African Energy Thriller Becomes a Wall Street Journal Best-Seller List and Tops US Market
April 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
|Billions At Play became number one on Amazon in several categories only a few days after its initial release in 2019|
Following the widely acclaimed release of NJ Ayuk, Managing Director of Centurion Law Group and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber’s second book, Billions At Play: The Future of African Energy and Making Deals, the resourceful and bold book has become #1 Amazon Best Selling eBook overall, #2 Wall Street Journal Best Selling eBook, #4 USA Today Non-Fiction Business Best Selling eBook and #10 Wall Street Journal Non-Fiction Combined best seller.
Billions At Play became number one on Amazon in several categories only a few days after its initial release in 2019, making it one of Africa’s energy best-seller. This second edition, which opens once again on a foreword by H.E. Mohamed Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and features a new chapter dedicated to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African oil markets, which is narrated by Adera Gandy and Boet Schouwinck.
In a strong indication of Ayuk’s popularity around the world, Billions At Play: The Future of African Energy and Making Deals sold 7,020 units with peak sales of 2,803 units in a single day. ‘’This is great news because we can still tell Africa’s complex energy story with a hopeful narrative and still be a bestseller in the US. We don’t have to be negative or continue the crab in a barrel mindset that has not helped us. Any achievement is meaningless without thanking all the hands and hearts who helped us get there. I thank you a lot and continue to express my thoughts and experiences the best way I know how,’’ NJ Ayuk said.
The Amazon bestseller outlines the continents road to recovery plan that seeks to dissect the need for energy policy legislation, the lack of access to power, the role that access to reliable, sustainable, and affordable power can play in the acceleration of economic growth and most importantly, why the continent’s energy industry needs more women.
The book is currently available through leading retailers including Exclusivebooks.com , TakeAlot.com , Google Books , eBooks.com , Kindle and many more!
NJ Ayuk is a leading energy lawyer and a strong advocate for African entrepreneurs. He is recognised as one of the foremost figures in African business today.
A Global Shaper with the World Economic Forum, one of Forbes’ Top 10 Most Influential Men in Africa in 2015, and a well-known dealmaker in the petroleum and power sectors, NJ is dedicating his career to helping entrepreneurs find success and to building the careers of young African lawyers.
As founder and CEO of Centurion Law Group, NJ strives through his work to ensure that business, and especially oil and gas, impacts African societies in a positive way and drives local content development. He is the current chairman of the African Energy Chamber and author of ‘Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity’.
*SOURCE African Energy Chamber
Kenya and United Kingdom’s diplomatic tensions escalate
April 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenya Airways (KQ), on Monday, April 5, suspended its flights to the United Kingdom, a move that would heighten the already existing diplomatic row between the two nations.
The suspension will take effect from April 9 until further notice.
The loss-making airline said that the decision was arrived at following the Government’s directive that suspended all UK flights from April 9.
The airline apologized to their customers for the inconvenience, asking them to change their bookings or request a refund penalty-free. However, the carried forward tickets must be utilized before March 31, 2022.
At the same time, KQ announced that it has added two new flights to the UK on April 7 and April 8 to meet the increasing travel demand.
The current ongoing row between Kenya and the European nation kicked off last week Friday when the UK government added Kenya to its “red list” of countries whose residents are banned from setting foot in the country.
The UK said it is aiming to protect itself against new variants of Covid-19.
In a statement, UK said that after April 9, when the ban is taking effect, only British and Irish nationals from the red-list countries will be allowed to enter the country. However, they will have to quarantine for ten days at their expenses.
“The government has made it consistently clear it will take decisive action if necessary to contain the virus and has added these destinations to the red list to protect public health,” read the statement.
In retaliation, Kenya banned all passenger flights to and through the UK for a month.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry slammed the UK for adding the country to its Covid-19 red list, terming the decision ‘discriminatory’ and lacked ‘logic and scientific knowledge of the disease or the spread of the pandemic’.
“This vaccine apartheid, coupled with reckless calls for vaccine passports while not making the vaccines available to all nations, widens existing inequalities and makes it near impossible for the world to win the war against the pandemic,” read part the Ministry’s statement.
Other African countries in the UK’s travel ban red list include Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cape Verde, DRC, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
U-Turn in Tanzania: New President seeks advice on Covid-19
April 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
Tanzania’s new President Samia Suluhu Hassan has made a U-turn on his country’s stand on Covid-19 by promising that she is going to form a committee which will advise her on how to curb coronavirus.
The move comes after less than a month of take over from the late President John Pombe Magufuli who died last month. Magufuli’s government had been skeptic Covid-19 and defied any measures to fight the deadly virus.
According to the Citizen Tanzania, President Suluhu said that she is going to form a committee of experts who will look into Covid-19 matters professionally.
“On the issue of Covid-19, I think I should form a Committee of experts to look at it professionally and then advise the Government, it should not be silenced or rejected or accepted without professional research,” she was quoted as saying.
Suluhu went on to say that Tanzania could not isolate itself “as if we are an Island’. He however she added that her country cannot accept everything.
“We cannot continue just reading about Covid 19 Worldwide, yet Tanzania is all blank, it is incomprehensible” she added.
Since April 2020, Tanzania has stopped to share its daily cases of COVID-19. President John Magufuli had been quoted saying that only God will protect Tanzanians from the virus.
The East African country did not take robust measures as other countries, to curb the spread of the virus. Since early 2021, Tanzania has got attention of international community and non-governmental organizations.
In the course of one month since February 2021, Tanzania has lost about ten high rank officials mysteriously including Chief Secretary in Tanzanian government, John Kijazi who died in mid February, and Zanzibar vice president Seif Sherif Hamad who died of Covid-19.
The Secretary General of the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), father Charles Kitima in February he said that government should take measures because Covid-19 is there.
Kitima said that in January and February, Tanzanian Catholic Church lost more than 25 priests and more than 60 nuns due to breathing complications.
“It did not happen before. Normally during the course of two months we have been losing two or three priests due to old age or other illness”, Kitima said.
Government outlines guidelines to commemorate genocide amid COVI-19 pandemic
April 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
As the country gears up to start the commemoration of 1994 genocide against the Tutsi amid COVID-19 pandemic, the government has said that commemoration events will be held with restrictions to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
The commemoration week starts on April 7, 2021 signaling the say when the genocide started throughout the week that will end on April 13 when several events to mourn over one million victims of 1994 tragedy.
“This year’s Commemoration will happen while respecting covid-19 guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jean Damascene Bizimana, the executive secretary of the National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide (CNLG) on Monday, April 5, 2021.
Bizimana said that the commemoration week will be launched at the Kigali Memorial site where top government officials will among other activities lay wreaths on the graves where thousands of genocide victims are buried.
“Then the commemoration activities will be held at Kigali Arena on the same day where top government officials, diplomats as well as representatives of Rwandan groups will convene and where commemoration messages will be shared, all Rwandans are encouraged to follow on media platforms as the event will be live-streamed,” he added.
This is the second time Rwanda and friends of Rwanda commemorate the 1994 genocide since the COVID-19 pandemic was announced in March 2020.
Last year commemoration activities were conducted via media as the country was in a total lockdown to curb the spread of the 19 pandemic.
Unlike in previous commemoration events before COVID-19 where a walk to remember could be organized in the city of Kigali and in other places, Bizimana said that there will be no walk to remember in a bid to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 9, 2021, there will dialogue on using ICT where the youth will be taken through the history how the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi was prepared and executed and the role of the youth to prevent genocide and fight its ideology, according to Bizimana.
Such dialogues will be organized in different periods as part of commemoration week, he added.
The commemoration week will also be marked by the commemorations of the politicians killed during 1994 genocide because of opposing the genocide regime through their ideas and deeds.
Commemorating fallen politicians will be marked on April 13, 2021, ending the week-long commemoration events.
Genocide survivors can still mourn their relatives
The commemoration period goes on for 100 days signaling the period when the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi lasted.
According to Bizimana, genocide survivors and Rwandans who wish to mourn the fallen victims can visit the mass graves where their relatives are buried and mourn them while respecting measures to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Families can take followers on the graves where their relatives were buried while respecting guidelines to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people who visit memorial sites can be the same as those attending burial as directed by the government,” he said.
“Offering decent burial to bodies that were discovered recently should also be done while respecting COVID-19 guideline, those who want to participate in burial should also get COVID-19 tests,” he added.
The number of people attending burial should not exceed 30 people according to the recent cabinet meeting resolution.
Bizimana also talked about plans by the commission to share short messages on how the genocide was executed and how the liberation struggle was conducted to as many people as possible.
According to Bizimana, the denial and negating genocide ideology has been declining especially thanks to the mobilization of the world as regards to legal implications and punishment for those who found guilty of such crimes ranging from 5 to 15 years of jail.
Commemoration of the 1994 genocide comes at a time when France which is accused of having supported the genocide regime to commit genocide has admitted its heavy and overwhelming role during the genocide against the Tutsi.
It also comes at a time when Felicien Kabuga, 87 who is accused of having financed the 1994 genocide among other accusations was arrested in France.
SADC meets to discuss terrorism in Mozambique
April 5, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
The Southern African Development Community will meet on 8 April to discuss regional measures to resolve the terrorists attacks in Mozambique, after a calling made by the president of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi, as head of the community’s body on politics, defence and security.
South Africa would be guided by the results of the meeting in how it could help Mozambique, a South African defence ministry spokesman said.
South Africa is the biggest military power in the region, and therefore its intervention is key in the conflict.
The spokesman added that over 50 South Africans reported missing after the terrorist attack on the Mozambican town of Palma had been found by their government. The deadly attack was recorded on 24 March.
Now, the town has been fully recovered from terrorists and is under the control of the Defence and Security Forces (FDS), the governor of Cabo Delgado province, Valige Tauabo, said after a visit to the town on Sunday to inspect the results of the terrorist attack.
Operations to mop up remaining terrorists continued and soon the refugee population would return to their homes, he said speaking to state-owned broadcaster TVM which was also on the scene.
Images show a scene of destruction, with buildings damaged and decomposing bodies abandoned on the road. TVM journalist Brito Simango was in the area of Palma’s Catholic church where, before Saturday, the Islamists had been continuing to fight, and said in the report that the Mozambican authorities were also controlling the Palma airstrip.
Brigadier Vidigal Chongo told journalists in Palma that the work of clearing the entire perimeter of the town had ended, and that they were now moving on to the phase of recovering the population that had fled to the forests, state-owned radio station Rádio Moçambique reported.
Chongo said that it was a critical phase which would require a lot of attention from the FDS, so as not to allow terrorists to mix with the population and create more disturbances in the town.
