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Ghana Seeks Gambia’s Support to Host Africa Free Trade Area Secretariat
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Barrow with the delegation from Ghana

President Barrow with the delegation from Ghana

The Republic of Ghana is seeking the support of The Gambia in its bid to play host to the headquarters of the continental free trade zone in Accra.

Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has sent his Minister of Trade and Industry, Hon. Alan Kyerematen, as a special envoy to President Adama Barrow to deliver a special message in this regard.

52 of the 55 members of the African Union have already signed the Continental Free Trade Agreement, which is geared towards empowering the AU members to take advantage of a single market.  It will bring together 1.2billion people with a combined GDP of $3thrillion. The African leaders are optimistic that this is going to be a very powerful stimulus to attract investment into the continent.

President Barrow with the delegation from Ghana

President Barrow with the delegation from Ghana

“We are here to present a special message to President Adama Barrow requesting his kind support and that of the people of The Gambia towards Ghana’s bid to host the headquarters of this body,” Minister Kyerematen told the waiting press corps after emerging from a closed door meeting with the Gambian leader.

The African Union has asked member states that are interested in hosting the CfTA headquarters to submit their bids. Ghana is one of seven countries that has offered to host it.

President Barrow told the envoy that there could not have been a better time for such a monumental opportunity for the continent than now, when it has overcome most of its challenges in terms of peace and security. “All the leaders in Africa are speaking with one voice. It is about democracy, economic development and growth, reducing poverty… you can only deal with these matters if you are able to support each other,” he said.

The Ghanaian envoy said all major economies of the world have developed because they have come together in their regional blocs. “The market of Africa is where everyone wants to be. The whole world is targeting the African market, so we (within ourselves) have to take advantage of this market first. That’s what this AfCFT is about,” he added.

He said the greatest testimony from the continent in supporting this free trade agenda is the number of countries that have signed the agreement. Beside the 52 member signatories, 24 have also ratified it, meaning the people have supported it through their parliaments.

“In my humble opinion, there can be no better testimony than we all uniting behind this. Let’s remember that the free trade between African countries have been a dream for many years,” he maintained.

 

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Gambia Gov’t says Achieving NDP Goals is on track
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Mr. Alhagie Nyangado ,  Director General of the Strategic Policy Delivery and Coordination Unit, Office of the President, has maintained that significant progress are being registered by government in achieving the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP) 2018-2021.

Mr. Nyangado said the retreat was borne out of such a need to convene on regular basis, just as the Cabinet members meet weekly or so. At the retreat, each ministry presented on their work and plans for the next quarter of the year, while allowing feedback from colleague officials.

“How do we know what the others are doing, or someone is not undoing what I am doing? Hence discussions, communications and coordination are fundamental to our collective goals as government,” he asked the gathering, underscoring the importance of the interactive exercise.

On Human Rights and Governance objectives of the NDP, Mr. Nyangado outlined the formulation of a new constitution which is at an advanced stage; the establishment of e Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission, and a National Human Rights Commission as fundamental targets of the NDP 2018-2021.

On Security Sector Reform, he mentioned the reform programmes which include the drafting, validation and launch of the first-ever national security policy. Such a policy will provide framework and form the basis for reform in the security sector. Ongoing drafting of a strategy for each of the security service unit as other important targets of the NDP.

On Tourism, he indicated that the Ministry of Tourism and the National Tourism Board are currently pushing for the rolling out of the community tourism concept. “This will ensure that benefits of tourism is spread across the country and not just confined to the cities, especially in the face of unprecedented, high tourism arrivals,” he said.

On Health, particularly HIV/AIDS, he said the Ministry has succeeded in reducing the ratio of mother-to child infections from over 12 percent down to 3 percent recently. Other efforts are in the areas of upgrading existing health facilities, expanding new ones and continuous training of more Gambians to improve access to quality health services.

The economy is also doing well over the past two years, he said: growth is at 6.5 percent, reserves at the Central bank are building up; tax on citizens are being reduced through expenditure cuts of government and sub-vented institutions; resizing of State owned Enterprises (SOEs) and travels of government officials.

To minimse loss to government, Treasury Department is now operating a single government account rather than so many uncoordinated ones. Government revenue increased by 100 percent over the past two years, and 20 per cent over the last quarter, while the Dalasi has been stabilised against major foreign currencies. “These are very important reform objectives of the NDP, he maintained.

