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Rwanda:Former BBC journalist gets 10 year jail term over terror-related crimes
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti

Ndayizera was accused along with 12 other suspects of terror-related crimes including the plot to cause insecurity in the country according to prosecution.

The High Court Chamber for International and Cross-Border Crimes based in Nyanza district, Southern province on Thursday handed a 10-year jail term to Phocas Ndayizera who was a BBC freelance journalist in Rwanda for terror-related cases.

Ndayizera was accused along with 12 other suspects of terror-related crimes including the plot to cause insecurity in the country according to prosecution.  

They were arrested separately in 2018 and have been in prison since then. The court also sentenced six other co-accused to 10 years but acquitted six others and ordered for their immediate release.

The judge said the crimes the accused were convicted of were serious ones and could attract heavier sentences but they got the light sentence of 10 years owing to the fact that they were arrested before they committed the crimes.

The prosecution also alleged that the former journalist Ndayizeye worked with one, Cassien Ntamuhanga who, prior to committing the alleged crimes escaped the justice from the prison where he was serving another 25 years prison at the International Mpanga prison.

He escaped in October 2018 and, according to the prosecution continued to work with Ndayizera to plot terror attacks in Rwanda. He was sentenced to another 25 years in absentia.

Throughout the trial that started last year, Ndayizera and his co-accused denied all the allegations and prayed for the court to set them free.

However, the prosecution insisted that the accused committed serious crimes and prayed for the court to hand the life sentence to all of them.

The prosecution accused of intentions to topple the current government, treason and calling others to commit terrorism, the crime to join terror groups among others.

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G7 “deeply concerned” by the terrorists attacks in Mozambique
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Foreign ministers in the G7 group of developed countries said on Wednesday that they are deeply concerned by the escalating conflict in Cabo Delgado, and the increasing terrorist attacks by an ISIS affiliate.

In a statement issued at the end of the G7’s first face-to face meeting in two years, held in London, the ministers have called on the Mozambican government to hold the perpetrators of human rights abuses in Cabo Delgado province accountable.

G7 also expressed solidarity with the government and the Mozambican people in facing the violence of the terrorist insurgency, and encouraged “Mozambique to continue to work with the international community to resolve the humanitarian impact of the insurgency and to tackle the root causes and drivers of conflict and instability, and to prevent a further escalation of violence.

“In this regard, we welcome the Government of Mozambique’s work to respond to the humanitarian and security situation in the north and for the Government’s timely consideration of international support”

Sabotage by terrorist insurgents has left five districts in the north of Cabo Delgado province without electricity, and it is not known when power will be restored. The sabotage took place in September and left 25,000 customers in the districts of Muidumbe, Mueda, Nangade, Palma and Mocímboa da Praia without power.

Due to the lack of security, state-owned electric utility EDM has not investigated the state of its power lines in the areas, and in the meantime, it cannot invoice customers who have lost power. It used to invoice about $379,000 a month in the five districts which are without electricity.

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The Chairperson of the AUC welcomes the USA decision for waiver of intellectual property rights for Covid19 vaccines
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
Chairperson of the AUC Moussa Faki

6 May 2021, Addis Ababa : The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, welcomes the announcement of the United States of America to support South Africa and India’s call for the temporary waiver of intellectual property protections for Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization.

The Chairperson commends this important show of global leadership by the United States of America, alongside more than 100 countries, to help end the most devastating global public health crisis in living memory, by supporting the South Africa and India-led proposal to temporarily suspend rules on intellectual property rights on Covid19 vaccines.

The Chairperson further urges all countries that have not yet done so, to urgently support this historic initiative of multilateral cooperation to ensure equitable vaccine protection for the entire global community.

*AU

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Relations Between Rwanda and Uganda Could Take Decades To Repair-Kagame tells RPF NEC
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Mohammed M. Mupenda

Relations between Uganda and Rwanda have been tense

While some of us have been thinking that the root of the problem between Rwanda and Uganda is known by  two heads of states, and  they could  take the first step to end the row,  this came as a surprise and discouraging when Rwanda’s Paul Kagame revealed that he does not know the real issue!

Addressing about 700 RPF National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last week, Kagame made it clear Uganda was Rwanda’s single most worrying security threat.

In his first remarks,  President Kagame sounded diplomatic by calling Rwanda’s neighbours by their names, proclaiming that DR Congo and Tanzania have excellent relations with Rwanda and that Burundi is leading the way in improving relations.

“We have only four neighbours. We are at peace with them. We used to have two enemies – the second of the two is the country to our south, which is Burundi. With Burundi we are on the way to understanding one another. Burundians and ourselves seek to live in harmony. Burundi is showing the will. With Democratic Republic of Congo, we have solved our problems and we are collaborating in sorting out previous issues, unlike in previous years. We have never had any problems with Tanzania. We work with them very well. 

He however told RPF cadres that they have issues with only one neighbour country to the north,  in words that could have sounded, interpreted as a warning or wake up call to prevent any eventuality noting that he has built a strong house which is impenetrable to uninvited guests who will be repulsed with ease. 

A former official in Uganda’s government and a comrade in President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s NRA bush war, lived, studied in Uganda   before waging liberation war on Rwanda

With the neighbouring country to the north, they have a question which I have failed to understand. “I lived there, I worked with them, but if you ask me the root of their problem with us, I can’t really tell the matter;”. 

“In conclusion, about this matter, I will thatch my house properly to protect me from the rain. We will install very strong doors so that nobody can force in to rob my properties. If anyone dares invade my house, I will repulse you without any difficulty.”

*Mohammed M. Mupenda is a news correspondent and freelance reporter, who has written for publications in the United States and abroad. He is also a French and East African language interpreter.

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Ghana:Over 250 benefit from PC and Tullow training on business ethics
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah.

Over 250 individual local suppliers in the oil and gas industry have undergone a one-day virtual training in business   ethics and compliance hosted by the National Upstream Petroleum business Academy of the Petroleum Commission.

The training was organized by the Petroleum Commission in collaboration with Tullow Ghana limited, to give indigenous suppliers, an in-depth understanding of the ethical requirements for conducting business in the industry.

Topics including the importance of ethics and compliance, principles of compliance, key anti-corruption controls, sanctions, trade restrictions, human rights and labour conditions were delivered by industry experts from Tullow Ghana with practical examples and country-specific context to give participants a better appreciation of the subjects and their correlation with business practices and the expectation of the industry.

Speaking on the need for local capacity development and knowledge transfer, Chief Executive Officer of the Petroleum Commission, Mr. Egbert Faibille underscored the importance of good corporate governance, ethics and transparency in the upstream sector and the promotion of shared prosperity. Mr. Faibille said factors such as poor corporate governance and lack of capacity  building constitute some of the significant barriers that still hinder indigenous Ghanaian companies from participating in the country’s upstream petroleum industry. He was however grateful to Tullow Ghana for the collaboration with the National Upstream Petroleum business Academy of the Petroleum Commission for the delivery of this workshop which aims at addressing critical knowledge gaps and information asymmetry that limit the competitiveness of indigenous Ghanaian companies. 

Mr. Faibille said “This workshop as I mentioned earlier is being organized in collaboration with Tullow Ghana. Such collaboration will be extended to other companies in future workshops to attain maximum outcome.”

In his opening remarks, the Managing Director for Tullow Ghana, Wissam Al-Monthiry underscored the importance of the training saying, “indeed, these development initiatives have become even more important as Tullow Ghana business focuses on delivering maximum value from the Jubilee and TEN fields under the Ghana Value Maximization Plan”.

Under the plan, Tullow will invest a further $4billion over the next ten (10) years to deliver increased production in the Ghanaian fields. Mr. Al-Monthiry said, Tullow is committed to partnerships with industry stakeholders to share knowledge and help develop the capacity of local businesses to enable their participation in contracts. He reiterated Tullow’s alignment with the national local content development agenda through consistent training programmes for local suppliers and increasing local supplier participation in Tullow operations under the Value Maximization Plan.

Following the training, participants are expected to gain industry knowledge that will improve their preparedness for bids and make them more competitive in the oil and gas industry globally. Beyond satisfying bid requirements, the training was designed to help local suppliers incorporate global best practices in good governance into their operations.

Mr. Faibille and Mr. Al-Monthiry both entreated participants to provide feedback which will be crucial for the enhancement of the training initiatives of the Academy.

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Galamsey is illegal, the fight against it cannot be based on illegality – Occupy Ghana
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

Pressure group, occupy Ghana has called on government to desist from the illegality it is perpetuating through its current mode of tackling illegal mining in the country.

According to the group, there are clear laws enshrined  in the constitution laying down sanctions and punishments for people engaged in the illegal act, thus, government should enforce those laws.

The comment comes in reaction to photos and videos circulating in the media showing military personnel setting mining equipment and excavators ablaze on site.

Occupy Ghana says that act is an illegality and government should desist from it immediately.

It said, “Occupy Ghana is shocked to see pictures and films in which equipment allegedly being used in Galamsey operations and apparently seized by security officials, have been set on fire. While this dramatic optics might have the support of some, we think that it is brazen illegality that will only exacerbate the situation and not help in the fight against galamsey.”

 

It stated that the use of such guerilla tactics in the fight against galamsey only undermines the rule of law and gives way for further breaches.

“When Aisha Huang was first arrested, she was charged with some ludicrous, risible and insignificant administrative breaches of immigration regulations. It took a protest and a petition by Occupy Ghana on 16th May 2017 for her to be charged with the proper offences under the Minerals and Mining Act, which, as we will show, provides for serious punishment for illegal mining.

According to them they believe that her quiet and hurried deportation by government was to avoid subjecting her to the full rigors of the law. We insist that that unfortunate truncation of the judicial process sounded the death knell to the Galamsey fight.  It added that, “the law in the Minerals and Mining Act is clear. There is a fine and imprisonment between 15 and 25 years for each of the following crimes: buying or selling minerals without a license or authority; mining in breach of the law; abetting any breach of the mining law; contracting a non-Ghanaian to provide mining support services; abetting the breach of the mining laws by a foreigner; fabricating or manufacturing floating platforms or other equipment to be used for mining in our water bodies; and providing an excavator for an illegal mining operation.

The Act further provides that a non-Ghanaian who illegally mines or abets illegal mining attracts a large fine and imprisonment between 20 and 25 years, and shall be deported AFTER serving the sentence. This is what should have been applied to Aisha Huang.

It further explained that the law clearly states what should become of equipment confiscated from illegal miners in the event of a swoop.

The legal provision that equipment used in any of these offences is required to be first seized and kept in police custody. Then, when the person using the equipment for the illegal mining activity is convicted, the court will order the forfeiture of the equipment the state.

Then the Minister has 60 days within which to allocate the equipment to a state institution. There is absolutely no legal room for simply torching the equipment. It is illegal and must stop forthwith.