Kenya reports additional 20 Covid-19 deaths
April 5, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
The number of Covid-19 related deaths in Kenya on Monday hit 2 244 after twenty more people succumbed to the virus.
The country’s Ministry of Health announced that out of the 20 new fatalities, one transpired within 24 hours, 10 in the last month, and nine are from the facility record audits.
Health Minister Mutahi Kagwe revealed 460 more people also tested positive for Covid-19 raising the total number of infections to 139,448.
The new infections were found from a sample size of 2,753 tested within 24 hours.
Mr. Kagwe noted that the new patients consisted of 446 Kenyans and 14 foreigners, with 250 males and 210 females.
In terms of age, the youngest patient is seven months old, and the oldest is 89 years old.
Kenya’s positivity rate stands at 16.7 percent.
The Ministry at the same time said that 178 patients have recovered from the deadly disease bringing the total number of recoveries to 94,361. Whereas 79 were from Home-Based and Isolation care, 99 were from various health facilities across the country.
So far, 1 590 patients were reported to be admitted to hospitals, 5,998 from Home-based and Isolation care, and 200 are in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Of the 200 patients in the ICU, 40 are on ventilatory support, 130 on supplemental oxygen and 30 others are under close observation.
South Sudan Chamber of Commerce Begs EAC Traders to Lift Suspension, Allow Trucks
April 5, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – The South Sudan National Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (SSNCIA) is begging the East Africa Community (EAC) traders to lift suspensions and allow trucks and cargos to travel to South Sudan amid price skyrocketing in the market..
Kenyan and Ugandan transporters suspended or stopped sending cargos or trucks to South Sudan to protest killings and a soaring insecurity along major highways.
Last week, at least 10 people, including Kenyan and Ugandan traders were ambushed, killed and their vehicles burnt in three separate attacks along the Juba – Nimule and Juba – Yei roads by unknown gunmen.
The Chamber said is deeply dismayed, saddened and shocked with the killing of Kenyan and Ugandan traders by armed men.
In the press conference on Monday, Salwa Bakony Monytuil, Deputy Chairperson condemned in the strongest term possible the killing which targeted the innocent foreign traders and therefore call on the Transitional Government of South Sudan to immediate act to apprehend the culprits.
As the business community, also extended their heartfelt condolences to the families of Ugandan and Kenyan nationals who lost their lives and properties in the recently separate attack in South Sudan.
“The Chamber of Commerce ensures of its diligence and obligation to work closely with the government to address these shameful killing being committed by the armed men along the highways to enable safe and free movement of the traders across the country,” said Salwa. The Chamber and government are working to find amicable solution, we urge our Partners in the private sector in the EAC to allow the flow of goods and services to South Sudan while the security concern for the safety of drivers and Properties are addressing.”
Thee Ugandan and Kenyan cargo transporters say they will not send trucks into South Sudan over the heightened insecurity.
“We have not yet got the solution from the two governments,” said William Basuulwa-the Chairperson of Uganda National Transport Alliance, quoted by Eye radio. “As of now, we have stopped loading any cargo going to South Sudan. Those who have already loaded, let them put the cargo at the border.”
Over 2000 trucks or cargos are reportedly grounded at Elegu border of Uganda.
“The current standoff of the transporters at Elegu Border of Uganda is of a great concern to the Chamber of Commerce because it will lead to products shortage and may hike the prices of commodities in our markets,” said Salwa.
The Deputy Chairperson said “We therefore urged our government to urgently intervene to address the Insecurity along the major roads in the country. As a representative of the private sector, we are committed to partner with the government to address the current standoff at Elegu Border.”
Meanwhile, the Juba government says the recent attacks on vehicles along major highways are not targeted, adding they will investigate the incidents and security forces will be able to share information with their counterparts in Uganda and with Kenya.”
President Kiir’s administration blames the attacks on armed groups opposed to the transitional government but the National Salvation Front-NAS distanced itself from the violence, blaming criminals within the SSPDF for the attacks.
S. Sudan President Kiir Visits Bor, Pledges to Build Dyke to Prevent Further Flooding
April 2, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit pledged to build a permanent dyke to prevent future flooding in Jonglei state.
President Kiir, visited Bor on Thursday, to assess the damage of floods and inspect the ongoing construction work of the Juba – Bor road.
This is the first visit of President Kiir Mayardit after 9 years. His last visit to Bor was during launching of disarmament exercise on March 12, 2012.
Jonglei has been ruined by the country’s six year conflict that broke out in late 2013, and the recent flooding, with rising waters destroying much of the local infrastructures and displacing thousands of locals.
Kiir also stated that the floods that displaced thousands of people from their homes last year is not yet over.
He revealed that Uganda is working to release more water into the Nile river which will increase water level in the Nile.
President Kiir said his government will engage in talks with the government of Sudan to open their reservoir dam.
He further promised that his government will build a permanent dyke for citizens to return home and cultivate in peace and harmony, but without clear strategy .
Speaking a rally at the Dr John Garang Memorial University of Science and Technology in Bor capital of Jonglei State, Kiir extended his solidarity with a victim of floods.
“I was coming to visit you to see the impact of flood in the area. Indeed, I have seen it remained of cows, and I believe this disaster has also taken the people’s lives. Another flood is coming, and people should prepare for it, and you will be supported as you are fighting the flood,” said president Kiir.
President Kiir thanked the youth for their tireless efforts in finding temporary solutions to the broken dykes along the Nile River which has displaced thousands and urged the population to stay in their homes despite the devastating floods.
The president has also encouraged citizens to be self-reliant by boosting local food production to reduce importing food commodities from neighboring Countries.
Meanwhile, State Governor Denay Chagor commended the president’s visit, saying it enabled him to see for himself the condition of the people affected by the flooding.
Bor residents were expecting the President to address insecurity in greater Jonglei, such as child abduction, cattle raids, and communal violence between Dinka and Murle, but he focused on flooding only. The citizens also anticipated that President Kiir will talk about the disaster management strategic plans to end floods in the area, brief citizens on remedies to address violence, repair roads, health, education, and end inter-communal violence in the restive State.
“His visit gave us hope; but we wanted him as a President to improve insecurity and floods,” said Adau John, a resident of Bor.
The observers commended Kiir’s visit to the violence and flood-stricken region, hoping his rally in the town would draw greater attention to their issues.
Political analysts describe President Kiir’s visit as an attempt to revitalise his faction’s grassroots and garner support after a shaky few weeks for the party (SPLM).
President Kiir’s visit to Bor comes shortly after his Senior Advisor, former Jonglei State Governor and Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk criticised himself and the SPLM for not having ‘done anything to make a better society following country’s independence.
The UNMISS Human rights report this week said community-based militias were responsible for 78 percent of killings, injuries, abductions, and conflict-related sexual violence on civilians, as well as documented killing of 2,421 civilians in 2020, more than double the previous year.
350.org announces a Global Just Recovery Gathering
April 2, 2021 | 0 Comments
Africa-wide – From April 9th-11th, 350.org and hundreds of organisations will be hosting a three-day online Global Just Recovery Gathering. The program events are free, online, multilingual and will be running six hour cycles over three different time zones to make it a truly global event.
Choices are being made right now that will shape our society for decades to come; the gathering will bring together speakers who will explore what we need for a just recovery from the compound crises of COVID-19 and climate breakdown. Some of the key speakers include Vandana Shiva (India), Hakima Abbas (Kenya), Ailton Krenak (Brazil), Nnimmo Bassey (Nigeria), Greta Thunberg (Sweden), Eriel Deranger (Canada), Noelene Nabulivou (Fiji), Naomi Klein (Canada), Sharon Burrows (ITUC), Bill McKibben (United States) and many more.
Cultural sessions that accompany each six hour cycle of the gathering will include artists and musicians such as Gilberto Gil, Patti Smith, Angelique Kidjo, Ana Tijoux, Jazzmeia Horn, Rocky Dawuni and many more.
In addition to the panels and cultural sessions, there will be over 180 workshops and training events to support individuals and campaign groups in designing a new path towards a better future for all.
There will be interpretation in English, Español, Français and Português for all the sessions allowing all communities from across Africa to participate.
Landry Ninteretse: Africa Regional Director at 350.org
“The solutions to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 must also be the solutions to the climate crisis. As governments plan for recovery, they must ensure that their plans address the recurrent issues of access to healthcare, food, education, and clean energy as basic human rights. People across Africa are expecting radical, inclusive and sustainable responses that will strengthen Africa’s resilience to social, economic and environmental disasters exacerbated by pandemic. This is especially so for a continent such as Africa that continues to face numerous climate change issues such as food insecurity, energy poverty, floods and droughts amidst a global pandemic.”
Kenya issues road travelling ban on South Sudan after killing of two Drivers
April 2, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – Kenya Transporters Association has issued travel advisory on South Sudan after killing of two Kenyan drivers, cited increased insecurity incidences.
The association says Kenyan trucks carrying transit goods to South Sudan will offload at Elegu, Ugandan border post for security reasons.
Association advised the transporters to withdraw their services with immediate effect.
The move is in protest of gruesome killing of Kenyan fuel tank drivers, vehicles burnt on Thursday around the Obama village and Ame junction along Nimule – Juba Highway by unknown armed men.
The oil tankers were ambushed, shot and burned inside their trucks. Two more drivers are reportedly missing after the attack. A total of 5 people were killed according to police Spokesman.
Kenya Transporters Association said “following the increase incidences of insecurity, murder and violent crimes against foreign drivers, transporters are advised to withdraw their services with immediate effect until such such time security is guaranteed.”
However, the move is expected to worsen market prices in the country as South Sudan depends on imports from Kenya and Uganda
Juba government blamed Thomas Cirilo, leader rebel group known National Salvation Front – NAS for the attack, but the NAS dismissed the accusation described it as “baseless and aimed at tarnishing the image of the Movement”.
The NAS and SSPDF has trader accusations for orchestrating the attacks.
Of recently, at least ten people were killed in three separate ambushes along the Juba-Yei road.
Despite the 2018 peace deal, the attacks on the roads are still happening across the East African’s youngest nation.
Rwanda kicks off the second round of COVID-19 vaccination
April 2, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
Rwanda has announced that the second round of vaccination exercise against COVID-19 pandemic starts today countrywide starting from those who received the Pfizer vaccine.
Rwanda launched the vaccination drive early in March administering both Pfizer and AstraZeneca. Both vaccines require two doses for beneficiaries to gain enough immunity in their bodies according to health experts.
About 400,000 Rwandans in different categories of age and employment received the first dose of vaccine and await the second one.
For those receiving Pfizer, the exercise started on Friday 2 April 2021 and will go on up to 21 April 2021 while the date for AstraZeneca vaccine is yet to be announced.