On ICT, he said plans are at advanced stage to establish a technology park and national data centre which are geared towards unlocking the potentials of the young people and transforming The Gambia into a digital economy. So many other NDP indicators are already being implemented across the public sector.

Secretary to Cabinet, Mr. Ebrima Ceesay, hailed the concerted efforts of ministries to deliver on government plans. He said the retreat is another exciting avenue for asserting a new culture of coordinated government action.

 

“Our job is to implement the will of Gambian people by faithfully and diligently providing public services,” Ceesay said, noting that he is encouraged by the extra efforts being demonstrated by officials and the citizens’ continuous demand for more services from government.

 

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French Ambassador bids farewell to President Barrow
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

French Ambassdor

French Ambassdor

 The Dakar-based French Ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency, Christophe Bigot, has paid farewell to the President, His Excellency, Mr. Adama Barrow at the State House on Monday, June 24, 2019 after a completion of his tour of diplomatic duty.

The President Barrow has nothing but kind words for the “excellent cooperation and friendship between France and The Gambia” over the past two years, thanks to the work of Ambassador Bigot. The President expressed his determination to further strengthen relations between France and the European Union, in the spirit of the new democracy in The Gambia.

Ambassador Bigot, emerging from closed-door meeting with the President, explained that his frequent visits to Banjul were borne out of need to support the new Gambia – a decision that France made as early as December 2016 by welcoming President Adama Barrow at the France-Africa Summit in Bamako, followed by his first State visit to Paris.

Ambassador Bigot resumed from a weekend travel to the Upper River Region in eastern Gambia, where he saw project sites between Basse and Fatoto for Euros 10 million agricultural production with the support of the French Development Agency.

“We have continued our commitment through several dimensions, with the first visit of the French Foreign Minister to Banjul in November 2018. France is also the first development partner to pledge funds at the Brussels conference as grant to The Gambia at a tune of Euros 55 million,” he explained.

In early 2020, France will also fund a Euros 15 million water supply enhancement project for the Greater Banjul Area through the national utility company, NAWEC. In terms of education, French teachers are also getting assistance to enhance their language teaching capabilities as Gambia has made the decision to be part of the French speaking organization now. A new French school will be opened this year at the French cultural centre, Alliance Francais.

French Ambassador's Delegation

French Ambassador’s Delegation

“Gambia’s democracy is very young and it needs to be protected. That is why we have promoted the training of the Police intervention Unit (PIU) through the office of the National Security Adviser, for 40 officers as a first step,” the diplomat said, noting that such trainings need to go forward in other areas of cooperation.

Over the past two years, the French diplomat said he was witnessed a lot of positive changes to the country’s democracy and future. France decided to open a diplomatic antenna in Banjul this year, and appoint a Charge d’Affairs who will represent France in a more active way on the ground.

However, all these work he started with the government of President Adama Barrow will now fall on the shoulders of a successor to be identified by Paris when he returns. Ambassador Bigot described this farewell as a moment that is sad for both him and the President.

“It is dear to me and close to my heart to be a part of Gambia’s transition journey. The next stage for Banjul and Paris is to forge links between companies and universities; NGOs and the people of both countries. These are important steps towards sustaining the gains registered,” he added.

 

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Cameroon: Unidentified gunmen kidnap SDF’s Fru Ndi
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

SDF National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi

SDF National Chairman, Ni John Fru Ndi

The National chairman of the Social Democratic Party, SDF Ni John Fru Ndi has reportedly been kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Bamenda, North West Region of Cameroon. The incident took place in the early hours of June 28. It is still unclear as to who is behind that latest attack or the motive behind the kidnapped.

His body guard was reportedly shot on the leg by the armed men before making away with the Chairman.

This is the second time the SDF chairman has been reportedly kidnapped. Ni John Fru Ndi’s first kidnapped was on April 27 at Wainama as he was leading a delegation to bury Honourable Joseph Banadzem in Kumbo. He was briefly questioned before he was later released, sources said.

However, party sources had dismissed the notion the Chairman was kidnapped, rather saying it was a ‘misunderstanding’ between the Chairman and the armed men which was immediately sorted out.

