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Malema Bashes Oprah Winfrey; Berates Ramaphosa for Soft Stance on Land Issue
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Malema

Malema

Outspoken South African opposition figure Julius Malema in a State of the Nation (SONA) Debate took aim at Oprah Winfrey for supporting South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Malema took to the podium in the South African Parliament as the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the third largest political party in the country reacting to the president’s State of the Nation address. In his speech, Malema said that there was nothing worth celebrating from what had been delivered by the president. Rather, he said SONA demonstrated how Ramaphosa was reneging from his election promises as well as the ruling party African National Congress (ANC)’s 2018 national conference resolutions.

By reneging from his election promises, Malema said that the president was distancing himself from his supporters and that those who voted for him were now beginning to realize the ‘folly of their ways’. “If anything, those who voted for you are now regretting it, because they wasted their vote on a president without a plan. You have no plan to systematically address poverty, landlessness and unemployment,” Malema said.

Malema went further stating “We urge you (Ramaphosa) to recall that (ANC) conference resolutions are binding. Even Mandela recognized these as a mandate which must be implemented.” In reference to the above statement, political analysts said Malema was specifically talking about the land expropriation without compensation issue.

At the last ANC Conference, the party resolved to adopt and expedite the land expropriation without compensation policy. This resolution was welcomed by Malema and his EFF political party. For so long, EFF viewed the land expropriation without compensation policy as the perfect policy to address poverty, landlessness and unemployment among South Africans especially black South Africans. With the ANC resolving to adopt the policy, the EFF had erstwhile found allies to work with in expediting the policy. However, soon after his inauguration as the country’s president, Ramaphosa has shown a reluctance to move forward and implement the land expropriation without compensation policy. This has since angered Malema and the EFF.

From Malema’s speech, it’s evident that Malema’s anger at Ramaphosa is not directed at him alone but even those who sympathize and like him. This evidenced by the fact that Malema found time to hit out at Oprah Winfrey for supporting Cyril Ramaphosa.

At the end of last year, South Africa hosted the Global Citizen Festival in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, the first black president in South Africa. Oprah Winfrey was invited to the Festival and given the honour to introduce Cyril Ramaphosa. In her introductory remarks, Oprah introduced Ramaphosa as Mandela’s “hand-picked successor.”

Oprah’s introductory remarks at the Festival certainly did not go down well with Malema who in his speech stated, “We were abused here during the election campaign that saw people like Oprah Winfrey rented and sneaked into the country in the name of the Global Citizen Festival, to tell us how Madiba wanted you to be President. We now ask ourselves: “What did Madiba see in you that we can’t?”

Malema also took the opportunity to threaten Ramaphosa with impeachment stating “We don’t want to do this now, but if you carry on as a constitutional delinquent, we will impeach you. You must take full responsibility for your mistakes and tell us the steps you will take. We don’t see anyone who can replace you in this party, and that is a disaster…Now help South Africa by taking it into your confidence. You’re human, you’ve made a mistake, you must confess. Don’t be the most honest dishonest person since the man who came before you (Jacob Zuma). We want an honest president.”

The above was in relation to the Bosasa-gate. Bosasa is a firm found guilty of engaging in corrupt practices. News broke out during the election campaign late last year that Bosasa had ‘donated’ R500 000 to the Ramaphosa campaign. Ramaphosa denied the allegations at the time but it has since been proven to be true.

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Sierra Leone: West Africa’s oldest University’s Student elections cancelled
June 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Following a serious riotous and disorderly behaviour put up by students in one of West Africa Oldest Universities, Fourah Bay College (FBC), University of Sierra Leone    , the Ministry of Higher and Technical Education (MHTE) has cancelled the college’s Student Union elections slated for Friday 28th June with immediate effect.

The release came just hours after a conflict broke out between the two main factions on campus, the whites and blacks on Fourah Bay College Campus  in which aspirants vying for the leadership of the student’s union were scheduled to debate at the Adjai Crowther Amphitheatre which started well but turn out violent before it ended.