 

Occupy Ghana says should this illegality continue to be perpetrated by state apparatus; all efforts to end illegal mining in the country will not achieve anything. “If the security agencies make arrests and the law is not applied, it weakens their resolve and says to all that we are not serious about ending this menace. And the judiciary should need no encouragement to try cases with dispatch so that Ghanaians can see results in real time. It cannot be business as usual, APPLY THE LAW…” it concluded

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Ghana:COVID-19 tax expected to generate GHc887.7million – GRA
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maxwell Nkansah

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has revealed that the newly-introduced COVID-19 levy is projected to generate GHc887.7million.

For the Financial Sector levy, the GRA said, an amount of GHS217million is expected to be generated.

Assistant Commissioner at the Commissioner General’s Office, Mr. Dominic Naab, said these in an interview with Dzifa Bampoh on the First Take on 3FM Tuesday May 4. Ghana’s Parliament has passed tax laws and amendments. The government these taxes were to enable authorities deal with the ravages of the virus on the economy.

These taxes include the COVID-19 Health Recovery Levy Act, 2021, Act 1068; Penalty and Interest Waiver Act, 2021, Act 1065; Income Tax (Amendment) Act, 2021, Act 1066; Energy Sector Levies (Amendment) Act, 2021, Act 1064; Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (Amendment) Act, 2021, Act 1063  To provide the requisite resources to address these challenges and fund these activities, government is proposing the introduction of a Covid-19 Health Levy of a one percentage point increase in the National Health Insurance Levy and a one percentage point increase in the VAT Flat Rate to support expenditures related to Covid-19,” the budget statement for the 2021 fiscal year said.

These taxes have resulted in the increment in fuel prices, a situation that has raised concerns among the Ghanaian public. Mr. Dominic Naab told Dzifa that “In the case of COVID-19 we are looking at generating about 887.7million Ghana. In the case of the financial sector recovery levy we are looking at GHS217 million.

He said as for the VAT, the GETFund and the NHIL they are looking at 1, 039, 3.7 million Ghana cedi’s. So these are the projections that they are making. The remaining projections until they are able to actually achieve that. He further stated that the GRA is working hard to ensure that all persons who are supposed to pay taxes do so.

“We are not relying on the traditional tax payers. We are trying to also unearth others that actually are not paying”. According, they will have a neighbor who is always walking around, he is working but he doesn’t file. There are some who even sit in their homes using the cyber specie and ecommerce, they are not paying.

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Dominic Ongwen Sentenced to 25 years of imprisonment
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Chamber found him guilty for a total of 61 crimes comprising crimes against humanity and war crimes
Dominic Ongwen during the delivery of the sentence before the International Criminal Court on 6 May 2021 ©ICC-CPI

Today, 6 May 2021, Trial Chamber IX of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) sentenced Dominic Ongwen to 25 years of imprisonment following the Trial Judgment in which the Chamber found him guilty for a total of 61 crimes comprising crimes against humanity and war crimes, committed in Northern Uganda between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005. The period of his detention between 4 January 2015 and 6 May 2021, will be deducted from the total time of imprisonment imposed on him. The sentence may be appealed before the ICC Appeals Chamber by either party to the proceedings.

Judge Bertram Schmitt, Presiding Judge, read a summary of the Chamber’s decision . He highlighted that the Chamber was confronted in the present case with a unique situation. It is confronted with a perpetrator who wilfully and lucidly brought tremendous suffering upon his victims. However, it is also confronted with a perpetrator who himself had previously endured extreme suffering himself at the hands of the group of which he later became a prominent member and leader.

The Chamber decided to give certain weight in mitigation to the circumstances of Dominic Ongwen’s childhood, his abduction by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) at a very young age and his early stay with the LRA.

The Chamber rejected the Defence’s arguments, recalling its analysis of evidence in the Judgment issued on 4 February 2021, and considered that the mitigating circumstances of substantially diminished mental capacity and duress are not applicable.

The Chamber also rejected the arguments of the Defence concerning traditional justice mechanisms, noting that there exists no possibility under the Statute to replace a term of imprisonment with traditional justice mechanisms, or to incorporate traditional justice mechanisms into the sentence in any other way.  It also noted that Acholi traditional justice mechanisms are not in widespread use, to the extent that they would replace formal justice, and that they are reserved to members of the Acholi community, meaning that their use would mean that some victims belonging to other ethnic groups would be excluded. The Chamber emphasised that reconciliation, whatever its form, is a process in which victim participation is essential, and noted that it is clear that many victims of the crimes committed by Dominic Ongwen do not support the idea of traditional justice in the present case, and that they have also criticised the fact that submissions in this regard were made to the Chamber without consulting them. 

The Chamber analysed one-by-one the gravity of each of the 61 crimes for which Dominic Ongwen was convicted, finding several aggravating circumstances applicable to some or even most crimes. Aggravating circumstances included particular cruelty, multiplicity of victims, the victims being particularly defenceless, and discrimination on political grounds and discrimination against women. The Chamber imposed individual sentences for each crime, taking the mitigating circumstance of Dominic Ongwen’s childhood and abduction by the LRA into due account. The highest individual sentences were of 20 years. Other sentences pronounced for individual crimes were of 14 or 8 years of imprisonment.

In its determination of the joint sentence for all the crimes for which Dominic Ongwen was convicted, the Chamber declined to sentence Dominic Ongwen to life imprisonment, considering his individual circumstances and in order to envisage a concrete prospect for Dominic Ongwen to eventually re-build his life.

The Chamber then, by majority, decided to impose a joint sentence of 25 years of imprisonment. The Majority, composed of Judge Bertram Schmitt and Judge Péter Kovács, is of the view that this joint sentence adequately reflects the strongest condemnation by the international community of the crimes committed by Dominic Ongwen and acknowledges the great harm and suffering caused to the victims. At the same time, the Majority held that such a joint sentence acknowledges Dominic Ongwen’s unique personal history and safeguards the prospect of his successful social rehabilitation and, consequently, the concrete possibility of future re-integration into society. Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan appended a partly dissenting opinion on this matter as he would have sentenced Dominic Ongwen to a total period of imprisonment of 30 years.

The Chamber also issued today an order for submissions on reparations . It emphasised that the right of victims to reparations is also an essential part of the system of justice at the Court, and stated that it will push forward the reparation stage of the proceedings with vigour and the utmost care.

Background: The trial in this case opened  on 6 December 2016. On 4 February 2021, the Chamber delivered its judgment pursuant to Article 74 of the Statute, convicting Dominic Ongwen of a total of 61 crimes comprising crimes against humanity and war crimes. On the same day, the Chamber decided to hold a hearing under Article 76(2) of the Statute, in the presence of Dominic Ongwen, his defence counsel, representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor (“Prosecution”) and the legal participants of the victims participating in the proceedings, to hear further submissions and any additional evidence relevant to the appropriate sentence to be imposed on Dominic Ongwen. Additional evidence was submitted by the Defence, whereas the Prosecution and the legal representatives of the participating victims chose not to present any additional evidence. On 14 and 15 April 2021, the Chamber held a hearing on sentence under Article 76(2) of the Statute in the presence of the Prosecution, Dominic Ongwen and his Defence and both teams of the legal representatives of the participating victims.

Judges of ICC Trial Chamber IX pronouncing the sentence against Dominic Ongwen on 6 May 2021 ©ICC-CPI



A total of 4095 victims, represented by their legal counsels Joseph Akwenyu Manoba, and Francisco Cox, as well as Paolina Massidda, respectively, have been granted the right to participate in the proceedings.

The Trial Chamber issued 70 oral decisions, and 528 written decisions up until the issuance of the sentence. The total case record, consisting of the filings of the parties and participants and the Chamber’s decision, currently includes more than 1810 filings.

*ICC

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KANSANSHI MINE MANAGEMENT IMPLORES WORKERS TO GET COVID-19 VACCINATION
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
Kansanshi Mine Assistant Generals Manager John Gladston and Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kennedy Malama official open the COVID-19 testing laboratory at Kansanshi Mine Hospital

SOLWEZI, ZAMBIA – Kansanshi Mining Assistant General Manager John Gladston has appealed to employees to accept the COVID-19 vaccination when offered. Mr Gladston encouraged employees at Kansanshi Mine to be ready for the vaccine, which would likely be available to them in the coming weeks.

Speaking during the World Day for Safety and Health at Work at Kansanshi Safety Centre, Mr Gladston encouraged all employees, when offered, to volunteer to receive the vaccination against COVID-19 and to follow the science on its efficacy. 

“When the time comes please volunteer yourselves to receive the vaccine to afford protection against the effects of COVID-19; if you are in any doubt please follow the science rather than social media in your decision making” said Mr Gladston.

He said getting vaccinated against COVID-19 was proven to provide high levels of protection and drastically reduce the chances of hospitalisation due to the virus, especially amongst ‘at risk’ groups.  This was especially true of the Jenner Institute/Oxford Vaccine Group vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca which is already being administered in Zambia.

He said the Kansanshi Mine Hospital, in partnership with the Zambia Ministry of Health, anticipated the roll-out of the vaccine in the coming weeks. In line with Ministry of Health protocols, health and essential workers would be vaccinated first followed by vulnerable and at risk groups.

“Along with clean water and safe sewerage, vaccinations remain one of the fundamentals of public health,” Mr Gladston advised employees.

Mr Gladston was delighted with the company’s Occupational Health and Safety Department and the diligence with which it has approached the pandemic; at the time of writing Kansanshi Mine had seen no new Covid-19 cases in the previous week.

The low transmission of the virus was due to strong measures put in place to mitigate the spread of the virus by the occupational health and safety department.

And Kansanshi Mining Safety Manager Teza Kasengele stressed the importance of this year’s theme for the World Day for Safety and Health at Work: Anticipate, Prepare and Respond.
Mr Kasengele commended employees in the Safety Department for being actively engaged in promoting occupational health and safety at Kansanshi Mine.

“I am happy to note that as safety practitioners, you have been very active in spearheading many activities in response to COVID-19 such as enforcing social distancing by marking floors, installing hand sanitizer dispensers in common areas and ensuring face masks are worn by everyone accessing the mine site,” said Mr Kasengele.

Mr Kasengele added that the screening process at the point of entry to the mine has been heightened to ensure that only employees who are fit for work are allowed to access the mine site, and that goes a long way in preventing occupational accidents and the spread of diseases that have potential to affect the operation of the mine.

He assured the safety practitioners that they have support from management in all they do and this was the reason why managers from various departments of the company left their busy schedules and joined the safety practitioners in celebrating the World Day for Safety and Health.