According to the statement from Rwanda Biomedical Centre those who received the first dose should ensure they receive the second one if they are to gain immunity.
“It is very important to take two doses of the vaccine in different periods to ensure the body has enough immunity,” it reads.
It added that for AstraZeneca vaccine, it takes between 8 and 12 weeks to have the second dose while for Pfizer it takes between 21 and 28 days
“We would like to remind that whoever receives the second dose of the vaccine should keep respecting measure in place to fight COVID-19 pandemic including the proper wearing of facemasks, social distancing, avoiding gatherings and regular handwashing,” it added.
Rwanda has recorded 21, 918 positive cases including 1302 active cases and 308 deaths since Mid March 2019 when it recorded the first case of COVID-19.
Maximilienne C. Ngo Mbe: A Champion of Human Rights across Central Africa
April 1, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe has been with the REDHAC for the past ten years as Executive Director, championing and promoting human rights across the Central African sub-region. Her relentless pursuit of human rights has seen her win multiple awards across the world and with the mantra “NEVER GIVE UP” she has shown no sign of slowing down.
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe has won multiple awards in her fight for Human Rights with the biggest one being the U.S State Department’s 2021 Women of Courage Awards. Before this recent award, Maximilienne was in 2020 awarded “The Prize of Empowerment of African Communities” by the BBF and Heal The World Africa, an organization based in the USA.
In 2019 Maximilienne won the “Defend Defenders: Prize of Resilience and recognition for her exceptional impact for her works on Human Rights in Central Africa.”
Pan African Visions caught up with this vibrant Human Rights defender in her office in Douala this March 31, 2021, and began by asking her what she made of the recent award given to her in her fight for human rights.
Pan African Visions: May we know how Maximilienne Ngo Mbe received news of her selection amongst the 2021 Women of Courage Awards?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: It is not possible to know how the selection comes about. I was surprised by the US Embassy who told me that I am one of the Women who have been selected for the award but the first amongst the twelve women that were to be selected. I had the information at the same time as you when the US Government made the selection. I saw the information on Friday after the announcement was made on Thursday in the night that I am one of the Women of Courage 2021.
Pan African Visions: What does this award mean for you and your fight for human rights in Cameroon?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: First of all I was very happy when you fight against violations of human rights, fight for peace and reconciliation and when you receive the award you are happy. The award is not only for the work in Cameroon but the work in Central Africa to improve human rights and promote peace and reconciliation in Central Africa. It is a lot of responsibility and what now can I do to ensure that all these people who are suffering can do something? I do not have a lot of power to improve all these charges that have been given to me.
Can I have the power to finish all this work? I am not sure because you need a lot of things; financial (sometimes people do not know that you carry out activities without money); democratically challenged (we do not have democratically institutions. We do not have separation of power in the countries). We have a lot of injustices specifically in Cameroon now and we have a lot of arbitrary arrests. The terrorism law is in place that leads to activists being charged. It is difficult and the situation in North West and South West is not easy. We have a lot of threats and people who do not have security in their life. It is not easy for me; I am happy but afraid.
Pan African Visions: Can you shed light on the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Network in Central Africa-REDHAC that you lead?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: It is difficult to talk about the Human Rights Defenders Network in Central Africa because it is a long road. For ten years now I have been the Executive Director and we make sure to protect, promote and advocate for the human rights defenders status and make sure that the government undertakes their role about the regional and international engagement and to make sure that the fundamental freedoms are respected. We make sure that peace and security can be improved which will lead to people having justice and living a good life.
All these things have been very difficult to achieve because it is the civil and political rights; when you fight for their respect it is not easy especially in countries that have not had democratically institutions. Some of our victims understand nothing that sometimes turns to attack us. But REDHAC status that is out to fight against human rights especially for CSOs turns to create an atmosphere of peace between the victims. For example, every six months, we report on the violation of the human right and also the protection and security of lawyers who defend these victims. This is because if you want CSOs to continue in this light you need to reinforce them with security assistance. For example, we have laws that govern lawyers at the Regional, National and International level. Lawyers who defend victims of human rights violation and fight for peace and reconciliation
We at REDHAC have proposed concrete solutions at the level of Cameroon and Africa in general for the respect of human rights. This is a vast area for us to handle in the protection of human rights. We also have manual functions and challenges like our laws in the country cannot surpass international laws. Analysis and recommendations have been done as well as publications on fundamental liberation and also following up defenders of human rights; aiding them protection and financially. For example, Mancho Bibixy was aided financially (REDHAC supported him by relocating his wife from Bamenda to Yaounde so she can easily pay him visits in prison) and May Ali who was relocated. We also give people the opportunity to air out their problems to the international community especially victims in the North West and South West. We have also produced documentaries on behalf of the victims.
Pan African Visions: What are some of the challenges the REDHAC network has faced in the field while doing its work?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: Some of our challenges are infrastructural and financial challenges. This is because sometimes we need to help our victims who are not financially stable to shelter them and also the majority of our financial partners are state-owned that sometimes delay the assistance. Also, the government system is another problem we faced coupled with the fact that in Central Africa all the Presidents are of age weakening the system as they try to maintain their positions leading to poor leadership.
States that do not practice democracy is another problem we faced resulting in poor decision-making. In Cameroon especially in the judiciary decisions cannot influence justice; same with the legislative decisions hindering sanctions on the government for wrong decisions taken. This also goes to the executive. This can be seen especially in the Ngarbuh massacre that to date government decisions have not been implemented on the perpetrators of the act. Meantime, we also have the case of Wazizi where to date his corpse has not been found. Despite our complaints, nothing has been done in all these instances. Sometimes, sanctions are levied on us when publications on such situations are made public. Our challenges to sum up rest on financial, undemocratic institutions, but all these can be solved.
Pan African Visions: Can you give us your perspectives on the situation of human rights in Cameroon, where have you seen progress and where have things been bad?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: The fact that REDHAC’s doors have not been shut down despite these challenges shows a level of respect for human rights. People are allowed to talk freely on TV stations without being arrested shows some positivity on the respect of human rights. We also have laws that have been respected in the country and it is good we encourage the government for such a move which will give them the ability to keep respect for human rights.
However, laws that are made by the legislative are not always being respected by the other bodies such as the executive and judiciary. There is some collaboration even though formal such as that of the Ministry of Justice and some human rights organizations including REDHAC. These small collaborations give us a supportive hand to continue our work.
Pan African Visions: Could you share some of the recommendations that REDHAC has in mind to improve human rights in Cameroon?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: In Cameroon, we have recommended the revision of so many laws and not its abolition such as the anti-terrorism law of 2014 against Journalists, civilians, politicians, activists and others. For example, the military court is not supposed to judge civilians or journalists and for this reason, we have recommended that the law be revised and we hope one day it will be considering that Cameroon is one of the members of the Commonwealth, Human Rights Commission in Africa and the UN. We are not saying that the law be abolished but revised concerning the rate of terrorism in central Africa.
The second recommendation we have made is that if you observed Western African countries, there is a law to protect the right of journalists especially in Mali, Ivory Coast which was voted for and this law should be adopted in the Cameroon National Assembly and the President signing it into law.
Our recommendations are not only on human rights violations but in a situation that we find ourselves in. Cameroon is facing various challenges, and we have been recommended that no war can be solved with the use of arms but negotiations should be the solution between the two parties. A commission should be created such as the Truth and Justice Reconciliation Commission should be created. With this being our best recommendation as human rights preachers it will be a better means to reconcile ourselves. A proposal for that commission had been written and sent to the appropriate quarters which will only hope for a positive reply.
Also, on the socio-political crisis ongoing in the North West and South West Regions, we have recommended for the liberation of all Anglophone detainees especially those who have not appeared before the court since they were arrested but are in prison. For this reason, if Cameroon wants to portray that she is out to protect the rights of its citizens, then persons like Mancho Bibixy have to be released and stop the arrest of journalists and lawyers who defend human rights violations. The conduction of transparent elections has to be effective which will minimize the rigging of the election, reducing violence and threats during elections in Cameroon.
Pan African Visions: A new leadership and new members were recently appointed by President Biya to the National Human Rights Commission, what is your take on that, and do you think they can make a difference?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: Yes I think so.In the past years, we were working with the Commission headed by its former President Chemuta Banda and we did a lot of things, be it in the North West, Central Region and everywhere in Cameroon. We fought for the promotion and protection of Human Rights. On the contrary, since we did the last nomination and with his hatred, he disposes of daily it has nothing to do with human rights. It is feared that this Commission is only an empty vessel. How can you think that Mrs Elangue née Eva Etongue Mayer who has served more than seventeen years in the Commission and a defender of Human Rights was removed at a time when we needed a Commission like never before? For us, there has not been a consensus concerning the National Human Rights Commission today. At the moment, all those present at the Commission represent their head and shadow and so we have nothing to do with the Commission.
Pan African Visions: What do you make of accusations of bias and opposition sympathies that are often linked to groups like REDHAC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Work and others?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: All over the world, human rights commissions are usually accused and so there is no exception when it comes to Cameroon especially on those Commissions who do their work effectively. The truth is that they (government) deform and lie against such commissions meanwhile in other countries such a thing cannot happen. In Cameroon, they deform, lie and corrupt and when they get to a level that they cannot corrupt they go to the extent of levying threats. Human Rights organizations are only doing what we are expected to do and nothing else.
During the Ngarbuh massacre, the Minister of Territorial Administration Paul Atangi Nji held a press conference saying that Human rights Commissions had taken five million to destabilize the country which was not true to the point of sending us a warrant of arrest. This went far in tarnishing our image both nationally and internationally and to this day an investigation is still open. This was a strong allegation from such a personality who did not have strong evidence.
This is what I have been talking about in countries that do not practice democracy. Such countries are characterised by deformation and even those who count on human right commissions like REDHAC, Human Rights Watch. REDHAC’s office is in Cameroon and all that the government does is criticise and deform. But this is very different from other Human rights Commissions like Amnesty International that has its Headquarters in Senegal; you can never hear the government criticise to this extent, same as Human Rights Watch in the USA, posing a threat to other human rights organizations coming up. It is a dictatorial system and a system that does not respect human rights.
Pan African Visions: What next for you and REDHAC after this award, what are some of the projects that you have in mind going forward?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: What I can say never gives up despite the huge challenge we face in our country. We have to continue to work for peace and protect human rights. We are continuing without any stoppage in preaching and protecting the human rights commission, the implementation of a democratic state with no fear despite all the threats by implementing all the mechanisms to promote peace for all and protect human rights defenders. It should be noted that these are areas giving less concern and our small shoulders are ready for the fight.