‘’The debate started at FBC campus on the 25th June 2019 as scheduled. Due to disagreements between the two main factions, namely the ‘’Black and white ‘’ camps,’’ the release stated.

According to the release , the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education  made an on the spot visit to assess the rioutus situation there by direct as follows that all Fourah Bay College Student’s Union activities are banned with immediate effect , in addition that the administration of Fourah Bay College should institute an investigation into the cause(s) of the violence, identify actors and perpetrators of the violence and report to the Ministry of Technical and Higher Education and or before 2nd July , 2019 for further action.

The release further stated that in the ensuing violence windowpanes of some of the newly refurbished buildings were pelted with stones, wind screens of vehicles smashed and in addition the few police officers on campus were also pelted with an assortment of missiles.

According to the release from the MHTE, it has requested the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to deploy at strategic location on the FBC Campus for the security of staff, students and assets.

The cancellation of the 28th June SU elections would be a set back after almost a decade of the non-existence of student Union body in West Africa’s oldest university.

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Sierra Leone:Former APC Big Guns to appear in the ongoing commissions of inquiry
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

 

Former senior government officials in the Koroma administration are to appear before Justice Bankole Thompson Commission of Inquiry on Monday 1st July according to a notice of hearing from the Commission of inquiry headquarters, Special Court Complex in Freetown.

The former erstwhile senior government officials in the past administration that should appear before Justice Bankole Thompson  included Sheka Tarawallie former press secretary and official in the Ministry of Information , Momoh Konteh , former National Telecommunications Commission boss (NATCOM) , Tom Oberleh Kargbo also former Chairman of NATCOM , Alhaji A.B. Kanu former Minister of Information and Cornelius Deveaux ,former deputy Minister of Information and Communications respectively as persons of interest on issues pertaining to the Ministry of Information during their tenure in office.

It could be recalled that President Bio in January this year launched the Commission of Inquiry in order to look at the governance activities of the former Koroma administration that ruled the country from 2007- 2018 that ushered the new administration of President Julius Maada Bio.

 

 

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Pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom birthes afriQloud solution
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Pan-African connectivity provider, BringCom, in partnership with science and technology investor, Imprimatur Capital, and European edge cloud software company, GIG Technology, have together birthed what is to provide the African technology industry with cloud sovereignty – afriQloud.

launched in Uganda, afriQloud will provide, at internationally competitive rates, local and foreign customers with an innovative and secure distributed edge cloud service.

Hans van Linschoten, founding partner of Imprimatur Capital Africa and CEO of afriQloud “We see significant potential in the growing African cloud market where an estimated $2 billion is being spent in cloud this year, and we’re excited to bring this service to the continent. By the end of 2019 we will complement the few developed markets clouds with a powerful and local distributed cloud in at least 15 countries. This ensures data sovereignty for institutions and governments within Africa’s shores.”

Most of Africa’s content on the internet is currently hosted on servers outside the continent. Implementation of edge cloud computing services in Africa has been adversely affected by lack of reliable and secure connectivity from various service providers. The cost of setting up ICT infrastructure with improved data latency and minimized downtime has also contributed to the slow adoption of cloud solution across the continent.

Mark Simmonds, Chairman of GIG Technology: ”Although cloud adoption is predominantly private, the African markets are generating a growth of 30% in public cloud sales. Few other ICT market segments in the African tech ecosystem have the potential of adding an incremental $2 billion in top line revenue over the next 5 years.”

Fabrice Langreney, CEO of BringCom: “Opening up of the global market will require African companies and organizations to be equally competitive in deployment of e-solutions, scalability, secure data accessibility and connectivity in line with international standards.”

afriQloud is also building bridges to the African incubators and tech hubs. More than 440 tech hubs are available today and more funding is being raised by tech startups across the African continent. The aim of afriQloud is to have the Edge Cloud installed in cities and tech hub ecosystems which hosts a high number of startups and developers. Now present and operational in Uganda, afriQloud will be spreading its services further into the different regions of Africa this year.