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Liquid Telecom unveils its new identity, Liquid Intelligent Technologies in Zambia as it establishes itself as the digital service partner of choice for African businesses
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

This rebrand highlights the organisation’s expansion of its Cloud business, Cyber Security services, and other technologies added to its existing telecoms and connectivity capability

Liquid Intelligent Technologies Zambia, part of the Liquid Intelligent Technologies group (www.Liquid.Tech), a pan-African technology company, unveils its new brand identity.  This rebrand reflects the organisation’s extensive business transformation from being a telecommunications and digital services provider to a full one-stop-shop technology group for local businesses.

Over the last two decades, Liquid has firmly established itself as the leading pan-African digital infrastructure provider. This rebrand to Liquid Intelligent Technologies highlights the organisation’s expansion of its Cloud business, Cyber Security services, and other technologies added to its existing telecoms and connectivity capability.

Liquid Intelligent Technologies will expand its Managed Services offerings to drive and ensure successful adoption of tools to re-imagine their customers’ businesses and how they work and connect. Whether they are focused on enabling collaboration or utilising the most advanced cloud applications.

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Liquid Intelligent Technologies is redefining Network, Cloud and Cyber Security offerings through strategic partnerships with leading global players, bringing innovative business applications, intelligent cloud services and world-class security to the African continent.

With the future of network security-driven from the cloud, Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ recently launched its Cyber Security business unit, which uniquely delivers security at its core, protecting your business’s data throughout its lifecycle.

Over the last decade, the Government in Zambia has been working with businesses in the private sector to realise their vision of a Smart Zambia. Core to this vision is digital inclusion where no one in the country is left behind. At Liquid Zambia we have been partnering with the government to help them accelerate their digital transformation agenda and our rebrand serves as a reaffirmation to this continuous partnership. Our extensive and reliable backbone infrastructure in the country has ensured that our customers in the business and retail sectors identify us as a premier connectivity provider, now we will be layering our existing offering with our digital products and services like cybersecurity and cloud services showcasing our commitment to transforming our great nation into a digitally led economy,” concludes Mark Townsend, CEO Liquid Intelligent Technologies Zambia.

About Liquid Intelligent Technologies:

Liquid Intelligent Technologies is a pan-African technology group with capabilities across 14 countries, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa. Established in 2005, Liquid has firmly established itself as the leading pan-African digital infrastructure provider. Liquid Intelligent Technologies is redefining Network, Cloud and Cyber Security offerings through strategic partnerships with leading global players, innovative business applications, intelligent cloud services and world-class security to the African continent. Under its new brand identity, Liquid Intelligent Technologies has eight business units, namely: Liquid Networks, Liquid Business, Liquid Sea, Liquid Cloud, Liquid Cyber Security, Liquid Home, Liquid Innovation and Liquid Satellite. Liquid Intelligent Technologies is now a full one-stop-shop technology group that provides tailor-made digital solutions to businesses in the public and private sectors across the continent. The Group also operates state-of-the-art data centres in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Harare and Kigali, with a combined potential 19,000 square metres of rack space and 78 MW of power.

*SOURCE Liquid Intelligent Technologies

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Rwanda:Kagame Receives receives Idriss Deby Itno’s son
May 6, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Abdelkerim Deby Itno (left) was received by President Kagame in in Kigali

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame  on Thursday 5th May 2021 received Abdelkerim Deby Itno, the Director of Cabinet and Special Envoy of the President of the Transitional Military Council of Chad.

Abdelkerim Deby Itno, 29 is a young brother to General Mahamat Idriss Deby who heads Transitional Military Council of Chad after the sudden death of his father Idriss Deby Itno last month.

The content of the discussions between president Kagame and Abdelkerim Deby Itno has not been shared.

Rwanda and Chad are members of Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Rwandan troops also are key players in UN Peacekeeping mission in Central Africa, the neighboring country  to Chad that has been shaken by insecurity for so long.

It seems that Mahamat Idriss Deby is seeking legitimacy and support from African heads of states while Chad’s internal opposition accuses him of a coup against legitimate institutions.

President Idriss Deby Itno was killed on battlefront last month, according to government.

He was replaced by a military council headed by his son, whereas speaker of parliament was the one to lead transition according to Chad’s constitution.

Government, parliament and constitution were dissolved for 18 months.

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Deadly Indian Covid-19 variant detected in Kenya
May 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Health Ministry’s Director-General, Dr. Patrick Amoth.

The Ministry of Health in Kenya on Wednesday announced that it discovered five cases of the Indian Covid-19 variant.

The cases were picked from Indian working on a fertilizer plant in the lake city of Kisumu last week, said the Health Ministry’s Director-General, Dr. Patrick Amoth.

“Indian variant, yes, this variant has been picked in Kenya and because of global connectivity, it is just a question of time. You cannot be able to place barriers to prevent a virus from accessing your territory,” Amoth said.

Last week the East African nation suspended all passenger flights to and from India for 14 days due to a surge in coronavirus cases in the South Asian country.

The move took effect at midnight on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

On Wednesday, the country announced 489 new cases raising the total number of confirmed cases to 161 393.

The new cases were picked from 4426 samples tested in the last 24 hours, with the country’s positivity rate doubling from 5.2 percent on Tuesday to 11 percent.

Out of the 489, 449 were Kenyans and 40 foreign nations aged between four months and 102 years.

In terms of gender, 266 were males and 223 females.

The Chief Administrative Secretary in the Health Ministry, Dr. Rashid Aman, said 20 more patients succumbed to the virus bringing the total number of deaths to 2825. Eleven of the deaths were reported on diverse dates, while nine are late deaths reports from health facilities audits.

At the same time, Dr. Aman announced 552 recoveries increasing the number of recoveries to 109,789.

Meanwhile, 1164 patients are admitted to various health facilities countrywide and 6603 in the Home-Based and Isolation Care.

One hundred fifty-three patients are now in ICU, 28 of whom are on ventilator support, 99 on supplemental oxygen, and another 26 under observation.

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Kenya:Obiri to seek fourth title in Doha
May 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Two-time World 5,000m champion Hellen Obiri is set to represent Kenya in the Doha 2021 Diamond League slated for May 28, 2021.

She will be seeking her fourth title in the 3,000m race in Doha but will face stiff competition from the 5,000m World record holder Letesenbet Gidey from Ethiopia.

Obiri has made four appearances in Doha, winning three times and losing once. Her first title came in 2014 during her debut when he set a record time of 8:20:68.

In 2018, she finished fourth; however, she recorded a back-to-back victory in 2019 and 2019 in 8:25:60 and 8:22:54, respectively.

Out of 14 meetings between Obiri and Gidey, the former has won nine times and the latter five times.

In their last meeting during Monaco Diamond League, Obiri finished ahead of her Ethiopian counterpart, who finished second.

Gidey has defeated Obiri two times in Doha, which is in 2018, and in the 2019 World Championships in the 10,000m winning silver and the Kenyan finished fifth.

Obiri is fresh from participating in the Istanbul Half Marathon held last month. She finished third in 1:04:51.

“It feels great to be heading back to Doha for the fifth time and at a place where I retained my world title in 2019… I hope to be successful once more as I prepare for Tokyo Olympic Games,” she noted.

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Kenya lifts work permit and visa requirements for Tanzanian investors
May 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Tanzanian investors are free to come and do business in Kenya without being required to have business visas or work permits, says President Uhuru Kenyatta told Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has invited Tanzanian investors to do business in Kenya without any fear.

President Kenyatta spoke during the Kenya-Tanzania Business Forum in Nairobi, also attended by the visiting Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu.

Mr. Kenyatta announced a raft of incentive measures aimed at wooing Tanzanian investors to Kenya, saying his administration will eradicate all non-tariff barriers for Tanzanian investors coming to do business in Kenya.

“I want to say this, Tanzanian investors are free to come and do business in Kenya without being required to have business visas or work permits. The only thing you will be required to do is to follow the laid down regulations and the laws that are in place,” said Kenyatta.

Kenya’s Head of State also directed state agencies to clear heavy jam at Namanga and Holili, which barricades free trade flow.

He further ordered health ministers from both countries to move with speed and streamline Covid-19 containment measures required for traders to cross the borders with ease.

“I want to announce two directives and I want them done this week and next week. All concerned ministers please move with speed and unlock the jam in Holili, Taveta and Namanga border points. On Covid-19 certificates, please let the health ministers sit and agree on modalities. If the certificate is issued in Tanzania let those people be allowed to come to Kenya and vice versa,” he added.

He urged the private sector to explore and seize opportunities accorded by bilateral and multilateral agreements available to East Africans, such as the Africa Continental Free Trade Area and the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), to grow their investments.

“The East African Community, through the East African Customs Union and East African Community Common Market Protocol, has opened our borders and unlocked opportunities for the free movement of goods, services, and investments across the EAC borders. This has paved the way for trade to thrive, new opportunities to emerge and trade to increase,” said President Kenyatta.

Kenyatta further implored Kenyans and Tanzanians to create a conducive environment for business growth instead of competing against each other.

He decried the decrease in trade volume in recent years between the two nations despite having a vibrant and entrepreneurial private sector.

On her side, President Suluhu welcomed the Kenyan private sector to invest in Tanzania.

She said, “The private sector is key to driving growth, that will deliver these jobs, transform labour market, open up opportunities and unleash entrepreneurial spirit.”

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EU might train Mozambican forces to aid in anti-jihadist resistance
May 5, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The European Union is committed to providing military training in Mozambique as part of its support over the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado province, the union’s ambassador to Mozambique has said.

“We will continue to support the Mozambican government. In addition to helping the displaced, support also goes to strengthening the capacities of the country’s security forces,” Antonio Sánchez-Benedito Gaspar said.

Asked by O Pais if Mozambique needed a foreign military intervention to defeat the insurgents, the ambassador said that the Mozambican government would need to ask for it.

“This issue is not part of the script for our support. The fundamental point is the reinforcement of the capacity of the government, which has the responsibility of guaranteeing the security of the country,” he added.

The information comes at a time when debate on the presence of foreign troops in Mozambique is heating up domestically, as noted by the Cabo Ligado project.

Renamo leader Ossufo Momade explicitly called for direct intervention in Cabo Delgado by SADC countries, saying that Frelimo was not as concerned about national sovereignty as it appears to be today when it invited foreign troops to help fight Renamo during the Mozambican civil war.

Frelimo secretary-general Roque Silva, in contrast, told reporters that foreign troops would not be effective in Cabo Delgado and said that only logistical support for Mozambican troops was necessary.

Silva’s statement seemed to echo Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi’s speech, in which he seemed to categorically oppose the prospect of foreign troops involved in combat in Cabo Delgado.

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Kenya:DP Ruto locked out again from the State House event
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Relations between President Kenyatta and Deputy President Ruto have gone South

There was no show again for Deputy President William Ruto in the State House during the Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu on Tuesday.

