, and crimes against humanity amongst other charges. Officials listed in the complaint include Muhammadu Buhari, President; Hameed Ibrahim Ali, Comptroller-General, Customs; Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, Police, Former Inspector General; Mohammed Adamu, Police, Former Inspector General; Usman Alkali Baba, Police, Current Inspector General; Tukur Yusuf Burutai, Former Chief of Army Staff; Farouk Yahaha, current Chief of Army Staff; Sadik Abubakar, Air Force, Former Chief of Air Staff; Ahmed Abubakar Audi, Former Commandant General, Security & Civil Defense Corps; Abdullahi Gana Muhammadu, current Commandant General, Security & Civil Defense Corps;  Muhammed Babandede, Comptroller General, Immigration Service; Abubakar Malami, Lawyer,
Minister of Justice, Attorney General.

“We filed the Submission at the ICC, because we cannot secure justice for the Yoruba people within Nigeria, due to the hijacking of the federal government, by agents of Fulani identity, who are promoting the Fulani agenda,” says Ade Omojola in an exclusive interview with Pan African Visions.

To Omojola, a reasonable outcome from the ICC, would be  to launch a thorough investigation, and to ultimately prosecute and punish as many individuals as are found to have been complicit or active in facilitating the evil that is befalling the Yoruba people.

Could you start by giving us some background and context into the case you have filed against Nigerian leaders at the ICC?

Nigeria’s federal government is now dominated by the Fulani, along with the security agencies; we allege that they are complicit and actively supporting Fulani terrorism against the Yoruba People, in an attempt to take the land, and subjugate them into a political minority and permanent underclass.

This is set forth in greater detail on pages four and five of the Submission to the ICC.

What are the issues between the Yoruba tribes and the Federal government?

The federal government, or I should say, the Fulani government, has become a lever in the hands of the Fulani, who have hijacked it, and are using its powers and resources to crack open the society, for Fulani from across Africa, who aren’t even Nigerian, to dominate Yoruba ancestral lands, and to subjugate the Yoruba People as a permanent underclass. Violence and terrorism are their principal tools, for which Fulani terrorists have been imported; the federal government is allegedly complicit and actively facilitating through a supply chain, this the violent terrorism of the Yoruba People. They are doing the same to our brothers in the Middle-Belt and the South East.

The crimes took place in Nigeria, why are you suing at the ICC and what competence or jurisdiction does it have  over crimes of that nature perpetrated in Nigeria?


We filed the Submission at the ICC, because we cannot secure justice for the Yoruba people within Nigeria, due to the hijacking of the federal government, by agents of Fulani identity, who are promoting the Fulani agenda.  Those facilitating this evil are the ones running the Nigerian government. Abubakar Malami, for example, is the supposedly the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, but he has become a minister of injustice, in purposefully failing to protect the Yoruba People, by refusing to enforce the law via prosecution of government officials, who are complicit or actively facilitating these crimes. 

Whereas, under the Rome Statute, to which Nigeria became a state party on June 1, 2000, the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over acts of genocide and crimes against humanity, in cases where the government refuses to do anything meaningful about the situation.

Is there any precedence for the kind of justice or case you have lodged against Nigerian authorities?

  • On November 22, 2017 the ICC, through the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia convicted Ratko Mladic of the former Yugoslavia, of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide; the court went on to sentence him to life imprisonment.
  • In April 2012, the ICC, through the Special Court for Sierra Leone, convicted Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia of Liberia of terror, murder, and rape; the Court went on to sentence him to 50 years in prison.


The images are pretty shocking and traumatizing for the human conscience, how were this obtained?

We issued a call for our People to send to us evidence of the atrocities, and we received hundreds of still and motion images, some of which were included in the Submission. 

Nigeria is a deeply polarized country, we see a so many high profile authorities listed, what about the local authorities in whose jurisdictions the atrocities took place?

It is impractical to list local government officials, because the incidents occur across several local government jurisdictions throughout Yoruba land. Whereas the purpose of the Submission is to trigger an initial review by the ICC prosecutor, and a subsequent investigation by the ICC. We have every confidence that when the ICC launches a full-scale investigation, many other individuals who are not listed in the submission will also be brought before the Court. 

With many of the accused persons from the Northern part of the country, are you concerned your team may be criticized for wading into the sectarian political fights of Nigeria?

The very essence, the foundation, and the roots of what the Yoruba are facing is ethnic, or as you put it, “sectarian” in nature, in that the Fulani seek to dominate Yoruba ancestral lands and subjugate the Yoruba as a permanent underclass. As the fruit is subject to the roots, the claims, and most likely the ultimate solutions will, by nature, have a heavy ethnic or “sectarian” element. 

Do you intend to use just the documents you have available or are there plans to have some of the victims testify in person?

We will follow the lead of the ICC, cooperate with them in the investigation, and facilitate whatever is necessary to secure justice for the victims. 

What kind of reaction have you received from the public and the Nigerian government on the case?        

News of the filing went viral, particularly in Nigeria and among Yoruba Civic Organizations, who ensured that the Nigerian news media gave it due attention. Yoruba People have been elated about the Submission; someone even wondered why it took so long for someone to file such a submission with the ICC, while another person contacted me to confirm if the Submission were real or a rumor circulating on social media.

With regard to the Nigerian government, shortly after the Nigerian news media broke the news of the filing, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) ordered television and radio stations not to disclose “details” of the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in daily Newspaper Reviews” as reported by the Daily Trust and several other news outlets. We believe news of the ICC filing caused the government to target the media houses with this order, because when the ICC decides to investigate, they could likely begin their investigation with information documented in the archives of the news organizations, who report these stories. 

President Buhari and others are accused of been complicit in fostering genocide against the Yoruba people in Southern Nigeria

From gathering evidence, and hiring lawyers , running such a case should require considerable resources, where are the funds coming from or everything is pro bono?

The greatest expense thus far, has been the time spent in producing the Submission to the ICC, which I have offered pro bono to our beloved Yoruba People, as a sacrifice, in our pursuit of justice for the unfortunate victims, many of whom have perished, thereby paying a much greater price.

What will be considered a reasonable outcome for you and the victims you represent in this case?

A reasonable outcome from the ICC, would be for the for the ICC to launch a thorough investigation, and to ultimately prosecute and punish as many individuals as are found to have been complicit or active in facilitating the evil that is befalling our People.

If the case does not go in your favor, how far are you willing to go to get justice?

We have filed our Submission, at the appropriate venue, in accordance with the rule of law, and we have every confidence that justice will be served.

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Microinsurance can mirror mobile money boom in Africa – if the conditions are right
July 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Marius Botha*

Marius Botha is Group CEO of African Insurtech aYo Holdings

When it comes to mobile money, there’s no doubt that Africa leads the world. From humble beginnings as a peer-to-peer money transfer system back in 2007, it has boomed to nearly $500bn in transactions in 2020, with more than 560 million users across the continent.

According to the GSMA’s State of the Industry Report on Mobile Money 2021, global daily mobile money transactions exceeded $2 billion for the first time last year, and are expected to pass $3 billion a day by the end of 2022. And there’s still more growth where that came from. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 45% of the continent’s population has an active mobile phone. 

What’s interesting is that customers are not only using their accounts more frequently, they are also using them for new and more advanced use cases. Many of the socio-economic and development challenges arising from the pandemic are being tackled with mobile money solutions. This suggests that more people are moving away from the margins of financial systems and are leading increasingly digital lives, the report said.

This is particularly good news for the microinsurance sector, which is growing steadily across Africa on the back of mobile network expansion, and is covering millions of people against financial shocks caused by unexpected life events.

Will microinsurance’s growth mirror that of the mobile money space in Africa? It’s hard to say at this stage. Right now, there are 130 mobile-enabled insurance services in 28 countries, with over half offering coverage for life and funeral or health and hospitalisation services. According to the GMSA report, 43 million policies were issued in 2020, two-thirds (29 million) of which were life and health insurance policies.

For microinsurance to show MoMo-like growth a few things have to happen:

First, a shift in existing perceptions of insurance as something that’s expensive, reserved for the middle class, or not to be trusted. This shift is slowly gathering momentum, largely through word of mouth. The more people experience the tangible benefits of microinsurance, the more they talk about it in their community, which drives greater trust – and ultimately, greater uptake.

Secondly, we need greater diversification of product and benefit options. While some insurance providers have already expanded their offerings from life and health insurance to income protection, education and even house insurance, life and health coverage remain the prevailing offerings.