In a press release, Jean Robert Wafo Minister of SDF shadow cabinet in charge of information and media said “The national president of Sdf, the chairman Ni John Fru Ndi was the victim of an abduction by unidentified kidnappers this afternoon around 15h30mn. They entered his residence in Ntarikon with Bamenda with guns and fired point-blank at his bodyguard, and then multiplied the shots warning.” “The chairman who was inside the house went out to inquire about the situation and it was then that the attackers removed him to an unknown destination.”

“The SDF will advise as necessary the national and international opinion on this new kidnapping which takes place almost two months to the day after that of April 27th” He added.

The SDF national chairman has been a strong critic of the separatist fighters who are clamoring for separation. The SDF chairman has called on the separatist fighters to go back to their main aim when they stated the fight that they have lost their way. Family members of Ni John Fru Ndi have been kidnapped in the past.

The crisis in the North West and South West Regions of the country has caused many to flee their homes into bushes or neighboring regions. Kidnappings, killings is the other of the day in the regions. More than 200 houses have been partly or completely destroyed, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee. The rate of attacks on villages have increased steadily, usually causing significant damage.  Some 450,000 and 550,000 people have been displaced as a result of the crisis, representing about 10 percent of the regions’ population. An additional 30,000 to 35,000 people have sought asylum in neighboring countries.

This is a developing story…..

 

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CEx- Canadian Ambassador Praises Gambia’s Institutional building efforts
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay  

Canada Amb with Barrow

Canada Amb with Barrow

 The outgoing Canadian High Commissioner to the Gambia, Her Excellency, Lise Filiatrault, on Tuesday, June 25, 2019, paid a courtesy farewell on His Excellency, President Adama Barrow at State House.

A key agenda of her meeting with President Barrow was institutional building efforts of The Gambia which she described as “important for democracy”.

The diplomat said the relationship between Canada and The Gambia took a lot of strength in the past two years, when she was privileged to serve her country in The Gambia; and witnessed very important historic moments in the life of this country in its transition to democracy.

“Canada has been working alongside The Gambia to help with building and strengthening democratic institutions. It has been collaborating with the Ministry of Justice on the UN Peace Building Fund that Canada is a strong part of and the TRRC, especially in areas of gender based violence,” she told the State House media Corps after closed-door meeting.

With a relationship that is quite strong and diversified, President Adama Barrow assured that Canada and The Gambia will continue building the relations in a strong way. The two also discussed future collaborations and ongoing activities that will continue to be developed at both bilateral and multilateral levels.

Gender equality and climate change were also part of discussions as other areas of further collaboration. The Canadian diplomat said the world faces challenges that require partnerships and the two countries are better positioned to make a difference.

The enthusiasm of Gambians at the inauguration of President Barrow two years ago, left a lasting memory in her: “There was a natural movement of people welcoming us and at the stadium, the enthusiasm and the level of hope that was there was a memory that I will take with me,” Ambassador Filiatrualt said.

Ms. Filiatrault thinks it is important to go ahead in furtherance of that enthusiasm and hope, to transform it into action and sustained institutions for peace and democracy which she described as the foundation for the development of any country.

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Gambia:Kasamanding says chief Jarjusey ‘instructed’ her 40 days imprisonment
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Kasamanding Keita

Kasamanding Keita

Kasamanding Keita, a United Democratic Party supporter has told the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission that her 40 days imprisonment was instructed by the chief of Jarra East District, Yaya Jarjusey.

She said because of her arrests and detentions, her husband divorced her, adding that “my arrests and detentions had a serious impact on my adopted child.”

She said that her adopted child was admitted in a hospital while she was under detention, adding that the arrests and detentions impacted on her agricultural activities and that her rice seedlings were burnt despite the fact that she was under detention.

She said she was the UDP Mobilizer at the time in the district and was attached to a polling station in Soma community during the voter registration process for the 2001 presidential elections.

She said that non-Gambians were registered and given voters card which she   said to have reported the case to IEC and the matter, adding the case was taken to the Magistrates court in the area.

She said when the case was called she was sick and couldn’t go to court. Therefore, as a result, she said the matter ended there without nothing been done about that matter.