The DP’s Director of Communications, Emmanuel Talam, told the media that his boss was not invited when asked about the event.

“I can confirm there was no invite received. But you can check with State House,” said Emmanuel Talam.

While the Head of State was receiving her Tanzanian counterpart, his deputy met a group of religious leaders in his Karen office, Nairobi.

Today’s event is the third one the DP has missed this year.  Ruto, on March 26, skipped the vaccination exercise for Cabinet members and other top government officials and later defended his move, saying he was not invited.

“When the President decided that it was time for himself and the Cabinet to take the vaccine, I think inadvertently someone forgot to invite me and so I was not available during that exercise. I am not blaming anybody maybe some secretary there forgot to inform me,” said Ruto in an exclusive interview with Citizen TV.

He was also absent during the commemoration of Labour Day on May 1, an event in the State House.

President Suluhu landed in Kenya in the morning for a two-day visit and was received by Kenyan Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, among other delegates.

She headed to the State House, where she was accorded the 21-gun salute before inspecting a guard of honor paraded outside the State House.

Her Kenyan counterpart then introduced her to his Cabinet Secretaries before embarking on bilateral talks with her.

She is expected to address a joint parliament meeting tomorrow.

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Kenya renews its relations with neighbouring Tanzania after Uhuru-Suluhu talks
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

During the meeting, the two Presidents agreed to do away with barriers hindering the smooth flow of trade and people between the two countries.Photo credit PSCU

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and visiting Head of State of Tanzania Samia Suluhu on Tuesday held bilateral talks in the State House, Nairobi.

During the meeting, the two Presidents agreed to do away with barriers hindering the smooth flow of trade and people between the two countries.

A joint team of experts will be set up to address the disjointed enforcement of cross-border Covid-19 containment protocols, one of the most pronounced non-tariff trade barrier between the two nations, said Kenyatta.

“Just as His Excellency the President has said, we have agreed that our Health Ministers need to sit down and come up with a structured system of testing our people at the border points to allow easy movement of our people so as to do their businesses,” President Suluhu said during a joint press briefing in the State House.

The two leaders said Kenya and Tanzania need to develop modalities for mutual recognition of COVID-19 test results, noting that the lack of harmonized protocols has hampered the free flow of goods and people.

Kenyatta said Kenya and Tanzania share a common culture, language, heritage and ancestry, assuring President Suluhu of the Kenyan government unwavering support.

At the same time, Kenyatta and Suluhu also agreed to reenergize their Joint Commission for Cooperation (JCC) to deal with trade issues. Ministers from the two countries were directed to regularly meet to sort out minor problems affecting people as they interact and do business.

“They (JCC) need to ensure that investors coming from either Tanzania or Kenya do not face hurdles by ensuring a structured system is put in place to help us build our countries for the mutual benefit of our people,” President Kenyatta reiterated.

The duo also entered into a ksh100 billion (approximately $931.5 million) deal that will see Tanzania construct a gas pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Mombasa.

Kenyatta and Suluhu entered into a ksh100 billion (approximately $931.5 million) deal that will see Tanzania construct a gas pipeline from Dar es Salaam to Mombasa.Photo credit PSCU

The 600 km pipeline will get to Mombasa through the port city of Tanga, ferrying natural gas from Songo Songo Island and Mnazi Bay gas fields in Southern Tanzania. Once constructed, the project is will reduce the cost of energy in Kenya.

According to President Suluhu, Kenya is Tanzania’s top investor in the East African Community and fifth on the continent. She cited 513 projects between Kenya and Tanzania which have created more than 50,000 jobs for Tanzanians.

In the deal, the two nations also had a Memorandum Of Understanding on animal health and sanitary measures, culture, the arts, social integration and national heritage.

Suluhu is on a two-day state visit in Kenya, and on Wednesday, she is expected to address a joint parliamentary meeting.

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ZAMBIAN BREWERIES RECOGNISED FOR ROLE IN BUILDING GREEN COMMUNITIES
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) has awarded Zambian Breweries with the ZAM Sustainability Award for its leading role in environmental protection and building green communities through its Manja Pamodzi recycling initiative.

Manja Pamodzi is a recycling initiative introduced, by Zambian Breweries, in 2016 in partnership with Lusaka City Council and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency to help rid local townships of packaging waste and improve hygiene and sanitation.

Since its inception, the programme has played a critical role in not only revitalising township streets but also creating a new breed of entrepreneurs in local communities who earn a living by collecting waste and selling it to recyclers.

When receiving the award, Zambian Breweries Better World Manager Elaine Kafwimbi said the ZAM award incentivised manufacturers to do more to protect the environment adding that a large amount of urban waste comprised of packaging material.

She said that: “Environmental protection is everyone’s responsibility. We only have one planet hence we must do all we can to ensure we preserve its natural ecosystems.”

“At Zambian Breweries, our responsibility for our products goes far beyond the last sip. Through Manja Pamodzi, we are changing lives and saving the environment by recycling various recyclable waste materials.”

“Manja Pamodzi also holds sensitisation workshops to educate consumers on the importance of recycling and proper waste disposal to help build a responsible and environmentally conscious society – in line with our ethos “bringing people together for a better world,” she said.

Statistics show that only 26 percent of the estimated 900 tons of waste generated daily in Lusaka is collected by formal services with some 34 percent of that waste being recyclable.

Speaking during the handover ceremony, ZAM Sustainability Board Committee Chairperson Ms. Bridget Kambobe said: “On behalf of Zambia Association of Manufactures we are awarding a very phenomenal practical project that has demonstrated that it is possible to create a model that not only creates employment while cleaning the environment but also contributes to the social economic development of our country. We want to congratulate Zambian Breweries for playing a leading role in this recycling project.”

Over the last five years, more than 800 collectors – 500 of whom are women – have supported their livelihoods through this programme.

And by close of 2020, over 12,000 tons of recyclable waste had been collected from 11 aggregator sites around Lusaka.

About AB InBev in Zambia

Zambian Breweries Plc is part of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), the largest brewer in the world, with more than 400 beer brands and some 200,000 employees in over 50 countries. It is also one of the world’s largest bottlers of soft drinks.

Zambian Breweries was established in Zambia in 1968 and its product range has grown to include clear beers such as Mosi Lager, Castle, Carling Black Label, Eagle beer, Stella Artois and Budweiser.

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US-based Outsource Monetic™, 1st Independent ATM Deployer (IAD) to operate in West and Central Africa (UEMOA and CEMAC
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

Local remote teams will be established in each of the 14 countries to supervise, operate and service the network of ATMs rolled out by the startup

Outsource Monetic™ , an Atlanta GA based startup, officially started its commercial and technical operations in West and Central Africa region on March 15th 2021.

Outsource Monetic™ is the 1st Independent ATM Deployer (IAD) to operate in the 8 countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo) and the 6 countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon).

We are thrilled and excited to start our company’s journey in Africa” said Mika DIOL, Founder & CEO of Outsource Monetic™, former Microsoft and Oracle Manager with more than 21 years of experience. “Thanks to the mindset, skills, and capabilities of the team ; we have the foundation of success in our mission to innovate and reshape the ATM channel in the 14 African countries we operate in. We are bringing users new ways of interaction by modernizing and adding up valued-added services to the ATMs.”

With Headquarters in Atlanta GA (USA), Outsource Monetic™ will run its Africa operations from the office in Dakar (Senegal) as the hub for Africa West activities and from Lomé (Togo) office as the hub for Africa Central operations. Local remote teams will be established in each of the 14 countries to supervise, operate and service the network of ATMs rolled out by the startup.

About Outsource Monetic:
Outsource Monetic™ is an Independent ATM Deployer (IAD) providing ATM outsourcing and ATM as a Service in West and Central Africa. Outsource Monetic™ is headquartered in Atlanta, with offices and operations in 14 West & Central African countries of UEMOA and CEMAC region.

*SOURCE Outsource Monetic™

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Strong Sustainability Performance sees Perseus Mining deliver US$385 million to Ivorian and Ghanaian Economies in 2020
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

As part of its longstanding commitment to the communities in which it operates, Perseus reported increasing community investment by 71% to around US$1.9M in CY20

Perseus Mining Limited has released its CY20 Sustainable Development Report. The report details the company’s progress over the past 12 months in delivering on its commitment to responsible mining operations in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, including an overall economic benefit to host countries totalling about USD$385M.

As part of its longstanding commitment to the communities in which it operates, Perseus reported increasing community investment by 71% to around US$1.9M in CY20, funding critical health and education infrastructure projects for local communities. Additionally, Perseus announced it had increased its proportion of local procurement from 66% in CY19 to 78% in CY20, totalling US$287M, and further expanded its employment of local populations, with 96% of its current workforce local to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

Jeff Quartermaine, Managing Director & CEO of Perseus said:

“Sustainability is deeply rooted in Perseus’s culture and operations and has had a large part to play in our resilience during this challenging year. We believe that responsible gold mining can play a key role in sustainable development, and that investing in our employees and our communities to create enduring social value will remain a guiding force in our growth path and future business operations. I am proud of my team’s effective response to the pandemic which successfully safeguarded our operations as well as our people, enabling us to deliver our Yaouré mine in Côte d’Ivoire this year ahead of schedule. Our approach to sustainability has continued to mature as our business has grown, and in the coming years we look forward to expanding our ESG offering and delivering greater impact across Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.”

Jessica Volich, Group Sustainability Manager at Perseus said:

“Despite the challenges the past year has brought, Perseus’s sustainability agenda has continued to strengthen and evolve alongside its expanding operations. Our wide-ranging efforts and engagement with our local communities and host governments has enabled us to create shared sustainable value for all our stakeholders. We are committed to strengthening these relationships in the coming years as we endeavour to generate socio-economic value for our people, communities and host countries.”


In CY20, Perseus has enhanced its disclosure on sustainability-related risks and opportunities by aligning with the key reporting frameworks used by our stakeholders. These include the World Gold Council Responsible Gold Mining Principles, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).