Pan African Visions: We understand that you were in Congo during the recent Presidential election, could you share with us what you saw, were there free and fair from your perspective?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: The situation in Congo is our preoccupation now but yesterday we were told that some protesters were arrested, showing no difference with Cameroon. You will see that when Sassou Nguesou discovered that his mandate will soon end he amended the constitution, changing it into a referendum favouring him during the election which provided him with a new mandate. Can you imagine that we were in Congo and were denied accreditation to observe how the elections were conducted? This is very dissatisfactory as during the election we carried out some teaching on the protection of human rights.
We were going to look at those rights that were violated and not who won. This same scenario also happened to the Human Rights Commission in Congo. This is just to show you that when a Human Rights Commission works for the people it is very possible to have problems with the government. It will surprise you that the next day ghost town was declared making some voters walk long distances to vote, violating the right of circulation in and out of the country. Even we had to walk from up to 5km just to look for food to eat. When ghost towns are declared, how do you expect people to vote including handicaps?
It should be noted that before the ghost town was declared the forces of law and order had voted two days before and these same military forces already had voting stations, showing some level of fraud. On that same night, the internet was seized even to the 27 that we returned and the internet had still not been regularized. The only excuse given was that the person that was working on it died of COVID-19.
Again, we were told that some of our members were arrested but we are working on it though worried and the only thing we can do is hope for a calm situation considering that Congo had once had a civil war and also pray that the population remain calm because it is a provocation.
Pan African Visions: Thank you for granting this interview, any last word you wish to make?
Maximilienne Ngo Mbe: NEVER GIVE UP. I want to thank everyone that has supported REDHAC and my staff who has been there in our difficult moments and that we have passed through it. I want to thank the American State Department as it is an award that comes to protect REDHAC and myself. I want to assure all Human Rights Organizations, journalists and the African community to continue to strengthen the fight in protecting and promoting Human Rights, and maintaining peace.
(Translation was done with the help of Sonita Ngunyi)
Community-based militias responsible for violence in South Sudan – UNMISS Says
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – A new report by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has revealed that community-based militias were responsible for 78 percent of killings and injuries caused to civilians in the East African’s youngest nation.
Their activities include abductions and conflict-related sexual violence during attacks in some areas in South Sudan in 2020.
The Annual Brief on Violence Affecting Civilians released by the Human Rights Division of UNMISS documented the killing of 2,421 civilians in 2020 alone.
The Annual Brief on Violence Affecting Civilians, released by the Human Rights Division of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, documented the killing of 2,421 civilians in 2020.
This, the report said, is more than double the previous year when just over 1,500 people were injured, up from 866.
The UNMISS also disclosed that many of the victims of violence were killed or injured during a wave of attacks by armed community-based militias across Jonglei and the Pibor Administrative Area, as well as in Warrap and Lakes.
While the figures represent a significant increase in violence compared to 2019, the clashes were concentrated in just 13 percent of the country’s 540 payams (administrative areas) and largely involved community-based militias rather than conventional parties to the conflict.
The report states some groups were supported by local and national elites driven by political and economic interests in the restive country.
The report, published on Wednesday raises particular concern about a sharp spike in abductions by more than 300 percent.
Many of the victims were children stolen from their families during militia-led raids.
Men were also abducted by conventional parties for forced military recruitment and labour.
The report notes a 21 percent reduction in cases of conflict-related sexual violence documented in 2020.
The report, however said the level of violence also remains significantly lower than the period prior to the signing of the 2018 peace deal.
“The surge in subnational violence is deeply concerning and has had a devastating impact on the lives of communities already suffering huge economic deprivation due to flooding in areas like Jonglei,” said the Head of UNMISS, David Shearer.
Late last year, UNMISS deployed peacekeepers to the affected areas so they were in place ahead of the dry season when conflict traditionally erupts due to tensions between communities over scarce resources.
The UN Mission said it has deployed peacekeepers to where conflict traditionally erupts, ahead of the dry season, to help deter further attacks since late last year.
“We are also working closely with political and traditional leaders at the national and local level to promote reconciliation and facilitate peace talks as well as negotiating the release of abducted women and children,” said Shearer. “A peacebuilding trust fund is also being used to improve basic services to reduce the risk of fighting flaring up over access to resources.”
The communal – based violence was being blighted the political stability since the country’s independence to date.
The political steps and efforts to establish a peaceful and stable South Sudan, remain nightmare despite the 2018 peace deal.
API and African Energy Chamber Sign First MOU to Expand Natural Gas and Oil Industry Standards and Initiatives
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
The American Petroleum Institute (API) and the African Energy Chamber (AEC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on capacity building initiatives and standardization to enhance safety, environmental protection, and sustainability in African countries producing natural gas and oil.
“API is pleased to collaborate with the AEC to expand use of our world-class standards and programs to help enhance the safety, transparency and sustainability of natural gas and oil operations across the African continent,” API Segment Standards and Services Vice President Alexa Burr said. “This is our first partnership with an African based organization, and we look forward to supporting AEC’s efforts to drive industry-wide technical knowledge.”
The number of petroleum producing countries in Africa has increased substantially, coinciding with a movement across the continent to enact robust, equitable and imminently more transparent policies. This continent-wide pursuit to increase the technical capacity of local organizations is of paramount importance in these natural gas and oil economies. It will be vital for public and private representatives of African host economies to work with the international petroleum industry and help ensure the developmental needs of the local markets are met while maintaining policies that allow for oil sector investment in these economies and accelerating the adoption of industry practices that enhance safety and environmental protection.
The MOU will facilitate collaboration between API and AEC members in several areas, including:
- Development of training programs and seminars
- Coordination, collaboration and sharing of the natural gas and oil industry’s good practices for environmental, health, safety, security and sustainability
- Organization of joint forums, conferences, roundtables, workshops, about energy issues and the continued multifaceted uses of natural gas and in the world’s energy future
“Our association with API is a milestone for the work we do, and we are confident we will see American ingenuity – a key component of the partnership between African producing nations and IOCs – at its best,” US-Africa committee Chair of the AEC Jude Kearney said. “America has a tried, true and tested tradition of developing and deploying best-in-class standards, and industrial ingenuity to safely develop natural resources in America and around the globe. We also have a proud history of partnering with the earliest oil producing countries in Africa to create stable petroleum sectors and sustained economic contributions. Our goal is to work with the API to further support African nations and businesses to build technical capacity, harmonize standards and attract investment to help Africans monetize their resources and combat energy poverty while growing their economies while prioritizing safety and the environment.”
Given the economic and transformative potential which Africa’s natural gas and oil industry holds – including the focus on human capital growth, supply chain development and local and international partnerships for talent and infrastructure development – the AEC is determined to place this collaboration at the forefront of its mission.
API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than ten million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency, and sustainability.
Race On for $1.5 Million Jack Ma Foundation’s “Africa’s Business Heroes” prize competition
March 31, 2021 | 1 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
On Monday, March 29, 2021, Jack Ma Foundation launched the 3rd edition of Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition.
The initiative aims to identify, support, and inspire African entrepreneurs who are at the forefront to make a difference in their local community, working tirelessly to offer solutions to pressing issues building a sustainable and inclusive economy for future.
Entrepreneurs from entire Africa drawn from all sectors of the economy and demographics have until June 7 to submit their applications online.
“I hope everyone is ready for an amazing 2021 and I think as this year’s competition starts, it really needs resilience, determination and vision…” said Jason Pau, the Executive Director (International) at the Jack Ma Foundation, during an online event to present the 2021 prize, while insisting on the power of storytelling.
The applicants must be of African descent, founders/co-founders of the businesses, and their companies must be registered in Africa, have revenues, and have been in existence for at least three years.
“The application form consists of a few different sections; the first one is the eligibility check where an applicant confirms that he or she meets all the required criteria. We have a reference section where you choose a mentor, colleague, or partner who can tell who you are, your character, and your skills. Next is the founder profile, and in this section, we ask you to provide information on who you are as an individual and an entrepreneur, your motivations, and your achievements. Following this section is the business profile which is your opportunity to give our judges a basic understanding of your company.
“Once you are done providing us with the information on who you are as an entrepreneur and your general company, we asked that you deep dive and provide us with the key details about your business in the Business Deep Dive section. This is the opportunity to share impacts you are creating, why you are doing it and how you are doing it. We asked the question about your revenue model, financial history, competitiveness of your solution and your team,” said Zahra Baitie, the Head of Partnership and Programs at the Africa’s Business Heroes Prize Competition.
She continued, “Lastly, we have a video introduction section and this is a chance for you to bring some of your own characters, vision and passion to the application. You can bring your story to life and ensure you take a video of yourself, a team member and a customer. The video provides our judges with a chance to really understand you, your business and your team a bit better. “
According to Zahra, the judges will be looking for bold, resilient, and visionary entrepreneurs. They will also be looking for the significant problem in your community and the solution, market traction, financial sustainability, testimonials from references, and teamwork.
To increase their chances to submit a successful application, applicants should aim to finalise their entry as early as possible and also be consistent, clear, and concise in their narration. Consequently, it is important to provide proof points and evidence to back up answers, make them personal and authentic and carry out a thorough review before hitting the submit button.
Later this year, following multiple judging rounds, the ten finalists selected by the judges will compete in a finale pitch competition, which will be broadcast online across the continent, besides sharing the prize money of USD1.5 million.
The first two editions of ABH in 2019 and 2020 saw a strong female representation during the competition and up to the Grand Finale: 1st prize winner in 2019 was by Ms. Christelle Kwizera, Founder of Water Access (Rwanda), while last year a Kenyan, Ms. Chebet Lesan, Founder and CEO of BrightGreen Renewable Energy came first in the competition.
Applications are open online from March 29 to June 7,2021, with semi-finalists announced in August, and the top ten finalists for 2021 unveiled in September. For more information about the ABH and how to apply, please visit: africabusinessheroes.org and follow ABH on Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Facebook .
U.S. Country Report: Human Rights Abuse Rife in Cameroon
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour under the US State Department says there is widespread human rights abuse that is ongoing in the country. In their 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Cameroon was cited with a host of human rights abuses that were prevalent in the country 2020 and still being observed this year.
The report is streamlined into seven sections focusing on a host of aspects of human rights, labour conditions in the country. Section 1 – Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom; Section 2 – Respect for Civil Liberties; Section 3 – Freedom to Participate in the Political Process. Section 4-Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government. Section 5- Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Abuses of Human Rights; Section 6- Discrimination, Societal Abuses, and Trafficking in Persons; and Section 7 – Worker Rights.
Unlawful or arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings by security forces, armed Anglophone separatists, Boko Haram, and ISIS-West Africa; forced disappearances by security forces; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the government, and non-state armed groups were mentioned as some of the human rights issues in the country.