Mrs Keita said that before of the case, her landlord was instructed by Chief Yaya Jarjusey that she should vacate, adding that after vacating the premises, Baba Jobe, the then National Assembly Member for that Constituency came and asked the landlord to allow her back to the compound.

“The landlord told Baba Jobe that it was the Chief who instructed him to send me out of the compound. Baba Jobe then picked the phone and called Chief Yaya Jarjusey asking him to bring a tractor to bring all my belongings from my new settlement. Baba Jobe fueled the tractor and the following morning, my properties were brought back to the house I was occupying,” she said.

She said after sometime, the non-Gambians she summoned before the court also summoned her.

She said “we were brought before the (Magistrates) court and we told them our lawyers were not around. After sometime, the police came for us in the court and took us to the Mansakonko Police Station. We were 11 persons and I was the only female among them.”

She said they were not charged or told the reason for their arrest.

“The following morning, the (ten) men were taken to the Janjanbureh Prisons while I was left at the Police Station. After two days, Chief Jarjusey called the Station Officer (SO) of the Police Station asking him to transfer me to the Janjanbureh Prisons. I heard the SO saying ‘yes sir chief’ while he was taking on phone,” she said.

 

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Set pragmatic measures to achieve MCHN- WHO to Ghana
June 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

Dr Kaluwa

Dr Kaluwa

The 2018 Atlas for African Health Statistics published by the World Health Organization WHO, World Bank, UNICEF and others showed that Ghana had a lot of work to do to reach the SDG target on Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition, MCHN.

According to the report, the country in 2015 had a maternal mortality ratio of 319 deaths per 100,000 live births. If the current rate of reduction is maintain, the country is bound to reach a ratio of 210 per 100,000 live births in 2030 against the SDG target of 70 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Meanwhile, under-five mortality in Ghana in 2015 estimated to have a rate of 61 deaths per 1,000 live births. Meaning at the current pace, Ghana could only reach 36.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2030 against the target of 25 deaths per 1,000 live births.

This, the  WHO Country Representative in Ghana, Dr Owen Kaluwa said it is clear that doing business as usual will not lead to the achievement of the SDGs for MCHN targets by 2030, and called for fast-tracked action and collective work, to speed up the implementation of programs and interventions. Currently, maternal mortality remained unacceptably high, with 830 women globally, dying daily from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. He added even though progress has been made in addressing MCHN over the years, pragmatic measures are to be taken both globally and on the Africa Region.

Dr Kaluwa who was speaking at the opening of the second annual MCHN, in Accra under the theme: “Enhancing Integrated Reproductive Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition to Accelerate the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”. He stated in 2017 alone, over six million children and young adolescents died, mostly from preventable cause of diseases. He emphasized the need for Ghana, to process set up the right stage and environment to scale-up interventions that are ongoing to address the issue. Citing the National Health Sector Medium Term Development Plan, highlighted MCHN as a priority, and the adoption of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) as overreaching health sector initiatives to enhance progress.

He pledged the WHO’s commitment to support Ghana and all stakeholders to improve the health of Ghanaians .However the Director General of Health Dr Anthony Nsiah-Asare, said Ghana over the years has sustained efforts at reducing mortality rate among women and children through the implementation of different programs driven by global and national evidence, amidst dwindling donor funding. He  explain the Service recorded its lowest maternal mortality rate at the end of 2018, with a prevalence of 128.4 deaths per 100,000 live births as against 144.7 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2017, and since then, stakeholders have been working hard to ensure “Zero Tolerance for Maternal Deaths,” through a host of initiatives and programs.

Example of such programs includes rolling out of the new Combined Maternal and Child Health Record Book in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), to improve the vital registration system in the country, and again, the implementation of the Girls Iron-Folate Tablet Supplementation Program to reduce anemia among adolescent girls. The rest are the creation of E-learning platforms for capacity building of health professionals, the introduction of a task shifting for maternal health services, to complement the work of the regular staff. In addition, the improvement in the supply chain through the Last Mile Distribution System, to deliver medical consumables such as blood products and vaccines to hard-to-reach areas using the Drone technology.

The Conference, was organized by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in collaboration with its development partners, to discuss emerging issues affecting maternal and child health, and  low access and utilization of family planning services; quality care; rise in non-communicable diseases as a cause of death, and early childhood development initiatives.