Highlights of the report include:

Economic and Social Contribution

  • Total economic contribution of US$385M in CY20 to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire
  • Increased community investment by 71% (from CY19) to around US$1.9M in CY20, funding critical health and education infrastructure projects for local communities and providing COVID-19 support
  • Creation of new health clinics near Sissingué to improve health outcomes for the ~27,000 residents of the local communities
  • Increased in-country employment, with over 96% of total employees from host countries
  • Local procurement spend of $287M, an increase from 66% in CY19 to 78% in CY20
  • Held 587 consultations with local communities
  • Paid >US$69M in taxes, royalties, and duties to Government

Health & Safety performance:

  • Maintained record of zero workplace fatalities and reduced injuries
  • Implementation of comprehensive measures and protocols to prevent introduction and spread of COVID-19 and maintain business continuity

Environmental stewardship:

  • Re-use of 12,495,163 KL of water
  • Water intensity of 7.46M3/oz gold produced, benchmarked ahead of peers
  • Enhanced tailings disclosures in line with the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, and completed independent audits of all our Tailings Storage Facilities (TSFs)

Governance

  • Worked with independent sustainability risk experts, KPMG, to refresh sustainability materiality analysis and conduct deeper analysis of sustainability risks and opportunities, and start development of a 3-year sustainability roadmap
  • Announced appointment of a new Director by the end of FY21 to enhance sustainability skills of the Board
  • Release of the first Modern Slavery Statement to address potential human rights risks in Perseus’ global supply chain

Future ambitions

  • Establish a 3-year sustainability roadmap, and enhance social value and sustainability risk management through updates to the Risk Management Framework and policy standards
  • Establish the Yaouré Community Development Fund in FY21
  • During FY21 and FY22, Perseus will complete and commence implementation of our biodiversity plan at Yaouré in Côte d’Ivoire mine site in and establish our site nursery, to be staffed by local community members
  • Explore strategic opportunities for community partnerships in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
  • Achieve full alignment with the World Gold Council Responsible Gold Mining Principles by FY23
  • About Perseus Mining:
  • Perseus Mining Limited is a rapidly growing African gold producer, developer and explorer, operating three mines in West Africa with the aim of annual production of 500,000 ounces by 2022. Perseus’s first mine, the Edikan Gold Mine in Ghana, has produced around 1.8million ounces of gold since 2011 and based on current ore reserves, the company expects to recover a further 1.2 million ounces. Perseus became a multi-mine, multi-jurisdiction gold producer in January 2018 when it opened the Sissingué Gold Mine in Côte d’Ivoire and has since completed its third mine and begun commercial operations at its third mine – Yaouré – located in central Côte d’Ivoire.
  • *SOURCE Perseus Mining Ltd.
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How can Mauritius take advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)?
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

The AfCFTA offers an opportunity for Mauritius to promote good governance both globally and across Africa

By Chido Pamela Mafongoya & Veedushi Mooloo*

Mauritius, being strategically located between Asia and Africa, praise itself as having one of the continent’s most stable regulatory environment. The Mauritius Financial Centre has built a reputation as a safe, trusted and competitive financial center, which has enabled it to position itself as the preferred jurisdiction for Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) flows to the continent, since the country can serve both the Francophone and Anglophone Africa.

Mauritius and the other Africa countries are long known for the ties they share, both politically and economically. Mauritius ranks first in Africa has also made its way to Africa by being a member to two of the continent’s most important trade blocs, namely the Southern African Development Community SADC, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Through these memberships, many foreign entrepreneurs have set up their businesses in Mauritius to gain from the trade advantages offered.

Apart from SADC and COMESA, Mauritius is now part of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA). Launched on 1 January 2021, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an exciting game changer for African trade. Currently, Africa accounts for only 2% of global trade and only 17% of African exports are intra-continental, compared with 59% for Asia and 68% for Europe.

The AfCFTA is the world’s largest free trade area in terms of the number of participating countries since the formation of the World Trade Organization with all African countries being signatories except for Eritrea. The main purpose of the agreement is for members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. The general objectives of AfCFTA can be summarized as follows, to:

  • Create a single market, deepening the economic integration of the continent.
  • Establish a liberalized market through multiple rounds of negotiations.
  • Aid the movement of capital and people, facilitating investment.
  • Move towards the establishment of a future continental customs union.
  • Achieve sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development, gender equality and structural transformations within member states.
  • Enhance competitiveness of member states within Africa and in the global market.
  • Encourage industrial development through diversification and regional value chain development, agricultural development, and food security.

Mauritius has over the years been an offshore gateway to Africa. It has long been an advocate for developing economic bridges between itself and other African states, leveraging its position as Africa’s best place to conduct business as recognized by The World Bank.  Through its Global Business sector, Mauritius has firmly established and promoted itself as a regional hub for facilitating investments on the continent. It is thus undeniable that AfCFTA will add further to the attractiveness of Africa as a place to do business. The AfCFTA provides a platform for Mauritius to contribute significantly to the new African impetus by making available to investors and businessmen an ecosystem that not only makes it easier for them to do business with Africa, but also enhances and safeguards their investments.

The AfCFTA also gives Mauritius market access estimated to be as large as 1.3 billion people across Africa, with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $3.4 trillion which covers most service sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, ICT, professional services, construction, and health. The AfCFTA will eventually reach zero tariffs on most of traded items, boasting trade outside of its boarders.

The Mauritian economy is a mixed developing economy based on agriculture, exports, financial services, and tourism. Since the 1980s, the government of Mauritius has sought to diversify the country’s economy beyond its dependence on just agriculture, particularly sugar production. In 2018, Mauritius Intra-Africa exports accounted for 23% of Mauritius’ total exports and imports for 13% of total imports. Mauritius mainly exports textiles to the rest of Africa. Of the top 10 intra-Africa export products five products are items of clothing or fabric accounting for 30% of Mauritius’ intra-Africa exports for 2018. The AfCFTA will provide the country access to an African textile market worth billions of dollars such that the country will be poised to become a major supplier of textile in the African market. The recent 2020 – 2021 budget of the government has announced one measure that can boost Mauritian exports from the already existing supply capacity to the region. The plan to set up Mauritius Export Warehouse in Tanzania and Mozambique will definitely support a number of Domestic Oriented Industry. Some are already gearing for Tanzania which is a more immediately obvious market than Mozambique. Mauritius has good potential to export a range of services in the context of the priority services lines set by the AfCFTA, namely Business services, Financial Services, Tourism and travel.

Mauritius mainly imports manufactured goods, petroleum products, cars, packaged medicaments from China, India and South Africa. The AfCFTA calls for a reduction in tariff in intra- Africa which means there will be a lower expenditure on importation of the above-mentioned goods from South Africa. As a result, there will be a reduction in the prices, reducing the country’s negative balance of trade.

The movement of goods and services amongst African countries will create employment opportunities for citizens in Mauritius. It will provide an opportunity for entrepreneurs to work together in a liberalized trade environment. Further, the AfCFTA will strengthen the existing commitment of deepening regional trade integration initiatives under regional bodies such as the African Union, COMESA and SADC.  The geographical diversification brought about by the AfCFTA is likely to open up new markets for Mauritius thus boasting its economy.

The AfCFTA offers an opportunity for Mauritius to promote good governance both globally and across Africa, through the concept of “Trade Integrity” which is defined as international trade transactions that are legitimate, transparent and properly priced as a way to ensure the legitimacy the global trading system. Trade Integrity will provide investors with more confidence to increase their investments in the country.

The AfCFTA will also assist to alleviate some of effects brought about as a result of the COVID-19. The African Development Bank Group’s African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2020 Supplement estimates that Africa could suffer GDP losses in 2020 between $145.5 billion (baseline) and $189.7 billion (worst case), from the pre-COVID–19 GDP estimates. Further, trade in medical supplies and food has been disrupted. It is being fully recognized across the continent that AfCFTA presents a short-term opportunity for countries to “build back better” and cushion the effects of the pandemic. In the longer-term, the impact will increase the continent’s resilience to future shocks.

In conclusion diversifying exports, accelerating growth in its trade, competitively integrating into the global economy, increasing foreign direct investment, increasing employment opportunities and incomes, and broadening economic inclusion are just a few of the positive economic outcomes AfCFTA can bring to Mauritius. Mauritius having undergone a remarkable economic transformation from a low-income, agriculturally based economy to a diversified, upper-middle-income country that has attracted considerable foreign investment should ensure that it fully takes advantage of the opportunities offered by the AfCFTA.

*SOURCE Centurion Law Group. Authors Chido Pamela Mafongoya & Veedushi Mooloo, Centurion Law Group

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Scottish business Network looks to deepen Africa relations across Angolan Energy Sector
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

The next event as part of The Africa Energy Series will be Angola on the 5th May which will explore how to take advantage of the opportunities within the country’s energy sector

The Africa Energy Series from the Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA) and KURO is a range of webinars that will explore the energy industries of key African markets providing a complete portrait of each country’s energy sector via the perspective of government, industry and trade professionals.

The series explores the challenges, opportunities and risks facing those doing or looking to do business across specific key markets within the African continent including Senegal, Angola, Cameroon and Algeria with further events planned for Cote D’Ivoire, Nigeria, Egypt and Uganda in the coming months.

The webinar’s unique structure aims to provide an optimum user experience coupled with exceptional insight and regional opportunities. With topics ranging from General market overviews, Energy mix masterplan to Skills training, Production & Transmission, Renewables, Gas to Power and Decommissioning the format will provide the latest insight into national policy and operating outlook.

The next event as part of The Africa Energy Series will be Angola on the 5th May which will explore how to take advantage of the opportunities within the country’s energy sector.

A major oil-exporting country and OPEC member, Angola is sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy. Angola and West Africa in general has been experiencing a higher demand for energy in recent years with an increasingly urban population, economic development and high European demand for its low sulphur oil. With the country having a mature Oil & Gas market they are now looking at not only how they extend the economic producing life of the fields using cost-effective, low-risk technologies but what will be needed for decommissioning, skills development and renewables.

In this webinar you will find out about the many opportunities that exist within the country and how companies and regulators are coming to terms with the amount of work to be done in the near future to maximise existing and fields, decommission depleted fields, and the financing, technical and regulatory challenges to do so.

Delegates can register at HERE 

A range of organisations are being engaged throughout the process and supporting with the events including Scottish Development International, UK Department for International Trade, African Energy Chamber , African Governments, Embassies and the private sector.

According to the African Energy Chamber’s SVP Verner Ayukegba who will be taking part in the event, “Angola remains a prime target for investment, following reforms in the operating environment made in recent years by the government. We do believe Scotland’s unique experience in the energy sector offers Scottish services companies’ unique opportunities in Angola.” 

Frazer Lang, Chief Executive at SABA said: “These events provide a great opportunity to enhance trade and collaboration between Scotland and various countries across Africa at a time when the Scottish and UK government are growing and diversifying their global trading relationships. I’m delighted that, despite the challenges created by the COVID pandemic, business partners in Scotland and Africa can establish and develop links virtually, discussing potential areas of business collaboration in a safe manner. Scotland has been on this energy journey from the early 70’s and has faced the same challenges and opportunities and our experience creates a great opportunity to share this insight and knowledge to create growth and maximise potential.”

James Crawford, Managing Director at KURO said:“We are delighted to bring this series of events together with the aim of promoting links between Scottish and African leaders in the energy sector. Scotland has world class experience and expertise that can play an essential role in Africa’s economic diversification and sector innovation. The calibre of speakers is high meaning delegates will get valuable insight into the markets and the incredible opportunities that exist. The time is now to look at how these relationships can be built on for future years.”