There are also harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; arbitrary arrests; political prisoners or detainees; politically motivated reprisal against individuals located outside the country; serious problems with the independence of the judiciary; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; serious restrictions on freedom of expression, the press, amongst others.
“The country held legislative elections on February 9, which were marked by irregularities,” according to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour. The ruling party won 152 of 180 National Assembly seats as major opposition parties boycotted the election citing the ongoing humanitarian “catastrophe” that is ongoing in the two English-speaking Regions of the country.
“President Paul Biya who has been in power since 1982 was last re-elected to another seven-year term in 2018 in an election marked by irregularities according to the state department. Although the government took steps to identify, investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses, it did not do so systematically and rarely made the proceedings public. Some offenders continued to act with impunity,” the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour noted in the report.
Arbitrary Arrests and Killings
There were numerous reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings through excessive use of force in the execution of their official duties. Most of the killings were associated with the armed conflict in the two Anglophone regions (see also section 1.g., Abuses in Internal Conflict). Additionally, many included unarmed civilians, not in conflict-afflicted areas, and others resulted from the use of excessive force on citizens by government agents, including members of the defense and security forces.
According to the Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa (CHRDA), on August 13, Cameroonian soldiers raided the village of Mautu in the Southwest Region and killed seven unarmed civilians. The victims, including an elderly man and a pregnant woman known as ‘Mami Blessing,’ were reportedly shot at close range in their homes. Before these killings, the military raided a church on the outskirts of Mautu and shot the church’s pastor. The soldiers executed two boys alongside the pastor and shot another as he tried to escape. The soldiers allegedly invaded the church because the worshipers sympathized with separatist ideology. The CHRDA reported that they were unaware of any ongoing investigation into the incident.
While the government repeatedly promised to investigate abuses committed by security forces, it did not do so transparently or systematically. Unlike in the previous year, however, some information was made available concerning the outcome of investigations into abuses committed by security forces as well as the status of some ongoing trials.
President Biya ordered an investigation into the February 14 killing by security forces of an estimated 23 civilians in the village of Ngarbuh, Northwest Region. On April 22, the president released a summary of the investigation’s findings, identifying a sergeant, a gendarme, and a soldier as responsible for the killing of 13 civilians during the incident.
As in the previous year, government security forces were believed to be responsible for enforced disappearances of suspected Anglophone separatists or their supporters. Multiple credible organizations documented the case of Samuel Abue Adjiekha (aka “Wazizi”), a news anchor for Buea-based independent radio station Chillen Muzik and Television Pidgin. Wazizi was detained on August 2, 2019, and pronounced dead on June 5. Wazizi was accused of having connections with armed Anglophone separatists. He was transferred to a military-run facility in Buea on August 7, 2019, and never appeared in court, despite several scheduled hearings. In a June 5 press release, the Defense Ministry asserted Wazizi died of severe sepsis on August 17, 2019 (see also section 1.c.). On June 5, the French ambassador to Cameroon told the press at the end of an audience with President Biya that the president had promised to order an investigation into Wazizi’s death. As of mid-December, there were no developments reported on the investigation.
Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented several cases in which security forces severely mistreated political opponents and others in which armed separatists mistreated civilians and members of defence forces. Public officials, or persons acting at their behest, reportedly carried out acts that resulted in severe physical, mental, and emotional trauma.
On July 7, according to CHRDA, 39-year-old Ben Uze was tortured and maimed by the military in Wum, Northwest Region. He reportedly sold 10 litres of palm wine and pineapples to soldiers, who took the items but refused to pay. An eyewitness reportedly told CHRDA that the victim reported the matter to the army commander, who accused him of associating with separatists. As a result, when Uze refused to pay the soldiers he encountered, they severely beat him, causing severe damage to his eye and groin area. Uze reportedly died of his injuries in a hospital.
Human Rights Watch reported that on May 30, separatists kidnapped and tortured a humanitarian worker in Bali, Northwest Region, accusing him of collaborating with security forces. They released him the following day, and he spent several days in a Bamenda hospital for treatment of the injuries sustained during his detention. The victim told Human Rights Watch that he was blindfolded and taken to a separatist camp on a motorbike. He was later taken to a second location, tied to a tree with a rope, and beaten and kicked before he was released.
Arbitrary Arrest or Detention
Police, gendarmes, the BIR, and other government authorities reportedly continued to arrest and detain persons arbitrarily, often holding them for prolonged periods without charge or trial and at times incommunicado. “Friday arrests,” a practice whereby individuals arrested on a Friday typically remained in detention until at least Monday unless they paid a bribe, continued, although on a limited scale.
On May 11, six volunteers from “Survival Cameroon,” a fundraising initiative launched by opposition leader Maurice Kamto to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, were arrested while handing out free personal protective equipment in Yaounde. They were placed in custody at the Yaounde II police district without judicial authorization. The volunteers were released on bail after several days of detention.
According to Cameroon People’s Party (CPP) president Edith Kah Walla, on September 19, members of security forces abducted at least five members of the NGO consortium Stand Up for Cameroon. The arrest occurred after the members left a “Friday in Black” meeting held at the CPP headquarters in Douala. The abductees, including Moussa Bello, Etienne Ntsama, Mira Angoung, and Tehle Membou, were reportedly subjected to brutality and interrogated without legal counsel.
The government and employers do not effectively enforce the applicable laws on freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. Penalties for violations were rarely enforced and were not commensurate with those for comparable violations. Administrative judicial procedures were infrequent and subject to lengthy delays and appeals.
Anecdotal reports suggested that in the South and East Regions, some Baka, including children, continued to be subjected to unfair labour practices by Bantu farmers, who hired the Baka at exploitative wages to work on their farms during the harvest seasons.
Discrimination in employment and occupation allegedly occurred concerning ethnicity, HIV status, disability, gender, and sexual orientation, especially in the private sector. There were legal restrictions on women’s employment in occupations deemed arduous or “morally inappropriate” and in industries including mining, construction, factories, and energy. Members of ethnic groups often gave preferential treatment to other members of their group in the business. Persons with disabilities reportedly found it difficult to secure and access employment. There were no reliable reports of discrimination against internal migrant or foreign migrant workers, although anecdotal reports suggested such workers were vulnerable to unfair working conditions. The government took no action to eliminate or prevent discrimination and kept no records of incidents of discrimination.
Kenya’s opposition Chief recovers from Covid-19
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga has tested negative for the coronavirus.
His Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party made this revelation through a statement posted on Twitter.
“We are happy our Party Leader Raila Odinga tested negative and is out of danger of Covid-19. We thank God for that. God bless him, God bless Kenya,” said the statement duly signed by the party’s Director of Communication Philip Etale.
Raila was admitted to Nairobi Hospital on March 10 after a five-day tour of the coast region to popularize the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI). Later, he revealed he tested positive for the deadly disease and proceeded to self-isolation in his Nairobi home.
The statement was followed by a meeting that brought together the opposition leader and the ODM top leadership comprising of John Mbadi (ODM chairman), June Mohammed (National Assembly Minority Whip), Edwin Sifuna (Secretary-General), Timothy Bosire (Treasurer), and Gladys Wanga (member of the top leadership of ODM).
They deliberated on the recent developments in the East Africa nation, the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination, and the country’s economy.
In the meeting, Raila reaffirms his commitment to handshake, dispelling speculations that he and his foe turn friend President Uhuru Kenyatta are not reading from the same script.
“We agreed the BBI must be subjected to a referendum because it entails a fundamental reorganization of the architecture of the Executive and Kenyans need to have a say in the reorganization. The party therefore fully supports a referendum on the document,” reads an excerpt from the AU envoy’s statement.
KIGALI INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CENTRE REVEALS AN EXCITING NEW VISION ON PATH TO BECOMING A PREFERRED FINANCIAL CENTRE IN AFRICA
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
Kigali, Rwanda – 31.03.2021 – Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL) unveiled today the new brand for the Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC).
The Kigali International Financial Centre is poised to become one of the leading international financial centres on the continent, and has developed a comprehensive legal and regulatory framework, robust infrastructure, and a skilled and dynamic workforce that will help investors develop their interests across Africa. Rwanda Finance is the agency mandated to promote the Centre.
Nick Barigye, CEO of Rwanda Finance, noted: “our brand launch today brings bold ambitions to life and signals an important step in the journey of Kigali International Financial Centre. We want KIFC to be a new destination for pan-African investment. We want to be the jurisdiction of choice for consolidating capital efficiently and deploying it effectively across the continent. We want to connect international investors with opportunities across Africa, we want to connect African entrepreneurs with global capital, we want to connect the people of Rwanda with the world”.
A brand is a promise, and this launch marks a pivotal moment in KIFC’s journey. The new brand intends to represent KIFC to the world, highlighting its authentic identity and strengthening its image regionally and internationally. It reflects the values of the people of Rwanda: a culture of integrity and innovation, an economy that drives development and inclusion, and infrastructure that unleashes creativity. It also underpins KIFC’s mission to connect investors and entrepreneurs with opportunities across Africa and beyond.
KIFC has already attracted a number of high profile companies, investors and service providers and is already a member of the World Alliance of International Financial Centres (WAIFC), as well as an Associate Centre in the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI). KIFC has also welcomed a new Board of Directors with extensive global expertise in both the public and private spheres, including the recently appointed Chair, Tidjane Thiam, Executive Chairman of Freedom Acquisition I Corp and African Union Special Envoy for Covid 19. The new brand reflects the vision of KIFC which is to build a bright future for Rwanda and for Africa, by creating jobs, education and professional opportunities for the Rwandan people and by transforming the investment landscape across the continent.
About Kigali International Financial Centre (KIFC)
Kigali International Financial Centre facilitates international investments and cross border transactions in Africa. KIFC seeks to position Rwanda as a preferred financial jurisdiction for investments into Africa and creating alternatives for mobilising capital thus reducing over-reliance on traditional avenues. It will facilitate pan-African investment by providing an attractive destination for international investors with a legal and regulatory framework fully compliant with international best practices.
About Rwanda Finance Limited (RFL)
Rwanda Finance Limited is a private company mandated to promote and develop Rwanda as a leading destination for international investment and cross-border transactions in Africa. RFL works with key stakeholders to develop and promote the Kigali International Financial Centre through investment promotion, policy advocacy and sector upskilling. It works to establish a regulatory framework for KIFC to become a leading international financial centre.