Thirdly, it’s vital to have enabling insurance and telco regulations across the continent. For example, tax on the use of airtime as a premium collection method in some markets will have to be exempted in some countries. In others, restrictions on mobile money premium collections will have to be amended. The challenge is to build in consumer protection mechanisms to prevent over-charging of customer airtime or mobile money wallets from multiple products, and to ensure sufficient balances remain for other spending needs.  We certainly don’t want to see outcomes similar to over-indebted consumers burdened with additional debit order or payroll collections for insurance, as has happened in some markets in the past.

Finally, we need to ensure profitable business models for all product providers in the value chain.  While mobile channels reduce the marginal costs of accessing information and participating in financial service activities, the industry still relies on driving sufficiently high volumes of transactions at low costs, and low-cost distribution models. Many consumers still demand some level of face-to-face intermediation, which adds a layer of costs to the equation.

The stage is set for microinsurance to boom in Africa – and hopefully follow the mobile money growth trajectory. And that will be good for everyone, most of all consumers who are currently underserved and under-covered. Let the growth begin.

*Group CEO of African Insurtech aYo Holdings

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COP26 President Meets Kenyan President, highlights need for Developed Nations to honor climate finance pledges.
July 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

Africa–On Tuesday, COP26 President Alok Sharma held talks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in London, ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in November. The two presidents discussed the upcoming climate conference and the need for developed nations to honor their pledges towards climate finance to developing countries, in Africa and beyond. Developed countries had pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year in climate financing to developing countries, by 2020. 

The climate finance pledges include resources to support developing countries in building resilience to climate impacts, protecting ecosystems, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and aligning their development pathways to net-zero carbon futures. 

Charity Migwi, 350Africa.org Regional Campaigner said: 

“Progress on delivering the climate financing promised to developing countries has been slow. Developing countries in Africa and elsewhere continue to suffer from the disproportionate effects of climate change. Climate impacts such as drought and flooding currently being experienced in parts of Africa are a testament to the devastating effects of climate change. This support is required to fund adaptation measures to protect communities and habitats, investment in renewable energy and phasing out of dirty energy. Africa cannot address climate change without the developing nations honoring their commitments regarding climate action.”

President Uhuru Kenyatta also witnessed the signing of an agreement for Kenya to join the Adaptation Action Coalition (AAC). The coalition, which was formed in January 2021 is aimed at supporting action to adapt and build resilience to the impacts of climate change. The two presidents also attended a session showcasing climate mitigation and adaptation technologies developed by African scientists.

COP26 is the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference that will take place in Glasgow, UK in November 2021. The conference will bring together 190 world leaders to hold deliberations geared towards reaching an agreement on how to tackle climate change. 

The Paris Agreement which was adopted by 196 parties at COP21 in Paris in 2015, affirms that developed countries should take the lead in providing financial assistance to countries that are less endowed and more vulnerable, while encouraging voluntary contributions by other parties. 

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Gender-lens investing and the post-COVID19 economic recovery in Africa.
July 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Lindeka Dzedze*

Lindeka Dzedze is Standard Bank Group Executive Head of Institutional Clients and Global Markets

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and intensified the already deep inequalities across Africa as unemployment has risen.  According to research conducted by McKinsey, women in Africa currently account for more than half of the population, but only generate a third of the continent’s GDP, as of 2018. In addition, 40% of SMEs in sub-Saharan Africa are women owned, but only 20% of these have access to institutional finance, leaving a funding gap of about $42 billion in often overlooked sectors and industries where women are economically active. 

A recent IFC report revealed that gender-balanced teams in private equity generate a 20% higher net internal rate of return and according to McKinsey’s research, advancing women’s equality in the workplace would add $28 trillion to annual global GDP, equivalent to the economies of China and the USA combined. The business case for gender lens investing and gender-smart strategies is compelling in the private sector.

While we see significant progress and change taking place as a result of the accelerated interest in economic, social and governance (ESG) investments since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there is a need for more emphasis on the social element, and gender in particular. The investment opportunity for capital allocators is significant.

Progress in gender-lens initiatives seem to have stalled since the onset of the pandemic, and at the current pace, it will take an estimated  140 years to see gender parity in Africa. To speed this up, strategic partnerships and continued multi-stakeholder action is needed to deploy gender-lens capital at scale.

It is for this reason that the Standard Bank Group joined forces with the United Nations (UN) Women HeForShe movement in 2018, with CEO, Sim Tshabalala standing up as a thematic champion of the movement. HeForShe invites men and women to stand in solidarity with gender equality and promote women’s empowerment.

Standard Bank has been intentional and has taken deliberate action in this regard, implementing socially impactful projects that target and empower women across of the continent to be the drivers of Africa’s growth and sustainability.

In 2020 we launched the African Women Impact Fund Initiative (AWIF) in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) with the aim  of creating a sustainable investment platform to grow the number of women asset managers on the continent. Women currently manage less than 6% of the funds in Africa and typically only get funding for micro type initiatives. We are effectively looking to move women from small-scale money management to making large sustainable capital allocation decisions.

Through the AWIF, we set ourselves an ambitious target to raise $1 billion over ten years for women-owned and managed asset management firms. They will in turn be invested in high-impact businesses and projects across the continent, driving female entrepreneurship.

We are harnessing the power of finance to promote inclusive and sustainable development in Africa. Working in partnership with UN Women, we have collaborated with stakeholders to empower 50 000 women farmers in Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa, through modern, climate-smart agricultural practices. This includes working to negotiate equitable market terms and to establish business and social contracts with sustainability-focused retailers.

For over a decade we have also worked with Lionesses of Africa, an established network of over one million female entrepreneurs across the continent, and through this vehicle supported their businesses as they grow from strength to strength.

Change begins at home, and we are also committed to reaching gender parity in executive positions across our operations. Aligned to this we have set ourselves a number of targets and are steadily working towards their realisation. One such target is for 33% representation of women on our board by the end of 2021. Women in executive positions across the group in Africa are now up to 33.6% and we are confident of reaching our target of 40% by 2023. In South Africa, women already make up 36.3% of executive positions and here too, we plan to reach our target of 40% by the end of this year.

Standard Bank’s employees are the biggest champions of this cause and we want to visibly lead in this space, making an impact that is real and valuable to women across the continent. We aim to be even more visible and purposeful in championing gender issues because we recognise that for Africa to emerge out of this pandemic stronger, women must be placed at the centre of economic recovery plans on the continent.

* Standard Bank Group Executive Head of Institutional Clients and Global Markets

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Former U.S President Barrack Obama joins NBA Africa as a strategic partner.
July 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Former US President Barrack Obama has joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) Africa as a strategic partner to help advance social responsibility efforts across the continent, announced the association on Tuesday.

He will be the minority stakeholder in the organization, a position he intends to use in the future to fund Obama Foundation youth and leadership programs across Africa.

“By investing in communities, promoting gender equality, and cultivating the love of the game of basketball, I believe that NBA Africa can make a difference for so many of Africa’s young people,” said Obama.

In the release, the ex-POTUS highlighted his love for the sport during his tenure. He noted that his father, a Kenyan, made him love the game when he gave him his first basketball at age 10.

“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States—using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa, basketball has the power to promote opportunity, wellness, equality, and empowerment across the continent,” he stated.

NBA Africa is making tremendous progress in Africa, including running Basket Africa League, inaugurated in May 2021 featuring 12 teams. It also expands the NBA’s presence in priority African markets, deepening the league’s engagement with players and fans across the continent and growing Africa’s basketball ecosystem through programs like the Jr. NBA, Basketball Without Borders (BWB) and NBA Academy Africa.

“I’ve been impressed by the league’s commitment to Africa, including the leadership shown by so many African players who want to give back to their own countries and communities.  That’s why I’m proud to join the team at NBA Africa and look forward to a partnership that benefits the youth of so many countries.”

“The NBA has always been a great ambassador for the United States—using the game to create deeper connections around the world, and in Africa,” he added.

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THIS EGYPTIAN SENATOR, AFRICAN WOMAN CEO, FASHION ICON, EMPOWERS FASHION WITH PURPOSE IN AFRICA.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By BrandVoice Partner*

Senator Rasha Kelej is the first African woman to be Merck Foundation CEO, one of the world’s most important foundations, who has kept her efforts going for the last ten years.

Rasha Kelej is the brain behind the inspiring ‘More Than A Mother’ campaign – a rallying call against female infertility stigma – for which she was recognized as one of the Most Influential Africans of 2019 & 2020. The campaign, one of the most successful causes that have been taken forward by Merck Foundation, empowers childless and infertile women through access to information, health, change of mindset, and economic empowerment. More than 20 First Ladies rallied behind the campaign as Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More than a Mother” campaign, which is very impressive.