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Is Africa Rising Narrative A Propaganda Or A Reality?
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Moses Hategeka*

Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda

Why is it that African continent which is a home to sixty percent of world’s remaining arable land, and is vastly blessed with numerous utilizable water resources and various agro-ecological zones, is still a net food importer and is persistently failing to break the food import chain and food trade deficit that it is trapped in?

Africa’s annual food import bill of 35.00 USD billion, and which is expected to reach 110.00 USD billion by 2025, is extremely worrying. This is almost the same amount, the continent needs to close its power deficit, which is among the key needed ingredient to make the continent meaningfully diversify its economies.

My firsthand accounts of seeing extremely malnourished children in many areas of Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, Burundi, Zimbabwe, and Liberia, coupled with very low agricultural productivity, stemming from, overdependence on rain, minimal fertilizer application, use of rudimentary tools, absence of use of appropriate irrigation and water harvesting technologies, and poor farming practices, accompanied with agricultural policy distortions, I have witnessed in many African countries, casts a gloomy picture of Africa’ agricultural sector.

Africa’s annual food import bill of 35.00 USD billion, estimated to rise to 110.00 USD billion by 2025, is besides annihilating its agriculture, also a key continent’s growth and development decelerator. Currently, 250 million people in Africa, are undernourished, and with dwindling agricultural yields, and skyrocketing population, the continent food import bill, is poised to keep on expanding.

Two years back, while on a research assignment, in South-Kivu, North-Kivu, and Tshopo provinces, in DRC, the dilapidated human shelters housing thousands of malnourished and undernourished families, I witnessed shocked me. This is a vast country, which besides, being almost the entire size of Western Europe, is the world’s largest producer of cobalt and is also richly endowed with uranium, diamond, gold, copper, oil, and other precious metals, in addition to possessing large swatches of fertile lands, and world’s second longest River, Congo River, but majority its citizens are extremely very poor.

The situation is not different in other African countries. Forget the rising GDP figures, which the cunning politicians and economists, base on to advance the African rising narrative, and embark on extensive journey in rural areas of many African countries, the skyrocketing poverty levels you will witness, will surprise you.

The persistent use of per capita income as a gauge of African economies growth, should be discarded. It is largely misrepresentative of real situation on the ground, as it does not factor in, the distribution of growth. For instance, according to GDP figures, Uganda economy, has from, 2017/2018 to 2018/2019 expanded from, 25.00 USD billion to 29.00 USD billion, but collaborative government and civil society statistical data, shows that, poverty levels, have in the same period tremendously increased, which in essence implies that, the so called economic expansion is of no value to the majority of its citizens.

All African countries are debt- distressed and billions of monies, they have for years borrowed and are still borrowing from world bank, IMF, China, and other lending institutions and countries, to finance, roads, standard gauge railways construction, power, and other infrastructural developments, with the main aim of attracting foreign direct investments, have not and are not translating into economic wellbeing of the masses. The machinery and technologies used in these infrastructural projects, is foreign imported, very few Africans are employed in these projects, and a big percentage of this borrowed billions, is often swindled through syndicated corruption, involving African leaders and their thieving cronies.

There is no ground-breaking inventions, innovations, and technologies, being generated by Africa’s academic institutions, meant for spurring Africa’s industrial development. All the industries in Africa, are majorly powered by imported technologies. Why is this so and yet we have science, technology, and inter-disciplinary faculties in our universities?

Research is now a major growth and development accelerator of leading world economies. All the ground-breaking technologies that translates into economic well-being of the citizens are attained, through heavily investing in research. Is research financing a priority to African countries? How much does each country apportion to research each financial year? Can that research financing amount enable each country to produce ground- breaking technologies to leapfrog its forward in meeting the needs its citizens?

All over the continent, youth unemployment is on rise, and so is endemic corruption, both of which are deleterious economic bombs, that have been and are set, to continue exploding causing political unrest and destabilizing Africa growth agendas. What has happened and is happening in Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, DRC, Kenya, Ethiopia, Togo, among others is largely a governance question.

Almost all African leaders are pursuing two personal egoistic agendas: personal/family wealth accumulation, and creating a sort of political system/dynasty that provides for continued enjoyment of ill-gotten wealth even when not in power. Creating societal wealth is not their main agenda.