Ntaganda Case: International Criminal Court(ICC) Appeals Chamber confirms conviction and sentencing decisions
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
|The Appeals Chamber unanimously confirmed the Trial Chamber’s decision of 7 November 2019, by which Mr Ntaganda was sentenced to a total of 30 years of imprisonment|
THE HAGUE, Netherlands, March 31, 2021/ — On 30 March 2021, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “Court”) delivered its judgments confirming, by majority, the decision of Trial Chamber VI (“Trial Chamber”) of 8 July 2019, which found Bosco Ntaganda guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Ituri, Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 2002-2003. Furthermore, the Appeals Chamber unanimously confirmed the Trial Chamber’s decision of 7 November 2019 , by which Mr Ntaganda was sentenced to a total of 30 years of imprisonment. The conviction and the sentence are now final.
Mr Ntaganda and the Prosecutor had appealed the verdict and Mr Ntaganda appealed the sentencing judgment . In today’s hearing, Judge Howard Morrison, Presiding Judge in these appeals, read a summary of the judgments in open court in the presence of Mr Ntaganda. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions the judgment was delivered on a partially virtual basis, with participation either from the seat of the Court, or from separate locations outside the Court.
The Appeals Chamber found that Mr Ntaganda did not demonstrate that his right to a fair trial was violated and also determined that, in convicting Mr Ntaganda, the Trial Chamber did not exceed the facts and circumstances described in the charges. The Appeals Chamber also rejected his challenge to the Trial Chamber’s finding that the crimes for which he was found to be criminally responsible were part of an attack directed against a civilian population pursuant to, or in furtherance of, an organisational policy. It further rejected Mr Ntaganda’s challenge to the Trial Chamber’s findings on indirect co-perpetration. The Appeals Chamber also found that the Trial Chamber provided a reasonable assessment of the evidence regarding Mr Ntaganda’s knowledge and intent of the crimes of rape and sexual enslavement of individuals under the age of 15, the recruitment, conscription and use of individuals under the age of 15 in hostilities and in relation to the remaining crimes. The Appeals Chamber also rejected the Prosecutor’s grounds of appeal on the interpretation of the term ‘attack’ in article 8(2)(e)(iv) of the Rome Statute.
In relation to the appeal against the sentence imposed, the Appeals Chamber rejected Mr Ntaganda’s challenge to the Trial Chamber’s assessment of his degree of participation in and knowledge of the crimes, including the crime of sexual enslavement and rape of civilians. Likewise, Mr Ntaganda’s challenges to the Trial Chamber’s assessment of alleged aggravating circumstances (related to the crime of intentionally directing attacks against civilians) and mitigating circumstances (including the suffering and discrimination that he had endured as a result of his experience in the Rwandan genocide) were also rejected. Notably, with regard to the latter, the Appeals Chamber found that Mr Ntaganda’s personal experience in the Rwandan genocide could not diminish his culpability given his criminal conduct and the gravity of the crimes for which he was convicted.
The Appeals Chamber in these appeals was composed of Presiding Judge Howard Morrison, Judge Piotr Hofmański, Judge Luz del Carmen Ibáñez Carranza, Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa and Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji. Separate opinions were appended to the Appeals Chamber’s Judgments. In their opinions, Judges Hofmański, Morrison, Eboe-Osuji and Bossa discuss the meaning of ‘attack’ in article 8(2)(e)(iv) of the Statute. In his opinion, Judge Morrison discusses indirect co-perpetration. In her opinion, Judge Ibáñez discusses the contextual elements of crimes against humanity, in particular, the requirement of a State or organisational policy to commit a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population, and indirect co-perpetration as a mode of liability enshrined in article 25(3)(a) of the Statute. Finally, in his opinion, Judge Eboe-Osuji discusses the use of prior recorded statements, indirect co-perpetration and the legal interpretation of a State or organisational policy to commit an attack directed against any civilian population.
Background: The trial of Mr Ntaganda opened on 2 September 2015. On 8 July 2019, ICC Trial Chamber VI found Bosco Ntaganda guilty of 18 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed in Ituri, DRC, in 2002-2003 namely the following crimes against humanity: murder and attempted murder, rape, sexual slavery, persecution, forcible transfer and deportation ; and the following war crimes: murder and attempted murder, intentionally directing attacks against civilians, rape, sexual slavery, ordering the displacement of the civilian population, conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15 years into an armed group and using them to participate actively in hostilities, intentionally directing attacks against protected objects, and destroying the adversary’s property. On 7 November 2019, he was sentenced to a total of 30 years of imprisonment. On 8 March 2021, Trial Chamber VI delivered its Order on Reparations to victims against Mr Ntaganda, to be made through the Trust Fund for Victims.
Amid Recession, Sub-Saharan Africa Poised for Recovery
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
|Digital Technologies Key to Driving Future of Work|
WASHINGTON, March 31, 2021—Economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to have contracted by 2.0% in 2020, closer to the lower bound of the forecast in April 2020, and prospects for recovery are strengthening amid actions to contain new waves of the pandemic and speed up vaccine rollouts, according to the World Bank’s biannual economic analysis for the region.
The latest Africa’s Pulse, The Future of Work in Africa: Emerging Trends in Digital Technology Adoption, notes that a slower spread of the virus and lower COVID-19-related mortality, strong agricultural growth and a faster-than expected recovery in commodity prices has helped many African economies weather the economic storm induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The report notes that economic recovery hinges on countries deepening reforms that create jobs, encourage investment, and enhance competitiveness. The resurgence of the pandemic in late 2020 and limited additional fiscal support will pose an uphill battle for policy makers as they continue to work toward stronger growth and improved livelihoods for their people.
“African countries have made tremendous investments over the last year to keep their economies afloat and protect the lives and livelihoods of their people,” said Albert G. Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa. “Ambitious reforms that support job creation, strengthen equitable growth, protect the vulnerable and contribute to environmental sustainability will be key to bolstering those efforts going forward toward a stronger recovery across the African continent.”
Growth in the region is forecast to rise between 2.3 and 3.4% in 2021, depending on the policies adopted by countries and the international community. A second wave of COVID-19 infections is partly dragging down the 2021 growth projections, with daily infections about 40% higher than during the first wave. While some countries had a significant drop in COVID-19 infections due to containment measures adopted by the government, other countries are facing an upward trend in infections. Real GDP growth for 2022 is estimated at 3.1%. For most countries in the region, activity will remain well below the pre-COVID-19 projections at the end of 2021, increasing the risk of long-lasting damage from the pandemic on people’s living standards.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s recovery is expected to vary across countries. Non-resource-intensive countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya, and mining-dependent economies, such as Botswana and Guinea, are expected to see robust growth in 2021, driven by a rebound in private consumption and investment as confidence strengthens and exports increase.
In the Eastern and Southern Africa subregion, the growth contraction for 2020 is estimated at -3.0%, mostly driven by South Africa and Angola, the subregion’s largest economies. Excluding Angola and South Africa, economic activity in the subregion is projected to expand by 2.6% in 2021, and 4.0% in 2022,
Growth in the Western and Central Africa subregion contracted by 1.1% in 2020, less than projected in October 2020 partly due to a less severe contraction in Nigeria, the subregion’s largest economy, in the second half of the year. Real gross domestic product in the Western and Central Africa subregion is projected to grow 2.1% in 2021 and 3.0% in 2022.
The Pulse also notes that African countries can speed up their recovery by ramping up their existing efforts to support the economy and people in the near term, especially women, youth and other vulnerable groups. Africa’s Pulse recommends those policies be complemented by reforms that fosters the country’s inclusive productivity growth and competitiveness. Reducing countries’ debt burdens will release resources for public investment, in areas such as education, health, and infrastructure. Investments in human capital will help lower the risk of long-lasting damage from the pandemic which may become apparent over the longer term, and can enhance competitiveness and productivity. The next twelve months will be a critical period for leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to deepen African countries’ integration into regional and global value chains. The report also notes that reforms that address digital infrastructure gaps and make the digital economy more inclusive–ensuring affordability but also building skills for all segments of society- are essential to improve connectivity, boost digital technology adoption, and generate more and better jobs for men and women.
World Bank Group COVID-19 Response
The World Bank, one of the largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries, is taking broad, fast action to help developing countries respond to the health, social and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes $12 billion to help low- and middle-income countries purchase and distribute COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and
U.S. Institute of Peace and Sudan Forge Partnership for Peace
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) President and CEO Lise Grande and Sudanese Ambassador to the United States H.E. Nureldin Satti signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday pledging to support Sudan’s historic transition.
“Sudanese peacebuilders are an inspiration to the world,” said Grande. “They have advanced peace, justice and freedom under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable.”
USIP has been working in Sudan for more than 30 years helping Sudanese peacebuilders who promote nonviolent action, justice and security.
As part of its new engagement, USIP will expand and accelerate its efforts to promote citizen engagement, facilitate women’s leadership and deepen dialogue on national security policies. In the months ahead, USIP will work closely with public institutions, civil society, the private sector, experts and practitioners to establish and strengthen genuine partnerships and, through these, to inform U.S. policies.
“Sudan’s Transitional Government is ready to build on its recent progress on peace and reform together with USIP. We value this partnership and look forward to sustained engagement,” said Satti.
“All of us have a responsibility to support and stand in solidarity with Sudan at this historic time,” said Grande. “We are proud to be part of this and are fully committed to doing everything we can to help make peace sustainable in Sudan.”
Rwanda:Rural women farmers get smartphones to improve agriculture-related information sharing
March 31, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti
Rural women leading farmers’ cooperatives in four districts on Tuesday received smartphones to help them access agriculture-related information and share them with farmers.
Under the initiative dubbed “ConnectRwanda” the Ministry of ICT and Innovation started the smartphone distribution to the majority of Rwandans in 2019.
A total of 3,000 rural women received the smartphones in four districts namely Nyamagabe in Southern province, Kirehe in Eastern Province and Nyamasheke in Western Province.
According to officials, the initiative seeks to connect the unconnected households to bridge the existing digital gaps.
Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation reiterated that agriculture being the backbone of Rwanda’s economy, women are great contributors to the growth of this sector.
“Access to finance and smartphones is very critical for development, especially in such times where digital divides have been exacerbated. As we conclude the women’s celebration month, we are thrilled to support women in agribusiness with Made in Rwanda Smartphones,” said minister Ingabire.
“In order to reach more development, women in agriculture should be placed at the centre of this transformation,” she added.
She noted that women constitute more than 60 per cent of the Rwandan agricultural workforce.
Gerardine Mukeshimana, the Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources, said that cooperative members would be able to access and share information easily hence improve their agricultural activities.
Under the ConnectRwanda initiative, private companies, government institutions and individuals work together to ensure that all Rwandans are connected.
Currently, Rwanda has a plant manufacturing smartphones under “Mara Phone” brand name.