Hailed from Egypt and based in Dubai, this versatile lady and a style icon is a trailblazer and is influential in changing the perception of how fashion, film, music, and media can be utilized to address sensitive social and health issues such as breaking infertility stigma in Africa. This has been exemplified with the launch of “More Than A Mother’ Fashion, Films, Songs & Media Awards as she strongly believes in the critical role art, media, and fashion play in creating a culture shift, addressing sensitive issues and health matters in our communities.

ENATOR DR. RASHA KELEJ IS A PROLIFIC WOMAN AND HEALTH RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER:

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej has been appointed by The President of The Arab Republic of Egypt as a member of the Egyptian Senate in 2020.

Called ‘Mama Africa’, Senator Kelej is an inspirational pioneer in the transformation of Patient care in Africa. More than 1000 doctors from 42 countries have benefited from Merck Foundation scholarships of specialties training in critical fields.

She emphasized, “During Coronavirus pandemic, it has been more important than ever to build capacity and training of specialized doctors. In some of these countries, they have never had even one oncologist, for example. They may have a general practitioner, but they did not have specialized doctors. We simply made history in these countries such as The Gambia, Burundi, Guinea & Liberia.”

“Our strategy and our program have been crystal clear – to invest in professional healthcare capacity building, and by helping train skilled doctors in the midst of this pandemic, has made a big difference,” she adds.

She is truly a force of nature and one of Africa’s unsung ‘sheroes’ of women empowerment and health advocates.

A Style icon and a champion to empower Fashion with Purpose in Africa

It is worth noting that Senator Rasha Kelej pays great attention to her looks and has a special and unique style that mixes international and African fashion. She never abandons the look of the outgoing, creative businesswoman who keeps pace with all international fashion trends, but rather mixes them with elegant touches of the African looks, which highlights the talent and creativity of many African fashion designers. Dr. Rasha Kelej is a truly African fashion icon and a champion of empowering fashion with purpose in Africa through supporting and mentoring potential new African fashion designers. She launches an annual competition through the Merck Foundation for the best design that carries messages that address sensitive social and health issues. She explained to us “My vision is to develop a community of young African fashion designers in order to catalyze a movement whose reach extends far beyond just fashion. But to create a culture shift and be the voice of the voiceless in their communities.“

“Fashion industry has already got enough flakes for being superficial. Let’s change this perception and create a meaningful fashion trend aiming to educate our communities. I love fashion and I strongly believe that designs can make Men and Women proud to wear to show their contribution toward their communities, villages, cities, across Africa ”

She added, “I will pay more attention to helping and supporting new fashion designers and talents in Africa to start their lines and professional journey in their countries, at the same time I am committing to raising awareness to correct misconceptions and wrong habits through their work and designs. I will also start two very important projects, I am planning for production of a TV program directed to African countries to unleash these talents, and also the start my own fashion line targeting Africa, through which I will cooperate with new talented designers from time to time to spread community awareness in rural African communities. It is not only my hobby, but it is also part of my personal contribution towards my beloved Africa.”

We can see what is unique about Senator Rasha… it is her appreciation for art, fashion, and media as critical partners in Merck Foundation’s journey of transforming patient care, sensitizing our communities, and addressing sensitive issues such as breaking infertility stigma, supporting girl education and stopping GBV. She is also cementing her position in African pop culture, capitalizing on her experience in TV production via releasing 20 songs with popular African musicians. She has developed concepts, produced, and sometimes directs their video clips herself. She also produced and directed an inspiring pan- African song called ‘My White Army’ as her personal contribution to thank the doctors and nurses fighting on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle. The song, featuring singers from 11 African countries in three languages Arabic, English, and French, has received high acclaim from the continent.

She is the first and perhaps the only one to utilize fashion and art to break infertility stigma in Africa.

“I’d like to invite all fashion designers, singers, filmmakers, media representatives, and young talents to apply for these important awards and become health and social champions to become the voice of the voiceless in their communities. Kindly share in entries through an email at Submit@merck foundation.com”, she added.

To know more about Rasha Kelej’ s journey in creating a culture shift and leading Merck Foundation efforts in transforming patient care in Africa, please visit www.merck-foundation.com

*Courtesy of Forbes Africa

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Ghana:We’ve Never Seen Computer Mouse – Bece Candidates Frustrated
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

With a few weeks to the commencement of the 2021 Basic Education Certificate Examination (BECE), final year pupils of the Ata Ne Ata Basic School in the Shama District of the Western Region say the odds are stuck against them.

The BECE candidates of the school are raising serious academic and infrastructural concerns which they strongly believe may cause them to perform poorly in the final exam.

The thought of writing subjects they have little knowledge about sends constant shivers down their spines. Some major concerns raised by the distressed students are the lack of computers at an empty room labeled as ‘ICT Lab’, lack of textbooks, and a library.

Sadly, most of the students have never seen even a computer mouse before. The students said they had not even seen a computer before.

However, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the subjects they will be assessed in during BECE to be conducted by the West African Examination Council (WAEC).

There are no story books for us to read so we can’t speak good English. We don’t have computer lab. We have never touched any part of a computer before. We only see them on paper, most at times too our teachers use their mobile phones to teach us, but we’ll be writing ICT. Isn’t this unfair?” a final year student who spoke (in Akan) on behalf of her colleagues lamented.

The headmaster himself doesn’t have an office. According to him they are not happy about this. If they are able to touch and feel a computer, they we’ll be happy and encouraged to study hard.

Taking a keen look at their classrooms, they don’t have electricity, fixed doors and windows so anytime it’s about to rain, they have to run back home to avoid getting wet.

The uncemented floors make the rooms slippery any time it rains and it is sad to dress neatly to school in the morning and come back home with dirty clothes due to the dust. They were asking answers into why government has abandoned them? They asked the question if they we not part of Ghana?

Though it is quite late to come to their rescue, the aggrieved students have appealed to the government, non-governmental organizations and philanthropists to have mercy on their school and donate some reading materials and laptops to save their juniors from failing in the future.

“I know that in some schools in [the urban areas] plenty computers are there which are not being used, but we are unfortunate to have none. So please I beg can you give us some?” a student appealed.

Former School Management Committee Chairman Lordson Alan K Akili poured out his frustration about the poor state of facilities in the school, including the headmaster’s office and staff common room.

There is no headmaster’s office and a staff common room, forcing teachers to find solace under trees on the compound.

He further stated that when it is about to rain, they move the tables and chairs to the uncompleted classrooms and at times close down and leave for the children to go home.

Mr. Akili also joined the students to make a passionate appeal to the government and well-meaning individuals or groups to come to their aid and donate some computers, text and story books, and furniture to improve teaching and learning in the school.

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Bank Of Ghana Keeps Policy Rate At 13.5%
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of Ghana has kept the policy rate at 13.5 per cent,

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison said headline inflation has eased sharply and reverted within the medium-term target band, driven mainly by the tight monetary policy stance and some base drift effects.

The latest forecast remains broadly unchanged with inflation projected to remain within band and around the central path in the forecast horizon barring any upside risks from fiscal pressures.

On fiscal operations, the budget deficit exceeded its target in the first five months mainly on the back of revenue underperformance.

Going forward, he said expenditure has to be aligned to revenue performance to support the fiscal consolidation efforts.

At 76.6 percent of GDP in May 2021, the level of public debt raises debt sustainability concerns and the Committee reiterated the importance and urgency of fiscal consolidation efforts.

Greater efficiency in debt management would be required, especially in the face of potential further tightening of global financing conditions which could heighten rollover risks and access to new financing in the outlook.

This calls for strong vigilance and complementarity in fiscal and monetary policies to signal to the markets a strong commitment to consolidation.

“On the whole, the Committee assessed that the risks to inflation and growth were broadly balanced and decided to keep the policy rate at 13.5 percent,” he stated.

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SADC stand by force has not yet arrived in Mozambique
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The SADC stand by force has not yet arrived in Mozambique, despite the mandate envisaged that the deployment of the force should happen as from 15 July, defence ministry spokesman Omar Saranga said yesterday.

An advance team has arrived, as well as security analysts. Pictures of a South African military transport plane have been circulating, apparently at the airport of Pemba in Cabo Delgado.

“So from 15 July to now activities have been undertaken in order to receive this force, which is rather substantial. Steps are being taken so that it can be received and carry out its work. That means there are advance teams which are working with our troops on the ground to receive the force,” Saranga said.

South African defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told members of parliament on Sunday that an advance party would determine if the full SADC force was needed; the size has not been revealed, but military experts advised SADC in April to send almost 3,000 troops plus helicopters, aeroplanes, patrol ships and a submarine.