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries are faced with unprecedented challenges. The Africa Energy Series will provide a platform to support organisations entering or expanding their presence within the energy sector across Africa hearing first hand from government, industry and trade professionals in order to explore the opportunities and challenges that exist.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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South Sudan: Schools Reopen After a Year of Closure
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, Vice President in charge of Service Cluster

Juba – School has reopened in East Africa’s youngest nation after closure for more than one year, despite the third surge of COVID-19 pandemic.

Private and public institutions including primary, secondary, and universities, were permitted to resume learning under COVID-19 restricted measures.

Hussein Abdelbagi Akol, Vice President in charge of service cluster, said the decision came in the wake of the recent drop in COVID-19 infections since March.

“COVID-19 is still with us but we have decided to reopen schools and will strictly follow COVID-19 preventative measures in the schools,” Akol told journalists in Juba during the official reopening for learners. “The children are the future of the country. And the states’ government should work with national ministry of General Education to develop the education sector,” he added.

He noted that schools will only operate at half capacity as preventive measures against COVID-19.

As classes resume, the education ministry recommends that only 50 learners will be allowed in a classroom at the primary schools and 45 learners at the secondary schools.

Meanwhile, Ms. Awut Deng Acuil, Minister of General Education and Instruction urged parents and guardians to enroll their children, including pregnant, disability and breast feeding girls. 

Ms. Awut further revealed that the reopening of schools came after the Girls’ Education South Sudan (GESS), an education program, and the Global Partnership for Education, a partnership and funding platform that aims to strengthen education systems in developing countries, provided funds to enable distribution of water sanitation and hygiene supplies, thermometers, reusable masks and menstrual hygiene management kits.

The South Sudan government in partnership with GESS will pay capitation grants, in addition to cash transfers, to girls at levels from primary five (5) to senior fouer (4), Minister disclosed.

Education partners were alarmed by children who dropped out of schools, primarily teenagers who got marriages during lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

On the same event, UNICEF Country representative Hamida Lasseko appreciated the government commitment allowing access to education; while urging the ministry and parents to prioritize children.

“A lot happened to children when they were at home. Unfortunately, some of them were going through many difficulties and challenges, as we all know. And we know this has not been a short period; fourteen months of children being out of school are long,” said Ms. Hamida 

She caution students to keenly observed health prevention measures in class.

The schools were shut down in March 2020 and the government reopened schools in phases with final year students allowed to attend classes in October 2020.

Multiple observers said schools re-opening would reduce risky pregnancy and early marriages among school girls.

Both pupils and students were so happy celebrating school re-opening after lifting the lockdown

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Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu arrives in Nairobi
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu on Tuesday morning arrived in Nairobi for a two-day state visit.

The plane carrying her touched down at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport a few minutes to 10 am (local time). She was received by Kenya’s delegates led by the Kenyan Foreign Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo.

President Suluhu will proceed to the State House, where she will be received by her Kenyan counterpart President Uhuru Kenyatta. In the State House, she will inspect a guard of honor and receive a 21-gun salute, and after that, she will attend bilateral meetings and consultations.

In the evening, the Kenyan government will hold an official state dinner in the same venue in honor of the only female sitting President in Africa.

She will address a joint sitting of Parliament on Wednesday before holding consultations at a business forum for the Tanzanian and Kenyan business community. She is also expected to address a gathering of executive women in business.

President Suluhu’s visit to Kenya is her second foreign trip since she became President. Last month she met Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Kampala.

She came to power in March this year following the demise of her predecessor John Magufuli.

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Ivory Coast First Lady Ropes in Artists in Fight against Child Labour
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Remarks by The First Lady Dominique Ouattara at Opening of the fifth edition of the WARA TOUR caravan: no to child labor in cocoa cultivation.

Ivory Coast First Lady Dominique Ouattara is intensifying her fight against child labour in the country. Recently, the First Lady roped in various artists in the country to help her amplify the message on the fight against child labour in all corners of the country. The First Lady took the occasion of the launch of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour to welcome all artists that will help in propagating the message on the fight against child labour.

Speaking at the launch of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour where she assumed the role of ‘godmother’ of the tour, Dominique Ouattara first took time in thanking all the artists who graced the occasion and accepted the call to become ambassadors on the fight against child labour. “I cannot quote you all because, to my great joy, you are very numerous at this ceremony. But know that I have for each of you a great affection and I thank you for your presence,” she said.

In her address, the First Lady of Ivory Coast said that for a long time, she has worked hard for the well-being of vulnerable women and children. She said that her work with Children of Africa Foundation starting all the way back in 1998 is a testament of her determination to raise the well-being of all the vulnerable groups in society. As such, the call to become the godmother of the 5th edition of the Wara Tour Caravan is something she did not think about twice as it aligns with her vision to free the country from all instances of child labour. She went on to state that her ascension to become the godmother of the Tour could not have come at a better time as the theme of the 5th edition  – NO TO CHILD LABOUR IN COCA FARMING – resonates with her “personal commitment against child labour”.

The First Lady said that her involvement with organizations fighting child labour including with the National Monitoring Committee has managed to bear some success with regards to uplifting the lives of women and children. However, some of their efforts have been derailed by external parameters which include illegal immigration, the fight against poverty and the income of the planters. It is these external parameters that the First Lady is looking to address and curtail as a way of paving the way for the total elimination of all forms of child labour.

Dominique Ouattara acknowledged that the fight against child labour is something that cannot be done by one man or one organization but it’s something that needs collective support from everyone if the desired end game is to be achieved. “Child labour in general is a problem that concerns us all and against which we can act, each at his level,” she said.

In her concluding remarks, the First Lady praised and thanked the founder of the Wara Tour citizens initiative Abou Nidal stating, “I would like to thank you for your commitment to our children through your various awareness caravans. This year, you have decided to say no to child labour in coca farming. I would like to congratulate you and all the artists who accompanied you for this citizens’ initiative that honours your corporation.”

To ensure that the Wara Tour Caravan records success in achieving its objective in the fight against child labour in cocoa farming, the First Lady said she is “contributing 10 million CFA francs to help you (WARA TOUR Caravan) travel within the country.” She also offered a sum of “15 million CFA to all artists who came to participate in the training seminar on child labour.”

To all the artists who signed up to help in the fight against child labour, the First Lady’s parting message encouraged them to keep working for the betterment and upliftment of the communities, “You have the gift to make us dream, to transport us and to make us feel the most vivid emotions. You also have the power to educate us and awaken our consciousness through your art. Do not hesitate to take up this fight through your respective artistic works, in order to preserve our children against these harmful practices.”

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APICORP: Middle East and North Africa (MENA) energy investments to exceed USD805 bn over next five years.
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

MENA can emerge as a major blue and green hydrogen-exporting region thanks to low-cost gas resources and strong renewable energy progress
Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, Chief Executive Officer of APICORP

APICORP’s latest MENA energy investment outlook sees a modest USD13 bn rise in committed and planned energy investment compared to previous year’s outlook; Renewables claim a significant share of almost 40% the estimated USD250 bn in power sector investments; Committed Gas investments projected to fall by USD9.5 bn to USD75 billion after completion of several megaprojects in 2020; An evolution in regulations is needed for MENA region to realize its energy storage potential; Additional capacity – particularly from renewables – will make power trading a more commercially viable option in MENA; MENA can emerge as a major blue and green hydrogen-exporting region thanks to low-cost gas resources and strong renewable energy progress.

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP), a multilateral development financial institution, estimates in its MENA Energy Investment Outlook 2021-2025, , which it launched today that overall planned and committed investments in the MENA region will exceed USD805 bn over the next five years (2021–2025) – a USD13 bn increase from the USD792 bn estimate in last year’s five-year outlook.

The report attributes this modest rise to four factors: A strong confidence in the rebound of global GDP, rising energy demand, the comeback of Libyan projects – which alone accounts for around USD10 bn in planned projects – and the accelerated pace of renewables in the region. Per current estimates, MENA will add 3GW of installed solar power capacity in 2021 alone – double that of 2020 – and 20GW over the next five years.  

The region’s economic forecasts suggest that commodity prices and exports will drive the rebound expected for most MENA countries in 2021. However, economies remain under fiscal strains due to unprecedented high debt levels and decline in oil prices, tourism/Hajj revenues, and personal remittances.  

Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, Chief Executive Officer of APICORP, said: “APICORP’s MENA Energy Investment Outlook 2021-2025 indicates that energy industries are entering a period of relative stability in terms of investments as most MENA countries return to GDP growth in 2021 and the energy transition showing no signs of slowing down. We anticipate a slow but steady recovery of the energy sector from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, supported by continued investment from the public sector and an upswing in demand.”

Gas investments

Committed gas investments in MENA for the period 2021-2025 are expected to total USD75 bn – USD9.5 bn less than the previous outlook. The decline is attributed to the completion of several megaprojects in 2020 and countries being more cautious to new project commitments in an era of gas overcapacity.  

Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq are the top three MENA countries in terms of committed gas investments. This is owed to Qatar’s North Field East megaproject, Saudi Arabia’s gas-to-power drive and the massive Jafurah unconventional gas development – which is poised to make the kingdom a global blue hydrogen exporter – and Iraq’s gas-to-power projects and determination to cut flaring and greenhouse gas emissions.

Planned investments meanwhile held relatively steady at USD133 bn for 2021-2025, signalling the region’s appetite for resuming its natural gas capacity build-up – particularly the ambitious unconventional gas developments in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, and Algeria – once macro conditions improve.

Power investments

Power investments in MENA for 2021-25 remain largely unaffected compared to APICORP’s 2020-24 outlook. Notably, the sector’s total investment amount of USD250 bn is the highest of all energy sectors – with an estimated USD93 bn and USD157 bn in committed and planned projects, respectively, over the next five years.

With a share of around 40%, renewables form a significant part of those investments as countries push ahead with their energy diversification agendas. In the GCC, Saudi Arabia’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office and Public Investment Fund projects continue to progress. North African countries are also showing measurable development in renewables realm, with Algeria establishing an independent authority to oversee the development of country’s strong pipeline of projects, and Egypt working to resolve regulatory issues related to its wheeling scheme and the unbundling of its power market.

This shift to renewables is a chief factor behind the rising share of investments in transmission and distribution (T&D) in the power sector value chain, as the integration of renewables into power grids requires significant investments to enhance and digitize grid connectivity, not to mention storage to accommodate the surplus power capacity they generate.

Petrochemicals investments

Planned investments in the MENA petrochemicals sector are forecast to increase to USD109 billion in 2021-2025, a USD14.2 bn jump compared to last year’s outlook. By contrast, committed investments dipped by USD7.7 bn to around USD12.5 bn due to the completion of several megaprojects in 2020.