Thousands of Rwandans have so far benefited from the initiative to acquire smartphones to boost digital drive in the country.
Women who received the smartphones have welcomed the initiative saying that as women cooperative leaders, they will be able to communicate with other women in the agriculture domain through timely and adequate information sharing.
South Sudan :Furor and Protests engulf Juba over Musician’s death
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Deng Machol
Juba – South Sudan Police has arrested youth activists following protests that begun Tuesday morning over the death of singer Trisha Cee and a boda-boda rider on Monday in capital Juba.
A gruesome accident occurred in which a water tank driver recklessly ran over innocent boss – boda rider who died instantly, while Anataban member, renowned female artist Trisha Cee died from injuries later at a hospital.
She was first taken to Juba Teaching Hospital before being rushed to a private clinic to try and save her life.
At the country’s hospital, however, it took over three (3) hours to give blood despite the blood donors being adequately and timely present.
It’s also worth noting that the blood bank was found closed when its services were needed the most.
Negligence, recklessness, and poor health system and services continue to be one of the leading causes of avoidable deaths countrywide, according to the observers.
The family, colleagues and fans blamed her death partly on the slow services being offered at the country’s main referral hospital.
Tuesday’s morning, group of musicians, activists, mourners and youth gathered at Mobil roundabout in Juba to demand answers on how the government is going to fix the health sector, especially at the Juba Teaching hospital, to halt horrible death from road accidents
They carried placards that read: “Do not kill us”, “Juba Teaching Hospital is killing us,” among others.
Police, however, intervened by first persuading the protestors to disperse. But the protestors stood their ground.
The police then started making individual arrests by picking on those they believe to be the ring leaders.
Over five peaceful protesters have been reportedly arrested/detained as of this afternoon.
The protesters said they will share their names later if they are not released today.
Among those taken to the police station are Jame Kolok, executive director of the Foundation for Democracy and Accountable Governance; Wani Michael, executive director of OKAY Africa, and Manasseh Mathiang, a youth activist.
Both Jame and Wani have written on their Facebook accounts, confirming their arrests.
Police at the scene has been telling the protesters to seek permission from the police, and not to block road that they said is causing traffic jam.
Meanwhile, a civil society has called on the authorities to immediately release those arrested during “peaceful protests”.
Anataban and the country’s youth are deeply concerned over the poor management of national institutions clearly expressed by The National Hospital’s handling of the issue and the subsequent increase of ongoing silencing and dehumanization of youth peaceful and nation-building ideas.
John, a protester has appealed to the country’s police chief to free those activists.
The activists stated that the arrest amounts to curtailing the right to freedom of expression of the citizens.
According to activists, the demonstration is prompted by lack of actions by the leaders to address concerns of the common citizens such as that which led to the death of the renowned artist.
The analyst says the citizens are just now tired – fed-up of the weak system and corruption by individuals in the police.
Anataban – human rights group demands immediate release of the youth activists arrested
“Anataban and the youth of South Sudan are deeply concerned over the poor management of national institutions clearly expressed by thehe national hospital’s handling of the issue and the subsequent increase of ongoing silencing and dehumanization of youth peaceful and nation-building ideas,” said in the press release.
The Anataban called upon Police and the Judiciary to follow up the case and ensure justice for the lost lives; while urging the President to immediately create an independent National Hospitals Management Authority to look into the National hospital management deficiencies.
Right defenders further suggested that the police consider establishing functional police units within the main hospitals to ensure timely provision and emergency services delivery.
Anataban commended the police should monitor license issuance to all drivers, introducing speed limits of not more than 40km/h within the city, Clear marking and provisions of zebra signs, and crossing on the roads.
The statement further call upon the responsible personnel and institutions to act on our below demands;
They urged traffic Licensing office; to consider revising license issuance to drivers in general especially truck drivers, and make it a prerequisite to only give licenses to qualified and experienced drivers,” said in part of the statement.
It added the police and all security agents; to adhere to the constitution and respect freedom of expression, rights to assembly, and peaceful demonstration.
South Sudan, oil – rich country gained her independence, still have used a poor health system, featured with corruption and dictatorship rule.
Emirates Vaccination Programme Scores Remarkable Success in the Air-Line Industry
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
Dubai, UAE, 29 March 2021 – Emirates is showcasing the UAE’s remarkable progress in its vaccination programme with a special flight that will carry only fully vaccinated crew and passengers on board.
On 10 April 2021, special flight EK2021 will depart Dubai International Airport at 12:00hrs local time, to cruise over various areas across the UAE. The flight will return to Dubai at 14:30hrs local time.
The one-off flight EK2021 is a unique event that not only celebrates the success of the UAE’s vaccination programme to date, but also highlights Emirates’ progress in vaccinating its staff and in particular its pilots and cabin crew. Aviation has been and continues to be an irreplaceable force for good, connecting people and cities, facilitating important trade flows and passenger journeys that bring economic prosperity and joy to millions of people.
Passengers will have the opportunity to experience Emirates’ newest A380 aircraft which features the airline’s brand-new Premium Economy seats, and refreshed cabin interiors across all cabin classes.
The Emirates A380 remains a customer favourite for its unmatched comfort and spaciousness. From the award-winning ice inflight entertainment experience, to the iconic A380 On board Lounge service for Business and First Class passengers, from a full-course gourmet meal in all classes to the friendly Emirates cabin crew, flyers can expect the full Emirates experience on board this special flight.
Passengers travelling on EK2021 will be able to experience all of Dubai International Airport’s services and amenities on the ground before boarding.
In addition, customers can also try out first-hand, all the latest measures to help travellers enjoy a safe and smooth journey, including the new biometric and contactless technology which Emirates has recently implemented at the check-in areas and boarding gates at Dubai airport.
This month, Airbus has launched a travel companion app called “Tripset”. The application aggregates and provides flight and travel information to ease and restore passenger’s trust in their end-to-end journey when traveling by air during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tripset allows for passengers to be informed with the latest and most relevant travel conditions, restrictions and health requirements in place, without having to consult a variety of sources.
The UAE is one of world’s leading countries in administered vaccinations for citizens and residents, and has made four COVID-19 vaccines available for free to everyone. To date, over 8 million vaccine shots have been administered in the UAE, protecting over half of the UAE’s population.
The Emirates Group has supported the national vaccination programme by making COVID-19 vaccines readily available to its UAE-based workforce at multiple locations within the company’s premises.
To date, over 35,000 Emirates employees have received their COVID-19 vaccine shot from one of the company’s vaccination centres, with over 85% of the airline’s pilots and cabin crew already receiving two doses of the vaccine.
Zambian Breweries and LWSC’s Social Corporate Responsibility Benefits 40,000 House-Holds and Industries .
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Zambian Breweries (ZB) and Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company (LWSC) have constructed an industrial borehole to provide clean water to 40,000 households and industries in and around Lusaka’s George Compound.
The ZB-funded project – build at a cost of US$150,000 – was initiated as part of the entity’s cholera and COVID-19 response strategy which seeks to improve access to clean water and sanitation in low-income areas.
The infrastructure consists of an industrial borehole and a 3.4 km pipeline producing about 20 litres of water per second.
“Sustainable access to clean water is essential to building healthy communities and thriving businesses,” said Zambian Breweries Corporate Affairs Director Ezekiel Sekele.
“However, this vital commodity is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the country – particularly low-income areas like George compound.”
Mr Sekele noted that there was evidence to show that population growth and urbanisation were putting considerable pressure on existing water infrastructure resulting in sporadic supply to residential units as demand soared.
“On top of this, disruptions to the natural water cycle driven by the effects of climate change threaten to push the already strained system over the edge which could prove especially dangerous amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the constant threat of waterborne diseases,” he added.
“It is for this reason that Zambian Breweries decided to make water conservation a key pillar of our business strategy. As the country’s largest brewer, we believe we have a responsibility to promote industry-led water stewardship efforts across the country.
We are proud to be one of the country’s leading private sector firms helping communities have access to clean water.”
Over the years, Zambian Breweries has launched several community-based water projects including the Itawa springs initiative, Bauleni water project and the George Compound Community and Industrial Water Project.
In 2019, the company also donated K439,000 (US$28,500) towards the Lusaka Water Security Initiative (LuWSI).
“Our water stewardship efforts are aimed at not only improving water efficiency in our plants but also advancing water restoration efforts in all our areas of operation,” said Mr Sekele
“We have set aggressive targets to protect water resources in our facilities, especially in high-risk watersheds, and throughout our agricultural supply chain. As part of the AB InBev group, our goal is to see our communities in high-stress areas like George Compound have measurably improved water availability and quality by 2025.”
Meanwhile, Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection Mr Raphael Nakachinda commended the brewery for the water project and the benefits it will yield to members of the community.
“I wish to reiterate that it is universally acknowledged that water is life and sanitation is health, but I can add it is also about dignity. Therefore, this project is very important to the survival and viability of the people of George compound and surrounding areas,” he said.
On March 22, Zambia joins the rest of the world in commemorating ‘World Water Day’ under the theme ‘Valuing Water.’
Hunger in urban Zimbabwe peaks as the ripple effect of Covid-19 is felt across the nation, according recent report
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Hunger in Zimbabwe’s urban areas has increased over the past year with 2.4 million people now struggling to meet their basic food needs, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report coordinated by the Food and Nutrition Council.
It is reported that the lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 have dealt a severe blow to poor urban communities, many of whom were daily wage earners living hand to mouth.
While unable to find work in cities, the ban on travel has meant that seasonal employment in rural areas is no longer an option. With work opportunities disappearing, the recent report states that 42% of urban households will not be able to meet their cereal requirements this year compared to approximately 30% for the same period in 2019.
The World Food Programme (WFP) Representative and Country Director Francesca Erdelmann said “Reduced access to nutritious food has resulted in negative impacts for many. Families will find it difficult to put food on the table, most of them have been stuck at home and were not able to go to work, the fortunate ones will skip meals while those without will have to go to bed with an empty stomachs. For the most vulnerable people, hunger will have a lasting effect on their lives. The deteriorating hunger situation, caused by COVID19 threatens to be their biggest challenge,”
There has been a sharp decline in the standard of living across poor urban communities in Zimbabwe with 83% of urban households now below the cost of the minimum expected food items such as mealie meal, salt and cooking oil compared to 76.8% in 2019.
One of the challenges faced by the urban households were sharp price increases of basic commodities while the purchasing power of the Zimbabwe dollar has been eroded by inflation and negative economic effects of COVID-19. WFP’s urban assistance programme delivers monthly cash transfers to 326,000 Zimbabweans across 23 urban areas and depending on availability of resources aims to scale up to reach 550,000 people living in the 28 worst affected and food insecure urban areas in the country.