Willem Hendrickx, CEO of GIG Technology: “We believe in partnerships and the creation of local economy using our cloud technology. Having assessed the cloud readiness of different African markets, we are thrilled to launch in Kampala.”

Hans van Linschoten: “We have hit the ground and we intend to keep up the pace. This service in Africa is long overdue. In a few months, we will expand our service in East Africa – Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia will be afriQloud active very soon. We are working through channels in Southern Africa as well – Zambia, Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique are our next target markets. And of course the West African region is good and ripe for the plucking. Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Cameroon – we’ll be present in all these countries this year! We’re very much looking forward to working with tech startups, MNOs, ISPs, government institutions, banks and financial institutions, universities – there is much to be done, and the time to begin is now.”

afriQloud is a partnership of several selected hi-tech companies (mainly telco and Internet) with the aim of bringing their technology to emerging markets, Africa in particular. afriQloud has incorporated a subsidiary in Uganda – afriQloud Uganda Limited – from where it has started to build a business which is to expand throughout a minimum of 25 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

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Nigeria-Cameroon Trade, Tourism & Cultural week announced
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Consul General of Nigeria in Douala, Safiu O. Olaniyan

Consul General of Nigeria in Douala, Safiu O. Olaniyan

The second edition of the Nigeria-Cameroon Trade, Tourism and Cultural Week, NCTTC, will take place in Douala from Friday September 27 to Tuesday October 1, to boost economic, political, and cultural ties between Cameroon and Nigeria.

In collaboration with the Nigerian High Commission in Yaoundé and the Consulate of Nigeria in Buea, the Douala event is expected to create a comfortable environment for Cameroonians and Nigerians, which will facilitate economic deals as well as cultural barriers. The weeklong business initiative to take place at Canal Olympia will see the participation of investors from both the CEMAC and ECOWAS regions.

The information was disclosed during a press briefing on Friday June 21, at the esplanade of the Nigerian consulate in Douala.

According to the Consul General of Nigeria to Douala, Safiu O. Olaniyan, both Cameroon and Nigeria have similarities to improve in the domain of trade, tourism and cultures to be marketed.

“It is high time we begin to exploit the opportunities we have. It is high time we begin to improve ourselves,” said the Consul General.

He lauded the initiative aimed at intensifying the relationship between the two neighboring countries.

This edition is under the theme, “Trade and Tourism for growth and sustainable development”. Safiu O. Olaniyan said the presence of some Nigerian businessmen in Cameroon today, is thanks to the first edition that took place in 2019. “We have Dangote and UBA operating here and we also have some Cameroonian companies in Nigeria.

We hope to use this forum to attract a car manufacturing company here,” he said.

For one week there will be trade, exhibitions, business meetings, conferences, cultural display, gastronomy amongst other activities.

The 2nd edition is expected to feature a special training programmed for young entrepreneurs and startups working in Nigeria and Cameroon aimed at helping young entrepreneurs learn some strategies from experts. The aviation sectors of both countries will as well showcase opportunities in the areas of exploring new routes in Nigeria and the CEMAC sub region.

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For alleged human rights violation in Anglophone regions, US Senate moves to halt all security assistance to Cameroon
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

“Biya has a long history of jailing journalists and lacks respect for human rights”; Senator Dick Durbin (photo: Borgenmagazine)

“Biya has a long history of jailing journalists and lacks respect for human rights”; Senator Dick Durbin (photo: Borgenmagazine)

The United States Senate has amended its National Defense Authorization Act, NDAA for the year 2020 stripping Cameroon off all security assistance until further notice.

The amendment halting security assistance to Cameroon to kickoff next year was introduced June 25, 2019, by four US senators who insist the “US can’t be accomplices to actions that are used to commit gross violations of internationally recognized human rights”.