Meanwhile, Rwandan troops, who have already arrived in Mozambique, have begun to engage the insurgents. They reportedly killed 30 insurgents, who were retreating towards the Tanzanian border, after encountering them at the village of Quionga.

President Filipe Nyusi has said that no other country supplying troops to fight terrorism in Cabo Delgado province has asked for anything in return, calling the help an “act of solidarity”.

Nyusi said that the situation had improved overall in the region compared to a few months ago, but he admitted that there were still areas controlled by insurgents, including Awasse, where intense fighting continues for an area that was under terrorist control until recently.

The president also reiterated that Mozambique was in charge of the foreign troops deployed to the country and that Mozambicans should not fear their presence.

According to the Ministry of Defence, besides South Africa and Botswana, Tanzania and Angola have also confirmed that they will send forces.

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Kenyan Chief Justice Martha Koome to hold discussion with judges from India, UK, and South Africa.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenya’s Chief Justice Martha Koome

Kenya’s Chief Justice Martha Koome will on Wednesday hold a roundtable meeting with both former and sitting Supreme Court judges from India, UK, and South Africa to discuss the independence and integrity of the Judiciary.

Justice Sujata Manohar has convened the virtual meeting, a former Supreme Court of India Judge, hosted by the Justice K. T. Desai Memorial Committee with the Bombay Bar Association.

Justice Koome will be joined by Kenya’s Supreme Court Judge Isaac Lenaola and Lady Justice Mary Arden of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

Justice B.N. Srikrishna, a former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, and Justice Albie Sachs, a former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, will also be in attendance.

Others are Sharad Rao, Chairman of the Judges and Magistrate Vetting Board in Kenya; Jan van Zyl Smit, from the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law in London and Arvind Datar, senior advocate in India. 

The meeting comes in the backdrop of the frosty relationship between the Judiciary, the executive and the legislature.

On July 7. Justice Koome wrote to Speakers Justin Muturi (National Assembly) and Kenneth Lusaka (Senate) protesting against “frequent, multiple, overlapping and duplicating” summonses from Parliament’s committees.

She claimed the summons threaten the functions of the Judiciary and Judicial Service Commission (JSC)-Judges and Magistrates employer.

She incited summons, including the one on May 10, 2021, by the Senate standing committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, and Human Rights. The committee had summoned the Chief Registrar Anne Amadi to discuss the state of the Judiciary and Administration of Justice annual reports for the financial year 2018/2019 and 2019/2020.

She reminded the two Houses that the JSC is independent and not subject to direction or control by any person or authority.

Koome noted that the oversight role of the National Assembly has bounds.

“I am keen to explore constructive engagement with both Houses of Parliament, particularly on the accountability of the Judiciary, all within the permissible bounds of our respective constitutional mandates,” read part of the letter.

President Uhuru Kenyatta was also in the limelight in the past few weeks for failing to appoint six out forty judges recommended by the JSC.

The executive is also facing allegations of disobeying court orders.

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President Mnangagwa Scored only 2% out of a full package of 2018 fully-fledged pledges .
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks at the 2019 Global Business Forum in Dubai on 19 November 2019, /Photo courtesy: Emmerson Mnangagwa – Twitter

Zimbabweans expectations  bare-faces a silhouette of a dark shadow . This comes after it has been learnt  and revealed by SIVIO Public Policy Institute .The civil society report reveals the leader of the country President Emmerson Mnangagwa dismally failed to fulfil a plethora of promises signed in 2018 . This was  some months after he took Presidential office post from embattled  coup sized and  deceased  Robert Mugabe .

The Institute pilot survey , qualitative and sieved quantitative data “reveals Mnangagwa dismally failing to reach height of his acme plans “. In total  there were 237 promises which culminated into  expected pledges in various sectors of governance. From the total , only 5 ( five) promises hit the ground running .

His success and victorious promises in sundry package of sincerity surrounds bit and pieces on economic issues , governance , politics and civil rights . One of his pledges was to enhance foreign currency retention thresholds for exporting firms , prompt an export oriented strategy and ensure the country‘’s infrastructural development related to roads in rural and urban areas get fully rehabilitated , double macadamized main highways from city to city .

SIVIO Institute report says ,

“Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on January 2021 reversed a decision to force exporters including mining companies to sell their large proportion of  their US$ dollar earnings if they were not used  after 60 days.

“Zimbabwe’ balance of payment position continues to strengthen after surging 4,25% in 2020 compared to same period last year on account of strong growth in exports” , reads the report .

President Mnangagwa boasts he has come up with 20 Bills into law . Out of 44 drafted constitutional changes , 27 are in parliament .

President Mnangagwa has said several times ” The new dispensation respects the rule of law , respect of human rights and ready to work with investors “.

“We are open for business , with action , not words , we  build this country”. We will work hard to build up on infrastructure , economic reforms and attract investors “

President Mnangagwa has talked of elimination of corruption . He has tried to bring to book some ZANU PF corrupt people of high figure . Some are said to have returned back wealth that they accumulated during Mugabe reign. His concern centred on accountability , transparency in the government and both in the private sector .

President Mnangagwa after taking office in November 2017 he took a different direction to look opposite the direction of ZANU PF and  bury the bad practices which Robert Mugabe took as norm in his 37  years of dictatorial and tyrant rule . Of all elections done in Zimbabwe , the 2018 elections were directly peaceful with order without political violence . It was only revealed by independent media through information of the European Union observer mission that there was latent , hid and indirectly perpetrated violence in rural and farming communities where people were coerced to vote for ZANU PF during night meetings. The most tragical incident of all was the killing of six ( 6 ) protesting supporters among them innocent people who died in Harare on 1 July . Thus where Mnangagwa lost the confidence in terms of human rights observance.

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Mozaambique: Schools reopen in terrorism-hit district
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim


A Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) staff member measures a child’s upper arm circumference to check for malnutrition in Meluco, in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, Feb. 19, 2021, Photo MSF

Ten out of eleven schools have reopened in the district of Meluco, in Cabo Delgado province, after being closed because of terrorism in the region.

According to the district’s administrator, Paulo Lilanda, all schools have resumed classes except for one that was destroyed, and the government is working with the community to rebuild it.

The children who attended that school had moved to another school nearby, but it added around 6km to their journey, he said. The district was working to allocate the resources necessary to rebuild the school, Lilanda added.

On the other hand, the suspension of work on TotalEnergies’ natural gas project in March led to the direct loss of around $116m of revenues and the suspension of 3,250 work contracts, including people directly employed by TotalEnergies, President Filipe Nyusi said in a speech in Maputo on Sunday.

The terrorist attack on the town of Palma, near the gas project site, affected the operations of at least 28 companies, 17 of which suffered substantial material damage, Nyusi said.

In all the districts affected by the violence since 2017, mining activity had been completely paralysed and agriculture had become risky, which had had an impact on families that depended on farming for survival, the president said. In addition, the districts of Mocímboa da Praia, Quissanga, Macomia, Muidumbe and Palma do not have any health services, he added.

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Namibia Minister, NAMCOR and Petroleum Commission Commit to African Energy Week in Cape Town, Promote Oil and Gas Agenda and Opportunities for Investment.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Commitments made by Minister of Mines and Energy Hon. Tom Alweendo, NAMCOR, the Petroleum Commission, and AIPN further position African Energy Week as Africa’s premier energy conference in 2021.

Namibian government representatives, public- and private-sector industry executives, and International Oil Companies (IOC) have committed to African Energy Week (AEW) 2021 in Cape Town on the 9th-12th of November. During a recent visit to Namibia by a delegation from the African Energy Chamber (AEC), the team met with various Namibian stakeholders, gathering key insight into the country’s high potential energy sector and promoting AEW 2021 in Cape Town as the ideal platform to drive investment in and growth across Namibia’s energy sector. By participating at AEW 2021, and taking part in the exciting networking opportunities the conference will present, Namibia is set to accelerate international participation in the country, driving economic growth, and positioning itself as an emerging energy competitor.  

With productive meetings underway, many Namibian stakeholders have already declared their commitment to the upcoming AEW 2021. As of yet, the AEC have met with Hon. Tom Alweendo, Minister of Mines and Energy; Maggy Shino, Namibia’s Petroleum Commissioner; Immanuel Mulunga, Managing Director of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR); and Shakwa Nyambe, Managing Director, Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN)– Africa Chapter and Founder and Managing Director of the Namibian law firm Shakwa Nyambe & Company Inc., all of which have announced their support of and commitment towards AEW 2021. With an emphasis on local content, technical and regulatory affairs, and exploration and production, Namibia will drive a strong narrative for investment in its energy sector at AEW 2021.