Despite MENA petrochemical markets seeing an overall improvement in demand owed to the increased consumption of basic materials as vaccination drives continue and economies recover, some MENA committed petrochemical investments are nonetheless being re-evaluated and rationalized due to fiscal strains, capital discipline and cost efficiencies and evolving market dynamics.

Renewables investments

As a whole, the MENA region expects to add an estimated 3GW of solar power in 2021 – doubling its total from 2020 – and almost 20GW by 2025. Wind and other sources such as hydropower are also coming into their own as countries step up their energy diversification plans.

Jordan, for example, managed to increase the percentage of power generated from renewables from just 1% in 2012 to around 20%. Morocco’s 4GW of renewables (wind, solar and hydro) constitute around 37% the country’s total generation mix and almost 90% of its current 3.5GW project pipeline. Egypt’s total installed renewables capacity amounts to around 2.3GW, including 1GW of solar PV and 1.3 GW of onshore wind.

In the UAE, renewables constituted around 6% of total installed capacity and 3% of power generated as of 2020. Although it may just miss its short-term targets, the UAE’s solar capacity is projected to grow the fastest in the region with nearly 5GW of solar projects in the pipeline.

In Saudi Arabia, only 330MW of utility-scale solar PV projects and just one 2.5MW wind demonstration project developed jointly by Saudi Aramco and General Electric were operational as of 2020. Even when combined with the tenders under its National Renewable Energy Program, the total renewables capacity of the Kingdom totals 3.3GW, around 24GW short of its stated target of 27.3GW by 2024.

Despite ongoing procurement of largescale utility projects, Oman is also far from achieving its short-term target of generating 10% of its power from renewables by 2025, with a single 105MW utility solar PV project and a 50MW onshore wind project comissioned over the past 2 years.

As for Iraq, the first solar bid round for projects totalling 755MW capacity was announced in May 2019 and bids of short-listed companies were disclosed in Septmeber the following year. Overall, the country aims to reach 10GW of solar power generation capacity by 2030 and generate 20% of its power from solar.   

Developing Energy Storage is Key

The expanding share of renewables, growth in power demand, and balancing supply and demand on a real-time basis necessitates the integration of modern, digitized energy storage solutions. Despite its significant potential in this area, the MENA region suffers from the limited role of storage in networks. To overcome this, regulations will need to evolve to reflect energy storage’s current functions, including leveraging flexibility from consumer aggregation or grid congestion.

The hydrogen and ammonia race

MENA is also a strong candidate for becoming a major hydrogen-exporting region thanks to its combination of low-cost gas resources and renewable energy. A few countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Morocco, have already made headways as low-cost exporters of blue and green hydrogen, net-zero ammonia and other low-carbon products, while other countries, such as Oman, UAE, and Egypt are attempting to catch up.

For more insights, please refer to the full report here

About APICORP:
The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) is a multilateral development financial institution established in 1975 by an international treaty between the ten Arab oil exporting countries. It aims to support and foster the development of the Arab world’s energy sector and petroleum industries. APICORP makes equity investments and provides project finance, trade finance, advisory and research. APICORP is rated “Aa2” with stable outlook by Moody’s and its headquarters is in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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Merck foundation partner with Africa Reproductive Care Society (ARCS) to build fertility care capacity and advocacy in Africa
May 4, 2021 | 1 Comments

Merck Foundation announced this partnership during their 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary during the Fertility and Reproductive care session
Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation & President of Merck More Than a Mother with Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Reproductive Care Society & President of the Nigerian Academy of Medicine Specialties

Merck Foundation , the philanthropic arm of Merck KgaA, announced their partnership with Africa Reproductive Care society (ARCS) based in Lagos, Nigeria to build fertility and reproductive tube care capacity, build advocacy to break the stigma of infertility, and raise awareness about infertility prevention and male infertility in Africa as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother campaign.

Senator Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation emphasized, “We are very happy to partner with an important and inclusive Society like Africa Reproductive Care Society with the aim not to only provide scientific and clinics training to African Doctors and Embryologists but to also build advocacy to break the stigma of infertility and raise awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. We at Merck Foundation partnered with 20 African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education, Communication and Genders, Academia, Media & Art communities to achieve our goals to transform the landscape of fertility care in Africa, and we have achieved very important milestones. I believe with our new partnership with ARCS we will continue our efforts and address different aspects of this topic”.

Prof. Oladapo Ashiru, President of Africa Reproductive Care Society (ARCS) emphasized, “I am very happy to partner with Merck Foundation. Merck Foundation has been creating awareness and building fertility care capacity in Africa. It is very critical to create awareness around infertility prevention and management as around 85% of infertility cases in Africa are caused by untreated infectious diseases, hence are preventable in many cases. I also thank Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej for her energy, inspiration, and innovations. Together will do well for Africa”.

“I invite all fertility care experts & embryologists, media experts, fashion designers who are our Merck Foundation Alumni to join this society. Also, I invite policymakers, community leaders and members, singers and filmmakers to apply for the membership which is free and inclusive for all Africa”, Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej added.

Merck Foundation announced this partnership during their 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary on 29th April 2021 during the Fertility and Reproductive care session, where they provided scientific and medical training for more than 400 doctors from Africa and Asia. And, discussed challenges, strategies, and solutions to improve access to quality, equitable and regulated fertility care in Africa and Asia.

This partnership is part of the Merck Foundation More than a Mother initiative.

About ‘Merck Foundation More Than a Mother’ campaign:
“Merck  Foundation More Than a Mother” is a strong movement that aims to empower infertile women through access to information, education and change of mind-sets. This powerful campaign supports governments in defining policies to enhance access to regulated, safe, effective and equitable fertility care solutions. It defines interventions to break the stigma around infertile women and raises awareness about infertility prevention, management and male infertility. In partnership with African First Ladies, Ministries of Health, Information, Education & Gender, academia, policymakers, International fertility societies, media and art, the initiative also provides training for fertility specialists and embryologists to build and advance fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

With “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother”, we have initiated a cultural shift to de-stigmatize infertility at all levels: By improving awareness, training local experts in the fields of fertility care and media, building advocacy in cooperation with African First Ladies and women leaders and by supporting childless women in starting their own small businesses. It’s all about giving every woman the respect and the help she deserves to live a fulfilling life, with or without a child. 

The Ambassadors of “Merck Foundation More Than a Mother” are:

H.E. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of BotswanaH.E. FATOUMATTA BAH-BARROW, The First Lady of The GambiaH.E. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of Namibia
H.E. SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina FasoH.E. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of GhanaH.E. AISHA BUHARI, The First Lady of Nigeria
H.E. ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE,

The First Lady of Burundi
H.E. CONDÉ DJENE, The First Lady of Guinea ConakryH.E FATIMA MAADA BIO, The First Lady of Sierra Leone
H.E. BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African RepublicH.E. CLAR WEAH, The First Lady of LiberiaH.E. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia
H.E. ANTOINETTE SASSOU-NGUESSO, The First Lady of Congo BrazzavilleH.E. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of MalawiH.E. AUXILLIA MNANGAGWA, The First Lady of Zimbabwe
H.E. DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, THE First Lady of Democratic Republic of CongoH.E. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of Mozambique
The Former First Lady of Republic of Burundi, H.E Madam DENISE NKURUNZIZA, The Former First Lady of Chad, H.E. HINDA DEBY ITNO, The Former First Lady of Republic of Malawi, H.E. PROFESSOR GERTRUDE MUTHARIKA and The Former First Lady of Niger, H.E AÏSSATA ISSOUFOU MAHAMADOU have worked successfully with Merck Foundation as Merck Foundation More Than a Mother Ambassadors to break the stigma of infertility and empower infertile women in their countries.

Merck Foundation launched new innovative initiatives to sensitize local communities about infertility prevention, male infertility with the aim to break the stigma of infertility and empowering infertile women as part of Merck Foundation More than a Mother COMMUNITY AWARENESS CAMPAIGN, such as;

  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Africa Media Recognition Awards and Health Media Training
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Fashion Awards
  • ‘Merck Foundation More than a Mother’ Film Awards
  • Local songs with local artists to address the cultural perception of infertility and how to change it
  • Children storybook, localized for each country

About Africa Reproductive  Care Society ( ARCS):
ARCS aims to be the foremost contributor and the partner of choice in advancing the ART care solutions and advocating for improving access to regulated and equitable fertility care solutions and breaking the stigma around infertility in Africa with special focus on Sub- Saharan Africa.

ARCS will work closely with its members and partners to further its aim and objectives through supporting and facilitating programs of education, training, communication of knowledge, exchange of experience, and networking.

Membership is open to individuals from several interest groups who are engaged in practicing, developing and building capacity of the Reproductive Health care, science, ethics and management. It is also open for individuals who are involved in advocacy building and raising awareness with the aim to break the stigma of infertility, empowering infertile women and improve access to equitable, safe and effective fertility care solutions in Africa.

Members include; Medical doctors, Embryologists, Scientists, Psychologists, Social workers, Fertility Nurses and Counselors, Fertility advocates, and Health Media Representatives as well as affiliated nonprofit stakeholders who are involved in ART field.

ARCS Membership application is subject to the ARCS  Executive Board approval and is free of charge.

ARCS will not raise or receive funds from any organization or individuals.

Members will be able to apply for training programs that will be subject to ARSC Scientific and Educational committee screening and proceeding with affiliated training institutions with the purpose of recommendation.

*SOURCE Merck Foundation

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Zambia First Lady and Merck Foundation CEO, Senator, Rasha Kelej co-chair Merck Foundation Conference 2021
May 4, 2021 | 0 Comments

  • Merck Foundation annual conference was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Dr. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU and Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees.
  • African First Ladies of Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Namibia were the Guests of Honour for the Luminary.
  • Till today about 100,000 participants, healthcare providers, policymakers, and academia from 70 countries have attended the Luminary.

Lusaka, Zambia: Merck Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Merck KgaA conducted their 8th Edition of “Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary” from 27th  – 29th April 2021, through an online videoconference. The conference was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Dr. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU and Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees; and co-chaired by H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia and Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, CEO of Merck Foundation.

Senator, Dr. Rasha Kelej, Merck Foundation CEO & Co-chairperson of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary emphasized, “We have always believed in the importance of building healthcare capacity through providing training to healthcare providers in many medical specialties. Also, as a response to COVID 19 pandemic, we adopted the online medical education strategy to be able to continue with our efforts of healthcare capacity building. I am very proud that we have so far provided for more than 1100 Doctors from 42 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America with one & two-, three-year specialty training in multiple fields such as Oncology, Diabetes, Preventative Cardiovascular Medicine, Endocrinology, Sexual and Reproductive Medicine, Acute Medicine, Respiratory Medicine, Human Assisted Reproduction and Embryology & Fertility specialty, to be the first in their countries. Moreover, we have now widened our horizons by introducing more scholarships for young doctors in many new underserved specialties across Africa and Asia.”