The amendment to the Defense Act will “halt all further U.S. security assistance to Cameroon, except for dealing with Boko Haram” until the “U.S. Secretaries of Defense and State certify military and security forces of Cameroon have demonstrated progress in abiding by international human rights standards, particularly in regards to repression in Anglophone parts of the country,” a release after the amendment of the act sent to our newsroom read.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (Democrat- Illinois), Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland), and Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) introduced the amendments referencing decades of marginalization of the country’s Anglophone population which has now metamorphosed to simmering tensions and government repression.

“Earlier this month at Chicago’s Kovler Center, I heard devastating stories firsthand from refugees who fled mounting political violence in Cameroon.  And President Biya’s long history of jailing journalists and lack of respect for human rights do not bode well for peacefully addressing the country’s colonial-era divisions,” Durbin said.

“That is why I introduced an amendment to the FY2020 NDAA with Senators Cardin, Van Hollen, and Kaine that stops all further U.S. security assistance to Cameroon, except for dealing with Boko Haram, until the Secretaries of Defense and State can certify that such violent repression has come to a halt.”

The senator who has always weighed in on the situation in Cameroon said he had on Monday informed Cameroonian Ambassador to the US Henri Étoundi Essomba that the “U.S. stands ready to help when a peaceful path forward is advanced.”

 

Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland reiterates that “America’s strength is in our values. We can no longer remain complicit in actions that are used to commit gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. American military assistance can no longer prop up Cameroon’s military and security forces who are attacking innocent civilians.”

Maintaining that Cameroon remains an important partner in combatting Boko Haram, he clarified that the amendment will not interfere with those efforts.

Describing the violence against the people of Cameroon as “unacceptable”, he also condemned the attacks on educational establishments by separatist fighters.

“Schools are closed and armed groups are attacking civilians and especially refugees. The health system is breaking down. The government must make substantial changes that benefit the safety and well-being of the people of Cameroon.”

In December 2018, Durbin, Van Hollen, Cardin, and Kaine joined several other Democratic Senators in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging greater U.S. attention to mounting violence in Cameroon.

Information filtering from the US Department of State indicates that the United States is dedicated to ensuring a return of peace and normalcy in Cameroon’s Anglophone region.

Though Cameroon remains a strategic partner of the US especially in its fights against terrorism in West Africa, top officials who spoke off the record say all options are on the table to bring an end to the crisis should the regime of President Paul Biya fail to respond find a solution out of the countries simmering conflict.

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In AGOA Forum Cote d’Ivoire Seeks To Cement Role As Regional Economic Hub
June 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

Cote d'Ivoire has experienced tremendous progress in the last ten years says Ambassador Haidara Mamadou. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Cote d’Ivoire has experienced tremendous progress in the last ten years says Ambassador Haidara Mamadou. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Delegates and visitors to Cote d’Ivoire for the AGOA Forum will be pleasantly surprised at the progress his country has made under President Ouattara says Ambassador Haidara Mamadou. Speaking in an interview with Pan African Visions, the Ivorian Ambassador to Washington DC said there was a general air of excitement and positive energy in his country in the build up to the AGOA Forum coming up soon.

In addition to the vast tourism potentials of his country, Ambassador Haidara touted the enormous opportunities opened to investors. Located at the heart of West Africa, with easy access to neighboring countries, Ambassador Haidara said, the positive economic indicators, infrastructure, enormous potentials are an open invitation for investors to consider Cote d’Ivoire as a priority destination.

 Pan African Visions: Ambassador Haidara Mamadou good afternoon sir and thank you for receiving us at the Ivory Coast Embassy.

Ambassador Haidara: Good afternoon and you are welcome.

Pan African Visions: First, we would like to start by getting the developments in your country, Cote d’Ivoire. How is the country doing economically, politically and socially?