The AEC team met with the Minister to discuss Namibia’s upcoming oil boom, the increase in upstream activities, and the role that AEW 2021 will play in advancing the country’s energy sector. Representing a relatively new oil and gas sector, and yet one with significant resources, Namibia is open for investment and is actively seeking partners to develop its industry, establish Namibian energy independence and security, and fast track economic growth. The AEC’s meeting with Hon. Tom Alweendo reiterated the role of AEW 2021 in contributing to Namibia’s oil boom, driving investment as well as both regional and international participation in the country’s emerging sector.

Furthermore, meetings with Immanuel Mulunga from Namibia’s national oil company, NAMCOR, emphasized the potential of the country’s oil and gas sector, providing insight into the current exploration activities across the country. NAMCOR has fully committed to AEW 2021 and will host a Namibia Pavilion at the event, showcasing the range of investment opportunities present in the sector and providing a base for which critical knowledge about the country can be gained. With NAMCOR playing an integral part in the AEW 2021 program, the country is set to drive investment and ensure energy security for years to come.

“Namibia is committed to AEW 2021, and we are honored to announce the participation by government and industry leaders. Namibia represents one of the most lucrative investment destinations in Africa, with emerging oil, gas and mining industries backed by a focused and modern regulatory framework positioning the country as a global competitor in 2021 and beyond. AEW 2021, as Africa’s premier energy conference, is the ideal platform by which Namibia can showcase its energy sector to the world, attracting significant foreign capital that will drive both energy sector and economic growth country wide,” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the AEC. 

Finally, meetings with Namibia’s Petroleum Commission highlighted the role of local content and a supportive regulatory environment in advancing Namibia’s energy sector. Maggy Shino has declared that the Commission is fully committed to AEW 2021 and will participate in the event’s exciting program, hosting various technical and regulatory programs in a bid to promote Namibia and drive a constructive dialogue on the role of regulation. Additionally, the Commission, being particularly content driven, is focused on making AEW 2021 a success and will work hand in hand with the AEW 2021 team to ensure as such.

Namibia’s emerging energy sector – comprising approximately 11 billion barrels of oil reserves and 2.2 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves – has attracted significant attention from both IOC’s and oil and gas explorers. Due to the country’s favorable regulatory environment, and under the leadership of Hon. Tom Alweendo, Namibia has seen an influx in upstream activities, positioning the country as one of Africa’s final frontiers for oil and gas exploration. Notably, a recent drilling campaign by Reconnaissance Energy Africa indicated that Namibia’s 6.3 million-acre Kavango Basin may hold billions of barrels of oil, creating the opportunity for an oil boom, driven by progressive policies and a favorable investment climate.

Additionally, Tullow Oil plc is exploring Namibia’s offshore basins and ExxonMobil the frontier Nambie basin in partnership with NAMCOR, with new exploration campaigns by Qatar Petroleum and Shell in Block 2913A and 2914B, as well as the Venus exploration well by Africa Oil Corp, operated by Total Energies, further accelerating upstream activities, all of which are attributed to Namibia’s ease of doing business. The AEC looks forward to the results from these campaigns and aims to further promote the country as a premier investment destination at AEW 2021.  

With day two of the AEC’s working visit to Namibia expected to comprise critical meetings with the private sector, Namibia’s role in AEW 2021 has been emphasized. AEW 2021 serves as the ideal platform for African countries to showcase significant opportunities, network with African and global stakeholders, and facilitate the critical deals necessary for Africa’s energy future.

For more information about Africa’s premier energy event, visit www.aew2021.com or energychamber.org and/or email Amina Williams at amina.williams@energychamber.org

For registration-related inquiries, please contact registration@aew2021.com  

For sales-related inquiries, please contact sales@aew2021.com 

For media-related inquiries, please contact media@aew2021.com

For speaker-related inquiries, please contact speakers@aew2021.com

*African Energy Chamber

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Banks in Somalia to boost financial inclusion for women and youth.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments
We believe that this program will reduce challenges that non-bankable populations in Somalia face when they need capital support for their businesses, says Victoria Sabula, CEO of the AECF

Nairobi, Kenya – The AECFis pleased to announce that it has signed partnership agreements with IBS Bank and MicroDahab MFI, to promote women, youth, and agricultural producer groups in Somalia under the aegis of the Finance for Inclusive Growth in Somalia (FIG – Somalia) program funded by the European Union.

Victoria Sabula, CEO of the AECF said,

“The AECF is pleased to have the IBS Bank and MicroDahab MFI as part of our transformational program in Somalia. We believe that this program will reduce challenges that non-bankable populations in Somalia face when they need capital support for their businesses. We also hope that this new access to banking services will provide financial freedom for women and youth in Somalia.”

The Finance for Inclusive Growth in Somalia (FIG-Somalia) program aims to connect women- and youth-owned businesses and producers to financial institutions allowing them to access financing and technical support. It is envisaged that the FIG-Somalia program will reach nearly 8,000 beneficiaries and will create up to 4800 decent jobs; 40% of the program targeted beneficiaries are expected to be women entrepreneurs.

FIG-Somalia is a pilot programme component under the European Union’s Inclusive Local and Economic Development (ILED) programme, whose objective is to contribute to stability in Somalia by extending state authority and services, promoting local reconciliation and peacebuilding, creating inclusive economic opportunities and protecting the most vulnerable.

The objective of FIG Somalia is to revitalize and expand the local economy with a focus on livelihood enhancement, job creation and broad-based inclusive growth for Somali women, youth and producer groups.

The project is part of EU’s “Inclusive Local and Economic Development programme” (ILED). The European Union (EU) and its Member States are supporting stabilisation, inclusive economic growth and protection for the most vulnerable in Somalia through the ILED programme (ILED, EUR 98.2 million). Among ILED’s key objectives is an inclusive and sustainable economic growth based on a sound appreciation of challenges and potentials in Somalia.

About The AECF

The AECF is an African development funder that supports innovative commercial businesses in the agribusiness, renewable energy and adaptation to climate change technology sectors with the aim of reducing rural poverty, promoting resilient communities and creating jobs through private sector development.

The AECF provides patient capital to highly innovative, early-stage and growing enterprises that are hidden gems, poised for greatness, but that struggle to access funding from traditional sources of finance.

Launched in 2008, the AECF has mobilized over US$ 356 million, leveraged more than US$ 749 million in matching capital, improved the lives of more than 27.7 million people, created and sustained 24,733 direct jobs. Up to the present, we have supported 339 impact focused Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in 26 countries across sub-Saharan Africa across 40 value chains aligned to our focal sectors in agribusiness and renewable energy.

About the IBS Bank

IBS Bank is Somalia’s premier regional commercial and Investment bank with its headquarters in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia. The bank currently has ten (10) branches operating in key towns across Somalia.

IBS was incorporated in July 2013 and licensed by the Central Bank of Somalia (CBS).

IBS is the first Somali bank that has introduced full banking products & services to cater for private, public, national & international clients and the first to have started the usage of the SWIFT Code and IBAN which are recognized worldwide. The bank strictly observes international best financial standards and practices in its operations.

The Bank has received the best bank of the year award at Somalia Annual Business Award for two consecutive years. The Bank’s strategy of being a People’s bank with technology geared towards creating financial value to customers has yielded dramatic results with increasing market share realized from new demand for banking services. As a result, the Bank has doubled its business in all forms year on year in the last three years.

About Microdahab MFI

MicroDahab Company (Microdahab MFI) is the leading microfinance institution (MFI) in Somalia, with branches all over Somalia and Somaliland regions from Borama to Kismayo.

It was founded to enhance the growth of small, medium micro-enterprises (SMMEs) and create employment opportunities for the youth, women & productive sector. It is Dahabshiil Group’s way of giving back to the communities, taking them from vulnerability to sustainability to growth. MicroDahab MFI has 22 branches and 5 satellite branches.

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A Call For Direct Investment In The People Of Africa.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Prof Martin M. Niboh*

Prof Martin M .Niboh is Founder & President, of Igniting Africa. an indigenous community development grassroots movement

In a June 6, 2018, article in the Washington Post titled, “The future is African — and the United States is not prepared,” Salih Booker and Ari Rickman of the Center for International Policy state the following,

Beginning in 2035, the number of young people reaching working age in Africa will exceed that of the rest of the world combined and will continue every year for the rest of the century. By 2050, one in every four humans will be African. At the end of the century, nearly 40 percent of the world’s population will be African. Yet, instead of preparing to build a relationship that can grow with the continent, based upon diplomatic cooperation, the United States is doubling down on more than a decade of reliance on its military as the primary vehicle of engaging with Africa. The consequences, as one might expect, are overwhelmingly negative.”