In sum, Africa rising narrative, will only become a reality, when the continent get visionary and transformative leaders, whose main agenda, is to trigger accumulation of an all- inclusive societal wealth. Today’s Africa rising narrative that is mainly advanced basing on GDP growth figures, is largely deceptive, as reality on the ground shows that it is fundamentally exclusive of majority of continental citizens.

*Moses Hategeka, is Ugandan based Independent Governance Researcher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer.Email: moseswiseman2000@gmail.com

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Nigeria: Atiku tells army chief how to fight insurgency
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Teslim Olawore

Atiku

Atiku

Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, has advised the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai to relocate to the North-East zone, particularly Borno State, in order to boost the fight against insurgency.

He said that the rate of killings in the country is such that the government’s pledge to end banditry and other forms of criminality in the country requires more action than sloganeering.

Atiku stated this in a statement released on Wednesday by a spokesman of the Atiku Presidential Campaign Council, Prince Kassim Afegbua.

He said, “The Chief of Army Staff should permanently be in Borno, where he will coordinate his troops.

“The Chief of Defence Staff should have an annex office in Zamfara, where he would spend more time than sit in their comfort zones in Abuja. The Chief of the Air Force needs to also be on his toes. We need a new paradigm in terms of methods and personnel to fit into the sophistication of these crimes.

“It is about time the President goes beyond mere sloganeering, and sprouts to action. We are tired of weather-beaten rhetoric that has become so repetitive and boring. We need to see a different approach in terms of choosing the right personnel to dispense with the responsibilities of safeguarding the country.

“From the statement earlier credited to the Chief of Army Staff, General Buratai, it does appear that we are in serious defence inertia. Some Nigerians have been saying that it is about time the President rejig his security personnel. Let these tired legs leave the scene for a more robust and result-driven younger minds that will come up with a new perspective on how to combat our insecurity challenges.

“The present Chiefs, seem to have reached their wits end and the motivation to deliver the right modules for effective security is tellingly missing.”

Atiku then call on the Buhari administration to combat poverty and unemployment which is a major cause of the increase in crime rate of the country.

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Rwanda’s progress on data privacy gets in spotlight
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Jean d’Amour Mugabo

Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda's major conferences' venue which is set to host GSMA Mobile 360 Africa from July 16-18, 2019. Photo net

Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda’s major conferences’ venue which is set to host GSMA Mobile 360 Africa from July 16-18, 2019. Photo net

Rwanda has taken a leadership role in East Africa and continent-wide in promoting the Smart Africa Strategic Vision and adopting its own Smart Rwanda strategy, reports GSMA as Africa Data Protection and Privacy Conference gets underway in Ghana.

GSMA, the global mobile operators’ representative, has, however, recommended Rwanda to seize the opportunities arising from digital transformation by establishing a comprehensive approach to data privacy that is not subsumed within an ICT Law, but applies generally regardless of sector or technology.

To support countries and other stakeholders move forward as they consider Data Protection and Privacy, the GSMA released its new ‘Guiding Principles for Smart Data Privacy Laws’ at the conference running from June 24-27 in Ghana.

“Establishing the right approach to data privacy is critical to Rwanda’s digital transformation,” said Jean-Francois Le Bihan, the GSMA Public Policy Director for Sub-Saharan Africa.

“To be successful, Rwanda must protect individuals while allowing organisations the freedom to innovate and secure positive outcomes for society. Data privacy laws should put the responsibility on organisations to identify and mitigate risks while remaining flexible, technology- and sector-neutral and allowing data to move across borders easily.”

Le Bihan added that without adhering to these guiding principles, poor data privacy enforcement could put at risk the US$ 214 billion mobile economy that Africa has the potential to reach by 2020.

“Rwanda has the opportunity to harness the digital economy as a driver of growth and innovation. If it fails to seize the opportunities, it runs the risk of economic isolation and stagnation,” he cautioned.

More than 1000 experts from around the world, including Rwanda, are gathering in Ghana this week to address data privacy challenges.  Participants include national authorities from African countries, policy makers, data protection officers and data protection and privacy experts.

GSMA reports that Africa has great potential to profit from a digital transformation that could provide jobs and improve access to quality services including finance, healthcare, education and agriculture.