Ambassador Haidara: I will say the country is doing well. Economically, you know the president elected in 2010, has instituted an economic policy that is working well. Since then we have been experiencing growth and this is an indicator of the country. If we want to appreciate the economy, we have to take the growth rate which  is around 8 or 9 per cent. One can say growth rate is in the average of 7 per cent per year for the past eight years. It is a tremendous achievement for the country because we are in the top five of growth rate worldwide. This has been consistent and stable.

Socially, the President has put a lot in improving our social environment as more than one hundred schools have been built, 200 high schools built by the state, infrastructure, healthcare has been taken care of, roads and port development has all been taken care of under this new economic era. This is why some people are trying to tag it as the second miracle of Ivory Coast. The government is also taking care of some disparities, cost of living. From this indicator of growth, we did not experience any inflation; the rate of inflation in Cote d’Ivoire has been around 1 per cent per year. This means that we are handling the pricing and the cost of living well, and it has been stable, and affordable for people.

Politically I think the different political parties are doing their own businesses. I think there is a long way to go with reconciliation, but we are very optimistic about the direction of the country.

 Cote d'Ivoire  has undergone an economic miracle under President Ouattara, says Ambassador Haidara pictured here with Ajong Mbapndah L of PAV. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Cote d’Ivoire has undergone an economic miracle under President Ouattara, says Ambassador Haidara pictured here with Ajong Mbapndah L of PAV. Photo Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

Pan African Visions: Currently, the country is led by Alassane Ouattara, how has he fared as president; if you were to cite some of the achievements he has recorded, what will some of them be?

Ambassador Haidara: I think there are a lot of achievements that one can talk about. In terms of infrastructure, I can say Cote d’Ivoire is one of the most powerful energy producers of the continent, and we are efficient in energy in terms of power. We supply energy to Ghana, Togo, Mali, Nigeria and we are helping these surrounding countries with our surplus. This is one of the biggest achievements.

For roads, we have been putting almost 600 km in terms of new paved roads, 2000 roads have been rehabilitated and this programme is going on and people are surprised how the infrastructure network has been developed.

Investment has been done in the domain of education. Each major district of Ivory Coast now has a state university. From 5 state universities we are now heading to 10 state universities. It is a big achievement. Also in terms of health, each major district also has a major health infrastructure. These, and many others are some of the big achievements of the country with the president.

U.S presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump (R) unveiled financial aid for woman cocoa farmers ahead of a recent West African summit on women entrepreneurs in Ivory Coast. AFP ISSOUF SANOGO

U.S presidential Adviser Ivanka Trump (R) unveiled financial aid for woman cocoa farmers ahead of a recent West African summit on women entrepreneurs in Ivory Coast. AFP ISSOUF SANOGO

Pan African Visions: You have been Ambassador to Washington for a while now, how will you describe the state of relations between Ivory Coast and United States?

Ambassador Haidara: Not for a while, I was appointed in March 2018 for almost one year now. From that point to now, I can say we have been experiencing a very good bilateral relationship. First of all, we began by signing an MoU with the U.S. Under this MoU, Ivory Coast has put on the table of U.S investors a four billion dollars project that the U.S investors are very excited about this offer and they are doing their best to take advantage of this offer. It was signed by our Minister of foreign affairs and secretary of commerce of the USA in December 2018. We have been beneficiary of the MCC; almost 524.7 million dollars have been granted to Ivory Coast to recognize its big political, social and economic achievements. MCC is not granted but come like an award to recognize your achievement.

We have also a good political relationship with the U.S. we are working together on the Security council; as we are one of the non-permanent members of the security council. We are very happy about the state of our relationship with the U.S.

Pan African Visions: As you rightly pointed out, the AGOA forum is coming up in Ivory Coast. What does this event mean for your country and how is Ivory Coast preparing for the forum?

Ambassador Haidara: This event means a lot for our country because this is an opportunity for our country to introduce itself to the world. This is because in the AGOA forum you have many African countries coming to Ivory Coast, and you have the leading country in the world, USA also coming. Ivory Coast will highlight its achievements, and it is a also big opportunity for Ivory Coast to promote itself as a big destination for tourism, economy, social matters and others. We are going to take advantage of this to attract more visitors, tourists and investments.