The USA risks losing Africa, not just from negligence but also from a toxic relationship. It is like the lover who ignores you, and when they reconnect, they do so in unhealthy ways. While the USA has relied on its military as the foundation of U.S. relations with a complex and rising Africa, China, Europe, and the rest of the world have seen the folly of such reliance on the military.  China is investing in Africa in ways the USA is not. The Pentagon may be able to provide weapons, training, and vehicles to African militaries. Still, such military emphasis cannot offer Africa’s needs in free enterprise, trade deals, infrastructure projects, advice on agriculture, good governance, transparent political parties, and social movements to promote democracy and human rights.

Dr. Dambisa Moyo, in her book Dead Aid, has stated that “In the fractured world of Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, Africa’s fragile and impoverished states are a natural haven for global terrorists. Porous borders, weak law enforcement and security institutions, plentiful and portable natural resources, disaffected populations, and conflict zones make perfect breeding grounds for all sorts of global terrorists.”

The consensus is that political stability, sustainable physical health, economic prosperity, and social cohesion are not words that describe the Africa of today. But the adverse effects of Africa’s challenges will not be contained within the continent. Indeed, the persistently high number of people in poverty, the underdevelopment of infrastructure, ongoing conflicts, and continuing problems with democratic governance are already combining to force many Africans to flee their homelands. Thousands of Africans have died in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea in our lifetime as they flee Africa to seek freedom and prosperity in other countries. But that does not have to be the case for the Africa of tomorrow.

Africa’s development impasse demands a new level of consciousness, a greater degree of innovation, a generous dose of honesty about what it will take to build a prosperous Africa. At the very least, Africa needs an indigenous, grassroots, financially self-sufficient Pan-African movement of humanitarian entrepreneurs whose calling is to continually expand unconditional love, liberty, and free enterprise in Africa. Africa also needs a global community of Friends of Africa to encourage its indigenous grassroots movements to better Africa.

In the face of dictatorial and often ruthless governments in Africa, this indigenous, grassroots, Pan-African movement needs the courage of the unknown Chinese man who stood against Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square in June 1989. Therefore, Africa indigenous movement needs encouragement from a community of friends of Africa across the world. Otherwise, the indigenous movement won’t survive.

It is in the role of a “Friend of Africa” that the American government can encourage trade deals, infrastructure projects, advice on agriculture, good governance, and also inspire the American people to promote free enterprise, transparent social movements that humanitarianism, liberty, democracy, and human rights.  No real friend of Africa should send foreign soldiers to Africa. After all, one of the lessons of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is that it is cheaper to build nations with entrepreneurs and civic movements than with soldiers and military forces.  

It is in the interest of the USA, Europe, and the rest of the developed world to encourage the building of a united and prosperous Africa.  But the history of Africa’s relations with the rest of the world reveals a strong desire to exploit Africa. Even the good-intentioned presence of thousands of business people, humanitarians, engineers, and other technicians, in Africa has been primarily exploitative in its effects.

The participation of foreigners and foreign governments in Africa should provide material, human, and financial resources to Africa’s indigenous grassroots movements working for a united and prosperous Africa. This change will require a shift in mindset in our foreign friends. They are comfortable with their friends in African government institutions, Western nongovernmental organizations, and financial institutions but less comfortable with indigenous Africa leaders who are not a part of existing institutions. It is no secret that current institutions have failed Africans. It is time for direct investment in the people of Africa who are working to improve institutions and build new institutions that serve the people of Africa.

If the USA and the rest of the West who claim to promote democracy invest in the people of Africa at the grassroots and if they do so in ways that encourage the practice of free enterprise, humanitarianism, and liberty in Africa, then no one ever has to send thousands of soldiers to fight terrorists or tyrannies in Africa.

An African proverb says the best time to plant a tree would have been twenty years ago, and the second-best time is now. Similarly, the best time to build a united, free, safe, peaceful, powerful, and prosperous Africa would have been more than sixty years ago, and the second-best time is now.

*Prof Martin M.Niboh is a Former nuclear physicist, former Professor of Physics and Mathematics ,and a Contemplative Humanitarian Entrepreneur & Activist, He is Founder & President, of Igniting Africa an indigenous community development grassroots movement. He can be reached at president@thetorchbearer.org

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Anti-Gay Bill Seeks To Get Ghana Blacklisted For Promoting Hate – Gabby Otchere-Darko
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Former Executive Director of the Danquah Institute, Gabby Otchere-Darko has said the activities of homosexuals are already illegal in Ghana. He said the new anti-gay bill that has been sent to Parliament will only lead to Ghana being blacklisted for promoting hate.

Gay+ activities are already illegal in our country. But, we aren’t known to hate. The President has given his word he won’t legalize it. According to him the Bill only serves one purpose: to get Ghana blacklisted for promoting hate! Further said, the promoters of the Bill can’t say they aren’t aware.

The Member of Parliament for the people of Ningo Prampram Samuel Nartey George and some other lawmakers are sponsoring an anti-LGBT+ Bill in Parliament.

Portions of the bill reads “A person who, by use of media, technological platform, technological account or any other means, produces, procures, markets, broadcasts, disseminates, publishes or distributes a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill, or a person uses an electronic device, the Internet service, a film, or any other device capable of electronic storage or transmission to produce, procure, market, broadcast, disseminate, publishes or distribute a material for purposes of promoting an activity prohibited under the Bill commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a term of imprisonment of not less than five years and not more than ten years.”

Sam George is receiving flak from some quarters for sponsoring the anti-LGBT+ agenda. A Ghanaian musician Sister Derby who is also a known advocate of LGBT+ rights in Ghana “obsessed with people’s sexual orientation” and tagged him as a pervert and backward thinker.”

But he has said his is opened to intellectual debate on the anti-LGBT+ Bill he and some of his colleague lawmakers are sponsoring. Speaking in an interview said emotional outbursts have no place in legislation.

The lawmaker said they are opened to intellectual criticisms or criticisms and suggestions grounded in law.

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Government Of Ghana To Earmark $25million For Local Production Of Covid Vaccines.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The Committee established by the President will be under the leadership of world-renowned Ghanaian scientist, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that the global shortage of coronavirus vaccines means that Ghana must develop its capacity to produce own vaccines domestically, and reduce the dependence on foreign supplies. He said Ghana must be self-sufficient in this regard in the future, and prepare better to deal with any such occurrences in the future.

To this end, he said in an address to the nation on Sunday July 25 that the Committee he established, under the leadership of the world-renowned Ghanaian scientist, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, to investigate Ghana’s potential as a vaccine manufacturing hub, to meet national and regional needs, has presented its preliminary report which, amongst others, recommends the establishment of a National Vaccine Institute to spearhead this development.

According to the President, the Government has committed to inject seed funding of some twenty-five million United States dollars (US$25 million) this year into this whole enterprise. The Institute, Mr. Akufo-Addo said will be charged with delivering six clear mandates.

These are establishing local vaccine manufacturing plants; deepening Research & Development (R&D) for vaccines in Ghana; upgrading and strengthening the FDA; forging bilateral and multilateral partnerships for vaccine manufacturing in various areas, such as funding, clinical trials, technology transfer, licensing, and assignment of intellectual property rights; building the human resource base for vaccine discovery, development, and manufacture; and establishing a permanent national secretariat to coordinate vaccine development and manufacture.

President Akufo-Addo further indicated the government is procuring some 18,478,670 vaccines through the COVAX facility, African Medicine Supply Platform and other bodies.

He noted that these vaccines will arrive in the country in the third quarter of the year. The United States of America through the COVAX facility is providing 1,000,000 Pfizer vaccines; the African Union is providing 229,670 Pfizer vaccines while the United Kingdom is giving out 249,000 AstraZeneca vaccines.

The Government of Ghana is also in the process of procuring seventeen million (17 million) single dose per person Johnson & Johnson vaccines, through the African Medicine Supply Platform, in this quarter.

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Majority of Kenyan men living with HIV unaware.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

A study published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome has discovered that thousands of Kenyan men live with HIV without knowing.

The research was conducted by Kenya’s National Aids and STIs Control Programme and US Centre for Disease Control in Kenya.

Researchers found out that 33.7 per cent of 114,776 men interviewed and tested for HIV in Kenya and 12 other countries are HIV positive and not aware.

The study further found that 63 per cent of those unaware of their HIV positive status had never been tested for the virus.

The number of Kenyan women going for HIV tests is higher than those of men. Statistics show that in the last 12 months, almost 72 per cent of women were tested for the virus compared to 45 per cent of men.