H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of Zambia and Co-chairperson of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary 2021 emphasized, “We are proud of our partnership with Merck Foundation, which started in 2019. In a very short period, we have been able to reshape the healthcare landscape of Zambia by enrolling and providing training to more than 90 young doctors with specialty training in the fields of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Respiratory, Acute medicines, Sexual and Reproductive Medicines, Fertility and Embryology. All of these fields are very critical and were lacking in our country. This will contribute to our battle against coronavirus and other diseases”.  

During his inauguration speech, The President of Zambia, H.E Dr. EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU emphasized “I am very glad to be hosting this important conference together with Merck Foundation, our long-term strategic partner. It is a great honor to inaugurate the conference alongside the First Ladies of Africa. I am certain that this conference will help us to further explore partnership opportunities and introduce new frameworks for cooperation in the area of health care capacity building and to define interventions to break infertility stigma and support girl education”.

Prof. Dr. Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, Chairman of both of Executive Board of E.Merck KG and Merck Foundation Board of Trustees expressed “Together, we continue to work in order to realize Merck Foundation’s vision: ‘Everyone in the world should lead a happy and fulfilling life’. We have achieved together, a huge success and we are going to continue and extend our support to achieve more”.

The 8th Edition of the Luminary marked another important milestone: the 4th Anniversary of Merck Foundation.

As part of the Luminary, Merck Foundation First Ladies Initiative Committee (MFFLI) High-Level Panel was conducted, which was attended by the 13 African First Ladies, who are the Ambassadors of Merck Foundation More Than a Mother.

The keynote address was delivered by H.E. Mrs. ESTHER LUNGU, The First Lady of the Republic of Zambia as the host and co-chairperson of the conference along with

  • H.E. Mrs. ANA DIAS LOURENÇO, The First Lady of the Republic of Angola
  • H.E. Mrs. NEO JANE MASISI, The First Lady of the Republic of Botswana
  • H.E. Madam SIKA KABORE, The First Lady of Burkina Faso
  • H.E. Madam ANGELINE NDAYISHIMIYE, The First Lady of the Republic of Burundi
  • H.E. Madam BRIGITTE TOUADERA, The First Lady of Central African Republic
  • H.E. Madam DENISE NYAKERU TSHISEKEDI, The First Lady of the Democratic Republic of The Congo
  • H.E. Mrs. REBECCA AKUFO-ADDO, The First Lady of the Republic of Ghana
  • H.E. Madam DJÈNÈ CONDÉ, The First Lady of the Republic of Guinea Conakry
  • H.E. Mrs. CLAR MARIE WEAH, The First Lady of the Republic of Liberia
  • H.E. Mrs. MONICA CHAKWERA, The First Lady of the Republic of Malawi
  • H.E. Mrs. ISAURA FERRÃO NYUSI, The First Lady of the Republic of Mozambique
  • H.E. Mrs. MONICA GEINGOS, The First Lady of the Republic of Namibia

The Day 1 of the 8th edition of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary was attended by close to 100,000 participants, Healthcare providers, policymakers, academia, researchers, and media from more than 70 Countries in four languages English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

On Day 2 of the conference, MARS- Merck Foundation Africa Research Summit was held where a High-Level Panel Discussion with Ministers of Health, Science and Technology, Education, Information And Gender and MARS Researchers was held with the objective to empower African young researchers & women researchers, advancing their research capacity and empower them in STEM.

On the third day, Merck Foundation Health Media Training was organized for the African and Latin American Media fraternity to emphasize the important role that media plays to break the stigma around infertility, in raising awareness about infertility prevention, and empowering girls and women through education.

Other important scientific sessions in different medical fields were also held in parallel on Day 2 and Day 3 of the Luminary.

Countries participating include Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Canada, Central Africa Republic, Cambodia, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Guinea – Bissau, Guinea – Conakry, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Togo, Tunisia, U.A.E, UK, Uganda, US, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe and more.

Link to the Facebook live steam of Merck Foundation Africa Asia Luminary Inauguration & Africa’s First Ladies High Level Panel – MFFLI 2021:

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African Energy Downstream Committee to drive African competitiveness, jobs, local content, energy, and maritime security.
May 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

Swiss-based downstream expert Philippe Cohen has joined the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board. Photo courtesy

The African Energy Chamber, has created a Downstream Committee to engage more closely with Africa’s energy marketing, storage and trading developments and trends. 

Further, Swiss-based downstream expert Philippe Cohen has joined the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board. Philippe will be mentoring and supporting the work of the African Energy Chamber by spearheading the newly established Downstream Committee. 

“Our continent has been engaged in commodity trading for decades, and we need to ensure that we trade African commodities like crude oil and LNG in Africa for our own industrialization and growth. Trading houses and governments must start seeing Africa as a market, and not just as a farm to supply other continents” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

The African Energy Chamber believes that the Downstream and Midstream Activities of our African energy sector are key drivers for change in the overall industry. Philippe is an accomplished and result-driven gentleman who understands the most pressing issues the downstream sector is facing today, from origination to financing and from organic growth to expansion via mergers and acquisitions.

Local content and African participation have to be an integral part of the downstream sector, especially with energy downstream trading companies. We need to change the face of trading firms when it comes to financing and trading commodities in Africa, as well as the operators’ jobs and in the executive suite. It is not correct that many of the commodity trading companies making billions of dollars in Africa with African resources have no Africans in senior management. This needs to change.

Our downstream committee has a responsibility to advocate for regulations and policies that promote growth and investment in Africa’s downstream sector. This will help drive a lot of African economies, create the needed jobs, work with governments on energy and maritime security and push Africa to remain competitive in the global economy.

Moving Africa towards our obligations for carbon neutrality is essential when it comes to the energy marketing and trading. The African Energy Chamber aims to be proactive in driving Africa’s downstream sector to make the necessary changes, especially given the available technology, rather than waiting for directions from bureaucrats or Western groups.

Trading houses and governments must start seeing Africa as a market, and not just as a farm to supply other continents, says NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“With the AfCFTA Agreement, we need to urgently implement provisions that open and enable market access for African downstream players, who need to be respected and encouraged to grow in Africa by government cutting the red tape for them operate. We are honored to have Mr Cohen joining our board.” Added Mr Ayuk.

Our committee members, working with various African governments and national energy companies to communicate regularly about the policies which are working, and those which could be made to work better will only benefit African families and businesses.

Africa has been home to some of the most entrepreneurial commodity trading houses like Vitol, Puma, Vivo, Glencore, Trafigura, Litasco, Sahara Energy, Oando, Oryx Energies and Mocoh, just to name a few. We must encourage them and also open doors for new actors, including African home-grown companies.

*Courtesy of African Energy Chamber

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How a Career in Public Relations helped shape an African Royal
May 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

APO Group’s Ewetse Khama is trading in his career in the PR industry to claim his birthright and serve his people as a member of a prominent royal family in Botswana.

APO Group’s Ewetse Khama is trading in his career in the PR industry to claim his birthright and serve his people as a member of a prominent royal family in Botswana

To some, it might seem like an unusual career trajectory, but for Ewetse Khama, working in the Public Relations industry in Africa has been the perfect preparation for the next step in his unique journey.

From today, Ewetse is stepping down from his role at APO Group , the leading pan-African communications consultancy and press release distribution service, to serve his country and his people. This year, Ewetse’s father, Sekgoma Tshekedi Khama, retired from active duty in the Bamangwato tribe. This made way for the eldest son, Ewetse to assume his father’s role as a Kgosi – a Batswana term meaning ‘Chief’, ‘King’ or ‘Elder’ – in the Khama Family, one of Botswana’s most prominent royal families.

The Khamas have a long and illustrious history in Botswana. Ewetse’s paternal uncle, Sir Seretse Khama, served as the country’s first President after independence in 1966, and was the subject of a Hollywood blockbuster – A United Kingdom – about his marriage to English woman Ruth Williams. Sir Seretse’s eldest son, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama was Botswana’s 4th President from 2008-2018.

Botswana is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa, which Ewetse attributes partly to the role that traditional leaders play as a conduit between government and the people, especially in promoting harmony and understanding. 

That might be one of the reasons the PR industry has been such a good fit for Ewetse, helping prepare him for the big challenges that lie ahead.

“I felt that I needed to do things for myself and forge my own career, instead of relying on my name or status,” Ewetse says. “As a Khama, I had so much choice in life because many doors were always open to us, I could do or be anything I wanted. But I have always felt strongly about communications and working with people, so PR seemed like the perfect choice.”

Working within the PR Agency division of APO Group has given Ewetse a grounding, and a sense of normality. It has also broadened his horizons internationally, and given him new perspectives on Africa after being educated in Europe. Ewetse believes his PR career – and his time at APO Group – will help make him a better leader.

“I’m a good listener, which is essential in PR. You listen to what somebody has to say, then you help them develop their ideas, and connect with their audiences. The key appeal to me is that Public Relations is really about creating opportunities for people.” 

Ewetse’s work with APO Group has certainly helped him do that. He has offered a guiding hand to many multinational organizations looking to navigate the diverse African media landscape. His experience and local knowledge has enabled those companies to succeed in markets that are often difficult to crack. Like all his APO Group colleagues, Ewetse is passionate about Africa, and provided customers with ‘on-the-ground’ networking and support.     

As APO Group Founder and Chairman, Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard explains: “Not everyone in our team is from African royalty! But they are all deeply attuned to the people, country and region in which they live and operate. Ewetse’s extraordinary story epitomises our commitment to local expertise, and is also a testament to APO’s talent pool across Africa.”

APO Group holds a unique position in the Public Relations industry in Africa. Formerly known as the African Press Organization, it has been providing content to media in all 54 African countries since 2007. Journalists in Africa know and trust APO Group, making them the perfect partner for companies looking to develop their presence on the continent.

Ewetse is now looking to bring the communications skills he honed in the PR industry into his new role as a Kgosi – a Batswana term meaning ‘Chief’, ‘King’ or ‘Elder’ – where his responsibilities include fostering local consensus and governance while also promoting social welfare and the economic empowerment of disadvantaged groups.

“My time at APO Group has been an important part of my career, and I am proud of the work we have done to help our multinational clients and drive business into African economies. I have great memories of the people and the experiences I’ve enjoyed along the way. They will stand me in good stead as I take this next exciting step!” 

Even though Ewetse has now moved on to serve his community and country, he will be remembered fondly by his former colleagues.

“Ewetse will always be a valued part of the APO Group team – a colleague and a friend,” Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard says. “We will miss him, of course, but APO Group’s loss is Botswana’s gain. His nation is lucky to have him. I am grateful for the fact that, thanks to our fantastic team, our clients across Africa will continue to receive a royal standard of quality service!”

*Source APO

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