“Home to the youngest population in the world, Africa is progressing rapidly in digital adoption. Underpinned by rising mobile connectivity, the continent has recorded the highest growth globally in internet access, moving from 2.1% in 2005 to 24.4% in 2018,” reads GSMA statement.

According to the GSMA, mobile economy is forecasted to reach 7.9% (US$ 150 billion) of the overall Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP by 2022, up from 7.1% (US$ 110 billion) in 2017.

“The right approach to data privacy will be critical to building trust in new technologies and systems, but there is a need to accelerate the progress being made,” reads the statement.

Countries across Africa are at varying points on the journey towards enacting Data Protection and Privacy laws, with less than 15 out of 54 African countries having passed a Data Protection Law.

From July 16-18, Rwanda will host GSMA Mobile 360 –Africa, the largest GSMA-run event in Africa, to discuss the rise of the digital citizen and showcase how mobile is creating a better future for African citizens.

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Gambia:Yankuba claims to be under Constitutional Immunity as he walks out of the hearing room
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Yankuba Touray is a former minister and an ally of Yahya Jammeh. Photo: Africa Feeds Media / Lamin Fadera

Yankuba Touray is a former minister and an ally of Yahya Jammeh. Photo: Africa Feeds Media / Lamin Fadera

Former top brass of the AFPRC, Yankuba Touray discontinued his testimony claiming he is under ‘Constitutional immunity.’

Mr Touray was adversely mentioned by several witnesses walked out of the hearing room amid his testimony.

And on Thursday morning, Touray refused to testify before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission under oath but finally agreed to testify under oath.

Few minutes into Touray’s testimony said “I am not going to testify regarding that… I invoke my Constitutional immunity.”

Despite his bitter tone, the lead counsel Essa Mbye Faal warned and cautioned Touray that “ I will not enter into legal debate with you as to whether immunity applies…I would remind you that it is an offense under the laws of the Commission—the TRRC Act failing to answer questions of the Commission.”

But Touray responded “I do not recognize the legitimacy of this Commission when I have Constitutional immunity.”

He  added as he walk out of the hearing room that “ I am not going further you may use your legal tools and then we all proceed and see…I am not speaking.”

However, Mr Touray was immediately arrested by the members of Police Intervention Unit attached to secure the venue of the hearings and was taken to the Kairaba Police station.

Mr Yankuba Touray was standing trial at the High Court of the land with former speaker of the National Assembly Fatoumatta Jahumpa after they were accused by a witness of the Truth Commission- Alagie Kany. But their case announced to be withdrawn by the Minister of Justice.

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Safaricom, Tusker named among the most admired brands in Africa
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma|@journalist_27

Brand Leadership and GeoPoll listed Safaricom and Tusker among the top brands in Africa among others such as Magnate, Coca Cola, Samsung, Airtel, Apple, Toyota, Guinness, Nike and Colgate.

Safaricom and Tusker also appeared in the list of 5 most Kenyan homegrown brands in the country. The dominant mobile operator topped the list followed by Tusker, Kenya Airways, Citizen Television and Bidco Cooking Oil Company.

Four locals firms emerged in the top 25 brands in Africa admired by the continent’s consumers same has Nigeria. Ethiopia had three firms, Zambia two while South Africa dominated with six according to the report.

Top products in East Africa are Nike, Adidas, Coca Cola, Puma of Germany, Samsung, Apparel, Techno, Apple, Airtel and Pepsi.

South African region produced 40 per cent of local firms liked by consumers in Africa, East Africa 32 per cent followed by West Africa at 28 per cent.

The top three most loved products in Africa are MTN of South Africa, Anbessa (shoe manufacturing company) of Ethiopia and Dangote of Nigeria.

The report further revealed that consumers prefer non-African brands since Africa is not in the forefront of creating new brands.

“One of the biggest challenges facing Africa is transforming its vibrant entrepreneurial energy and environment to create competitive brands that meet the needs of its growing consumer market,” reiterated Brand Leadership Chairman Thebe Ikalafeng.

Brand Africa uses a comprehensive survey of a sample of respondents 18 years older and above in 25 countries while GeoPoll employ the use of mobile phone survey platform to access the most visible brands in Africa.

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