“The results from this large sample suggest that many men in sub-Saharan Africa are likely unaware of their HIV-positive status due to the compounding effects of sociodemographic, behavioural and clinical influences,” read part of the study.

The researchers have proposed partner testing, frequency of testing, outreach and educational strategies and availability of HIV testing where men are accessing routine health services to improve the yielding of testing programmes.

“Increased access to and frequency of HIV testing is needed to identify undetected infection in men including in settings where they are accessing services for TB and voluntary medical male circumcision,” they added.

The data from the Ministry of Health shows that Siaya(21 per cent), Homabay (20.7 per cent), Kisumu (16.3 per cent), Migori (13.3 per cent) and Busia (7.7 per cent) have a higher prevalence of HIV infection.

Nairobi County is also among the top ten counties.

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Reprieve for South Sudanese as Kenya waives visa requirements.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Kenyan Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Ambassador Macharia Kamau.

South Sudan citizens can now do business or social activities in Kenya without hindrances, announced the Kenyan government.

In a statement released on Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said South Sudan citizens will not need a valid passport to enter Kenya effective July 26, 2021.

The ministry noted that the move was occasioned by the warm and cordial relations between Kenya and South Sudan.

It said the waiver will enhance cultural ties and strengthen the economy of both Partner States by encouraging free movement of persons and labour, which are key pillars in the integration of the East African Community.

The waiver was in adherence to the provisions of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

“Further, in line with Article 10 the EAC Common Market Protocol, the workers of the two Partner States will be allowed to accept employment within the territory of each other,” read part of the statement.

South Sudan, in turn, waived visa requirements for Kenyans wishing to visit the country.

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Israel Readmitted To The African Union .
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

This diplomatic achievement is the result of efforts by the Foreign Ministry, the African Division, and Israeli embassies on the continent , says Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid .Photo credit Kobi Wolf/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Israel has been readmitted back into the African Union 19 years after it was ousted from the continental bloc. Israel was suspended from being an African Union observer member in 2002 at the time when the Organization of African Unity was rebranded into the African Union. The readmission of Israel into the African Union means it now joins its nemesis Palestine in being an African Union observer member.

The news of Israel’s readmission into the African Union was first publicly conveyed by Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid who in a statement said, “This is a day of celebration for Israel-Africa relations. This diplomatic achievement is the result of efforts by the Foreign Ministry, the African Division, and Israeli embassies on the continent.” Yair Lapid was speaking soon after Israel’s ambassador to Addis Ababa Aleleign Admasu had submitted Israel’s charter to the African Union as an observer member.

In his remarks, Yair Lapid went further to state that “This (rejoining the African Union) corrects the anomaly that existed for almost two decades… and is an important part of strengthening of fabric of Israel’s foreign relations. This will help us strengthen our activities in the continent and in the organization’s member states.”

In the recent past, Israel made attempts to rejoin the African Union but with no success. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2016 became the first Israeli leader in decades to travel to Africa and visit a number of countries – Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. The recent success as according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry was necessitated by a “diplomatic operation” that involved a visit by the ministry’s director-general of African Affairs Aliza Ben-Noun to Addis Ababa where she met 30 ambassadors from African Union member countries.

According to Aliza Ben-Noun, Israel’s readmission into the African Union will not only help on the economic front but will lend political recognition to the country. “This political recognition is extremely important because it’s not good enough to have good bilateral relations with the member states,” Ben-Noun said.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said the newly established relations between Israel and Africa will help the two to cooperate on areas of mutual interest such as the fight against Covid-19 as well as the fight against terrorism. “Once the relationship with the African Union is established, the parties will be able to cooperate, among other things, in the areas of the fight against the corona virus and the prevention of the spread of extremist terrorism throughout the continent.”

The move to readmit Israel shows the changing geopolitics in North Africa according to Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict research. In a Twitter post, Prof Swain said “Gaddafi had forced Israel out – After 19 years, Israel returns to African Union as Observer. It reflects changing geopolitics in North Africa.”

Some African nationals have expressed skepticism on the decision reached by the African Union to readmit Israel as an observer member. One Twitter user in a post said, “Destabilize of the Middle East has set its eyes on African Union. God save Africa” while another simply tweeted, “What is Israel observing in the AU?”  

As an observer member, Israel joins its nemesis Palestine which since 2013 has been officially recognized as an African Union observer member. The African Union since 2013 has been voicing its support for the Palestinian struggle to establish an independent and viable state and the Palestinian leader since 2013 has been addressing the Union. It remains to be seen how the latest decision by the African Union to readmit Israel will affect its relations with Palestine. 

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Kenya:Uhuru to kick-off 3-day UK visit on Tuesday
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

File Picture.President Uhuru Kenyatta waves to his supporters .PHOTO REUTERS/Marko Djurica

President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected in the United Kingdom on Tuesday for a three-state visit.

During the visit, he will co-chair Global Education Summit with his host Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The summit’s main agenda is to raise $5 billion to educate children across the developing world over the next five years. It will take place on July 28 and 29.

President Kenyatta will also meet Boris at his residence, where they are expected to announce major investments into big four projects on affordable housing, manufacturing and health partnerships. Kenyatta will also be focusing on Kenya-UK health partnerships in dealing with Covid-19 and cancer prevention and treatment.

After meeting Boris, he will attend an event at West London’s Kew Gardens to celebrate the Kenya-UK Year of Climate Action and Kenya’s leadership on climate change in Africa ahead of COP26.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will then host the President in an event at Mansion House in London’s historic financial district. Mr Raab is expected to make big announcements on the UK’s support for Big Four projects in Kenya.

During his 3-day visit, Mr Kenyatta will also meet senior members of the UK Royal family.

“It is 18 months since the President last visited the UK for the Africa Investment Summit. As part of that visit, the President agreed on a new Strategic Partnership with Prime Minister Johnson. The two leaders are expected to discuss huge progress across all areas of the partnership, including Mutual Prosperity; Security and Stability; Sustainable Development; Climate Change; and People to People,” read part of the statement issued jointly by State House and  British High Commission on Monday stated.

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Criticism Highlights Russia’s Media Weakness in Africa.
July 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Kester Kenn Klomegah*

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – DECEMBER 18, 2019: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova speaks during a press briefing on Russia’s current foreign policy. Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

In her weekly media briefing July 23, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova criticized United States support for educational programs, media and NGOs in Africa. In addition, Zakharova said “the allocation of grants fits into the White House’s efforts to promote the idea that there is no alternative to Western concepts regarding state governance and the imposition of alien values on sovereign states, and this represents another manifestation of neo-colonialism and an element of covertly formalizing inequality in the overall system of international ties.”

Russia’s position as contained in her briefing is available on the official website, and part of which is quoted here: “We have no choice but to comment and explain why we perceive this as Washington’s striving to eliminate the favorable regional socio-political background with regard to Russia that became particularly obvious following the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi in October 2019.

It appears that the United States is deliberately encouraging anti-Russia publications in some African media outlets and is trying to portray Russia as a destabilizing force. We are confident that such methods of unfair competition and misinformation show that there is no hard evidence confirming the so-called Russian policy of propaganda and misinformation, and this is also the consequence of weak US approaches in the field of public diplomacy.”

That well-said of the United States, it is equally important to note that since the Soviet collapse in 1991, the question of media representation both ways, in Russia and in Africa, has attracted unprecedented concern and discussions. Over the years, nearly 30 years after the Soviet era, Russia has not encouraged African media, especially those from south of Sahara, to operate in the Russian Federation.

On the other hand, Russian media resources are largely far from eminent in Africa, and these include the media conglomerate popularly referred to as Rossiya Sevogdnya (RIA Novosti, Voice of Russia and Russia Today), TASS News Agency and Interfax Information Service. These are powerful and reputable Russian brands, compared to most well-known Western and European media organizations operate in and cooperate with Africa.

Even not quite long, that was in November 2018, the State Duma, the lower house of parliamentarians, called for an increased Russian media presence in African countries, while Russia has closed its doors in offering opportunities for Africa media representation in the Russian Federation.

During the meeting that was scheduled to brainstorm for fresh views and ideas on the current Russia-African relations, State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin told Ambassadors from African countries: “it is necessary to take certain steps together for the Russian media to work on the African continent.”

“You know that the Russian media provide broadcasting in various languages, they work in many countries, although it is certainly impossible to compare this presence with the presence of the media of the United States, United Kingdom and Germany,” Volodin said, and promised that the State Duma would create the necessary legal basis for this long-term media cooperation.