Households are cash through electronic transfers and vouchers that enable them to buy food items from selected retailers. Alongside the cash assistance, WFP is also implementing resilience building activities that support long-term development so that vulnerable communities are better able to withstand shocks. These include supporting urban agriculture such as mushroom and vegetable farming, building market linkages between rural-urban food value chains, setting up savings and lending groups and entrepreneurship training to support the establishment of small businesses. WFP is working closely with the Government of Zimbabwe, UN agencies and NGO partners to implement the Urban Social Assistance and Resilience Building Programme and engaging with them on the development of longer-term shock-responsive social protection programme in urban areas. WFP is able to deliver its Urban Social Assistance programme thanks to support from the UK, USA, ECHO, UN CERF, Switzerland, Canada, and Japan.
Ethiopian Airlines to try IATA travel pass, a digital travel mobile app to enhance efficiency in testing or vaccine verifications
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Ethiopian Airlines Africa’s leading airline is to try IATA Travel Pass, a digital travel mobile app to enhance efficiency in testing or vaccine verifications and restart travel.
It is reported that as travel restarts, travelers need accurate Covid-19-related information like testing and vaccine requirements which vary among countries.
The IATA Travel Pass initiative is reported to help verify the authenticity of test information presented by travelers which is essential for ensuring the safety of passengers while complying with entry requirements of countries.
It is said that in future it will also manage vaccine certificates for travel.
Ethiopian has gone digital in all of its operations to avoid physical contact and combat the spread of the pandemic and now we embark on this initiative which will allow our passengers to relish unparalleled flight experience.
Regarding the trial of the IATA travel pass, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines said “Digital technology is vital to solve many of the problems that arise from the pandemic. We are glad that we are offering new digital opportunities to our passengers so as to fully and safely restart air travel. Our customers will enjoy efficient, contactless and safer travel experience with their travel pass digital passport. As a safety first airline, we are going to be among the first to implement IATA’s travel pass initiative to facilitate travel. The new initiative will increase travelers’ confidence in travel, encourages governments to reopen their borders and expedites industry restart. “
The Travel Pass will help create a digital passport, receive test and vaccination certificates and verify that they are sufficient for their route, and share testing or vaccination certificates with airlines and authorities to facilitate travel. The digital travel app will also avoid fraudulent documentation and make air travel more convenient.
Alexandre de Juniac, IATA Director General and CEO said, “Ethiopian Airlines is helping to lay the foundation for a re-connected world in which health credentials—COVID-19 test results to vaccination certificates—will play a role. IATA Travel Pass securely enables travelers to control verified health credential data while sharing it with airlines and authorities as may be required in the travel process. That’s going to be vitally important when governments are able to re-open borders for travel. As an IATA Travel Pass trial partner, Ethiopian Airline customers will be among the first to experience its benefits.”
Malawi breaks 11 year jinx to qualify for Afcon
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
By James Mwala.
The streets of Malawi were all filled last night, as empty as the Kamuzu Stadium was however in Blantyre, where the national football team broke an 11 year jinx to make it for the finals for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The team faced Uganda, with the hosts needed a win while the visitors only sought a point to join Burkina Faso as qualifying sides from Group B.
The Ugandan cranes headed into this match, at the back of a barren draw against Burkina Faso while the Flames added a lifeline to the campaign following a 1 nil win over South Sudan, a bottom logged side in the group.
In the first leg, Uganda beat Malawi 2 nil, and that was the leverage held aside from sitting over 30 places above Malawi on Fifa rankings.
In the 15th minutes, South African based Richard Mbulu towered higher to beat Denis Onyango with a thumping header for the Flames to lead until halftime and eventually after fulltime.
Flames Coach Meke Mwase had to recall some veterans, Limbikani Mzava and Gerard Phiri Jnr, both playing in South Africa while lethal forward Gabadihno Mhango was not in the squad having accumulated two back to back yellow cards.
The visibly clear efforts by Onyango, and Emmanuel Okwi failed to cancel out the Malawi goal, with the posts to the rescue twice in similar fashion for the home side.
The writing was on the wall for the Flames who last headed for the continental showpiece in 2010 and have now made just a third cut for the tournament in history.
Eventual group winners, Burkina Faso finished with 12 points following a 1 nil win over South Sudan who finished bottom with just three points.
Malawi came second with 10 points while Uganda finished with 8 points.
Curacel secures $450,000 pre-seed funding to drive insurance inclusion in Africa
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
The new funding will accelerate product development and expansion across the continent.
Lagos, Nigeria, 30th March 2021– Curacel, an AI-powered platform for claims processing and fraud management in Africa, has raised $450,000 pre-seed funding in a round that was led by Atlantica Ventures and Consonance with participation from Kepple Ventures and other African angel investors. The new investment will be used to accelerate Curacel’s expansion across Africa and facilitate the goal of becoming Africa’s premier provider of embedded finance technology for insurance.
The insurtech startup already works with some of the biggest insurers on the continent, including AXA Mansard, Liberty Health and Old Mutual, as well as more than 800 hospitals in Nigeria, Ghana, and Uganda. It plans to expand into 10 new African countries by the end of 2021.
Every year, African insurers lose more than $12 billion to fraudulent, wasteful, and abusive claims. Curacel’s flagship CLAIMS platform acts as a bridge between primary care hospitals and Africa’s insurance companies, using advanced artificial intelligence to ensure that insurance companies only pay claims for the correct treatment, appropriate medications and recommended patient therapies.
Curacel is also scheduled to launch Curacel Capital, a cash advance product that makes it easier for healthcare providers to access working capital to mitigate financial challenges. Delayed payments and other inefficiencies in the payment process means many African healthcare providers often have to make the difficult choice between keeping the books balanced or providing healthcare at a loss. With Curacel Capital, healthcare providers can access lump sums of up to three times their average monthly billings, based on claims processed on the Curacel portal, ensuring that they can continue to deliver essential services without undue disruption.
With insurance penetration at just 2.8% across the continent, many Africans are one accident or health emergency away from poverty. And in Africa’s communal societies, tragedy impacts entire communities, with people emptying their savings to pay for medical expenses, burials or other disaster relief for family members and kin. By leveraging Curacel’s products and services, insurers across the continent are better equipped to close the insurance gap and safeguard prosperity.
According to Curacel Co-founder and CEO, Henry Mascot, “we are excited to have these investors on board and we are looking forward to partnering with them to drive our vision of improving insurance inclusion across Africa. At Curacel, we are uniquely positioned to safeguard livelihoods and increase the quality of life through our unique, market-leading products and services”.
IK Kanu, Partner at Atlantica Ventures noted that, “the African insurance market represents a significant growth opportunity and we are delighted to be partnering with Curacel to drive growth in this sector. There is an opportunity to create an entirely new market of products and services here and we look forward to supporting the team to improve health outcomes across the continent.”
“We believe the Curacel team has what it takes to be market leaders and we are excited to support them. They have a great product and we are delighted to be coming onboard at this early stage, ” Mobolaji Adeoye, Managing Partner at Consonance added.
– ENDS –
Curacel is an insurtech infrastructure company that helps insurers & partners in Africa and other emerging markets increase the reach and functionality of insurance through cloud-based tools and APIs.
CLAIMS, her flagship product is an AI-powered platform that enables insurers to automate claims seamlessly and track fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA).
Award-winning movie Eyimofe returns to Nigeria after successful run at world’s top film festivals
March 30, 2021 | 0 Comments
|* Acclaimed Nigerian film to premiere in Lagos on Sunday April 18|
GDN Studios, part of The Guardian Group, has announced the premiere and cinema release of its debut film Eyimofe (This is My Desire), following an extensive tour of the global film festival circuit. The movie will have its Nigerian premiere on Sunday, April 18, just days before opening in cinemas on Friday, April 23.
Eyimofe has been praised by international audiences, festival directors, critics and industry media as an outstanding effort by Arie and Chuko Esiri, brothers and co-directors of their first feature film. The movie takes an unflinching look at the pressures of everyday life in Nigeria, the desperate measures people take to survive, and the unrelenting desire to escape to a better life abroad, by whatever means. It traces the parallel lives of Mofe, a stoic electrician and part-time security guard, and Rosa, a struggling hairdresser, both trying to navigate illegal ways of fleeing the country.
Eyimofe has represented Nigeria globally, having been selected for festivals in twenty countries to date. These include the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival 2020, where it had its World Premiere; the British Film Institute’s London Film Festival; and the American Film Institute (AFI) Film Festival. It has garnered several festival awards including ‘Winner, Best Fiction, New Filmmakers’ at the São Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil), and ‘Winner, Achille Valdata Award’ at the Torino Film Festival (Italy).
According to executive producer Toke Alex Ibru, the film has exceeded expectations. “We’ve been encouraged by the tremendous reception the film has received in London, Berlin, São Paolo (Brazil), Los Angeles and other cities. It’s really exciting to bring Eyimofe home to Nigeria and see how audiences react to seeing our lives portrayed onscreen in such a realistic way.”
Co-directors Arie & Chuko issued a statement to mark the film’s release. “Eyimofe is very special to both of us – not just because it’s our first full-length feature, but due to the amazing support we have received from the cast, crew, and a host of backers. We’re grateful to GDN Studios for allowing us to tell this touching story without compromising on production values and for helping to give the film the global exposure it has received. Audiences abroad have taken this movie to their hearts and we look forward to having Nigerians embrace it, even as they discuss some of the issues it raises about the human condition.”
Some of the film industry’s leading international publications have been very positive about Eyimofe. Variety (USA) said that the film is “a clear-eyed portrait of a vibrant informed by two talented native sons”; the British Film Institute’s Sight & Sound called it a “stunning feature debut” and Frieze (UK) suggested it was “an outstanding story of interwoven tales”. The Hollywood Reporter said it was “carefully observed and well-performed drama… a love-hate letter to a great and flawed city, from two talented young filmmakers”.
The premiere of Eyimofe – This is My Desire takes place on Sunday, April 18, at EbonyLife Place in Victoria Island, Lagos, and opens in cinemas on Friday, April 23 in selected cinemas across Nigeria. For further information, visit www.Eyimofe.film.
Tragedy and fate intervene as two Nigerians try to better the lives of their families. Eyimofe (This is My Desire) is a film about two people’s quest for what they believe will be a better life on foreign shores.
After Mofe loses his family and Rosa fails to deliver on a promise, their travel plans collapse forcing them to reconsider living abroad. As time passes and wounds heal, they learn the future they desperately seek can be built at home.
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* The Guardian was first published a weekly on February 27, 1983. It went daily five months later on Monday, July 4, 1983.