Experts say that neither Russia has an African media face nor Africa has a Russian media face. Thus, in the absence of suitable alternative sources, African political leaders and corporate business directors depend on western media reports about developments in Russia and from the developed world.

Interestingly, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department has accredited media from Latin America, the United States, Europe and Asian countries, and only two African media came from the Maghreb region (Morocco and Egypt) in North Africa.

The official information presented during the first Russia-Africa Summit, held in October 2019, explicitly showed the degree of priority given to African media. Some 300 media bureaus from 60 countries are currently operating in Russia, including 800 foreign correspondents while there are only two African news bureaus from Egypt and Morocco, according to Artem Kozhin, who represented the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, at the panel discussion on media.

According to his interpretation, this extremely low representation of African media hardly meets the level of current dynamically developing relations between Russia and Africa. “We invite all interested parties to open news bureaus and expand media cooperation with Russia,” Kozhin said at the gathering, inviting Africa media to Moscow.

Nearly all the panelists noted precisely that western media dominates in Africa. “Often times, unique news offerings created by the Russian media simply do not make to the users and viewers in many regions, including Africa. Evidently, this vacuum gets filled with one-sided information from other players in the media market. This information can be biased, or outright hostile towards Russia and residents of other countries,” said Mikhail Bogdanov, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa.

During the Russia-Africa Summit, Professor Alexey Vasiliev, the first appointed Special Representative of Russian President for Relations with Africa (2006-2011) and currently the Head of the Center for African and Arab Studies at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (2013-2020), told the audience there in Sochi: “Africa is largely unaware of Russia, since African media mainly consumes information the Western media sources and then replicates them. And all the fake news, the Rusophobia and anti-Russian propaganda, spread by the western media, are repeated in the African media.”

“Measures are needed to enable us to better understand each other,” suggested Professor Vasiliev, who regularly advises the Presidential Administration, the Government of the Russian Federation, both chambers of the Federal Assembly, and the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Some experts have consistently argued that Russia has discriminated against the media from sub-Saharan Africa. That trend remains unchanged even after the first Russia-Africa Summit, held in Sochi with the primary aim of helping identify new areas and forms of cooperation, put forward promising initiatives that would bring collaboration between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new level and contribute to strengthening multifaceted cooperation between the two regions.

Let that be the acceptable case, but both Russia and Africa have basic questions that still need quick answers. The questions raised at the panel discussion on media at the Russia-Africa gathering: What issues are currently encountered in the formation of the modern media landscape? What role does the media play in Russian-African relations? What are the prospects for collaboration in the information sphere? What needs to be done to develop a Russian media agenda in Africa? What is the role and place of Russia in the information space of Africa today? What role can African media play in promoting further Russia’s image in Africa?

In practical terms, the highly successful spade-work was the first Russia-Africa Summit. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has to layout some new mechanisms and adopt a more favorable approach that could readily attract African media to operate in the Russian Federation.

Russia and Africa need to examine every sphere based on shared partnership interests and redefine practical approach to realizing whatever plans on media cooperation. Media and NGOs, as instruments for improving adequately public knowledge, especially on developments and emerging opportunities, have not been persuaded to match the desired future objectives and policy goals.

The stark reality is that Russia needs Africa media and Africa needs Russian media, in order for them to enlighten ties in the economic spheres, to promote a better understanding among African elites and the middle class through media reports. The middle class is twice Russia’s population and almost the size the population of United States. According to UN forecasts, the Africa’s middle class, constitutes a very huge vibrant information-consuming market, will exceed 350 million by 2025.

Professor Vladimir Shubin, the former Deputy Director of the Institute for African Studies, explained in an interview with me that political relations between Russia and Africa as well as the economic cooperation would continue to attract more and more academic discussions. Such scholarly contributions, in essence, would help deepen understanding of the problems that impede building solid relationship or partnership with Russia.

In order to maintain this relationship, both Russia and Africa have to pay high attention to and take significant steps in promoting their achievements and highlighting the most development needs in a comprehensive way for mutual benefits using appropriately the media, according to Professor Shubin.

“African leaders do their best in developing bilateral relations,” he added. “Truly and passionately, they come to Russia more often than ten years ago, but a lot still has to be done; both Russian and African media, in this case, have a huge role to play.”

Perhaps, one of the reasons why some African leaders appear to have “written off” Russia has been lack of adequate information about Russia, or rather plenty of distorted information they have received from the Western media coverage of Russia, Professor Shubin concluded.

“Russian media write very little about Africa, what is going on there, what are the social and political dynamics in different parts of the continent. Media and NGOs should make big efforts to increase the level of mutual knowledge, which can stimulate interest for each other and lead to increased economic interaction as well,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal ‘Russia in Global Affairs’ and also the Chairman of the State Council on Foreign and Defense Policy.

“To a certain extent,” Lukyanov said, “the intensification of non-political contacts may contribute to increased interest. But in Russia’s case, the main drivers of any cooperation are more traditional rather than political interests of the state and economic interests of big companies. Soft power has never been a strong side of Russian policy in the post-Soviet era.”

Similarly, Bunn Nagara, a Senior Fellow of the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, member of the Valdai Discussion Club, has observed that “Russian businesses face a number of challenges. First, there is little information available internationally about the opportunities and possibilities for partnerships between Russian and foreign businesses.”

“Russia is a large country spanning both Europe and Asia. So, it can do much to bring Asian and European business linkages together and build on them. Better public relations and improved information dissemination are very important. To do this, it needs to do more in spreading more and better information about its achievements, the progress so far, its future plans, and the opportunities available,” Bunn Nagara said.

Early October 2019, the Valdai Discussion Club released an ebook titled “Russia’s Return to Africa: Strategy and Prospects” jointly or collectively authored by Vadim Balytnikov, Oleg Barabanov, Andrei Yemelyanov, Dmitry Poletaev, Igor Sid and Natalia Zaiser.

The Valdai Discussion Club was established in 2004, with a goal is to promote dialogue between Russian and international intellectual elite, and to make an independent, unbiased scientific analysis of political, economic and social events in Russia and the rest of the world.

The authors explicitly suggested the need to take steps in countering Western anti-Russia clichés that are spreading in Africa and shaping a narrative whereby only dictators and outcast partner with Russians. Therefore, efforts to improve Russia’s image must target not only the continent’s elite, but also a broader public opinion. It would be advisable to create and develop appropriate media tools to this effect.

Media and NGOs, working with the civil society, have to support official efforts in pushing for building a positive image and in strengthening diplomacy. Displaying an attentive and caring attitude towards the African diaspora in Russia, the key objective is to overcome racist stereotypes that persist in marginal segments of Russian society. Helping highly qualified educated African migrants to integrate through employment. This will, in addition, showcase and shape public opinion about Africa in the Russian Federation.

According to the authors, building a more and consistent positive public opinion within Russia and Africa should be considered extremely important at this stage of relations between Russia and Africa. Should Russia assist other countries for political purposes only? Will the recipient countries be willing to lend Russia their political support, and can they be trusted? Should Russia build its partnerships exclusively based on the principle of economic expediency?

The authors wrote: “Russia will have to answer these questions as it moves towards implementing its African strategy. Its experience in working with public opinion and governments across Eurasia to shape public perceptions will come in handy in Africa.”

In the context of these existing challenges, leaders on both sides have to draw a roadmap. Inside Africa, Africans have had enough of all these public discussions. The time has come to make progressive changes to the current approach, create a new outlook or simply call it “media facelift” instead of maintaining the old status quo. It therefore means taking concrete practical steps toward an effective media cooperation, this will substantially not only broaden but deepen two-way understanding of current developments in Russia and in Africa.

The irreversible fact is that there is the need to have an informed African society, and this has to be done largely, systematically and necessarily through the media. Africa has the largest number of young people, who look at the world with open eyes and are ready for cooperation with partner countries. This is a good opportunity to inform the young generation, bring them together through knowledge from Russia, Eurasia, and Africa.

Moscow hosted the first Russia-Africa Public Forum in October 2018, most of the issues emerging from there and diverse opinions expressed at that gathering are useful for improving current relationship. As already known, Russia has a long-time relationship with Africa. Russia and Africa have to make that mutual desire to step up cooperation in all areas including social spheres and public outreach diplomacy. In this connection, it requires complete understanding, necessary primary support for new initiatives and, as always reiterated, commitment to dynamic work to expand traditionally friendly relations with Africa.

*Kester Kenn Klomegah writes frequently about Russia, Africa and the BRICS. As a versatile researcher, he believes that everyone deserves equal access to quality and trustworthy media reports. Most of his well-resourced articles are reprinted elsewhere in a number of reputable foreign media.

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