Pan African Visions: Talking about preparations, what is the mood like in Ivory Coast? Are the people very excited about this and if you have to give a word to the people who will be coming to Ivory Coast for the first time, what should they expect?

Ambassador Haidara: They will be very surprised, and I cannot have enough words to talk about what have been done so far. I put some figures in terms of economic indicators. They will see for themselves what has been done in terms of infrastructure, social matters, and political matters. Being far from the country you can hear of different things but being on the ground is a different thing. I had a chance to talk to some investors and what I noticed is that all of them were surprised of what has been achieved. This is a country doing its way and Africa can be proud if you have good governance. It’s is a matter of leadership; responsibility and a lot will be done. This country has come a long way. 10 years ago, everything was almost lost. Coming from that point and what has been achieved in a short time, any African country would be proud of what has been done.

Ambassador Haidara presenting his credentials to President Donald Trump.Relations between Cote d'Ivoire and the US are in good shape.

Ambassador Haidara presenting his credentials to President Donald Trump.Relations between Cote d’Ivoire and the US are in good shape.

Pan African Visions: Let’s talk a little now about investment opportunities in your country. What are some of the exciting sectors that you think investors should take a look at?

Ambassador Haidara: Agriculture is very important. We are a big agribusiness country. We are a big producer and first producer of cocoa beans in the world and we produce almost four per cent of the world supply of cocoa beans. We produce around two million tons, while Ghana is produces one million tons. We are the first producer of the world in cash nuts. We produce more than 750 000 tons per year. 5 to 10 years ago, we were producing almost 100, 000 tons. There are opportunities for investors to come and take advantage of the availability of the processing of the products. In cocoa we are only processing 30 per cent of our output; we need to process more as there are rooms to improve the processing. In cashew, we are only processing 10 per cent of this output. There is room also in terms of investment. There are lots of things that can be done in Ivory Coast.

Ivory Coast wants to be a major player in the world. We have a goal to become an emerging country by 2020 and we are one year from there now. The need for investment is huge and there is also room for investment in terms of infrastructure. Investors do not need to be afraid because our debt to growth ratio is one of the lowest in the continent. We are only 47 per cent of debt to GDP. That’s a very a good figure. In the U.S, they are more than a hundred per cent of debt to ratio.

Pan African Visions: When we talk about investment in Africa, there are a number of complaints we hear from investors. We hear about corruption, administrative bottleneck, insecurity, infrastructure problems and many others. So how is the investment climate like in Ivory Coast?

Ambassador Haidara: We have been tagged to be one of the top 10 reformers of investment climate for two or three previous years now. That’s a lot as work has been done to improve the investment climate. There is no perfect investment climate as you have to work and we are working on it. I think the investors are very comfortable with the investment climate. Good policies attract investors to come to your country and I think we have been lucky to have that.

Pan African Visions: Before Mr. Ouattara became president, he had this image of a good financial reformer with his background in the IMF, how much of credit does he get for the development that has taken place in Ivory Coast in the last ten years?

Ambassador Haidara: I have had a chance to be at the place he came from such as the IMF and the World Bank and they are very respectful of his achievements. I think there was a very big expectation for him to deliver and I think he did that and they way we have had investment opportunities and support from these institutions means a lot. Working with these institutions is an indicator that means you are running your country well. It is not like you have a good relationship or personal relationship with them but it is a matter of judgment of your economic health. That’s important and I think they (World Bank and IMF) are very proud of him and we too are proud of what he has been doing.

Pan African Visions:  Ambassador Haidara thank you very much and as we wrap up this interview, can you make a last speech to investors. Why should they pick Ivory Coast as their investment destination?

Ambassador Haidara: I think Ivory Coast is a hub; the investment climate is very good. The asset of Ivory is located in the regions and Ivory Coast belongs to an economic zone such as WAEMU, ECOWAS. In ECOWAS, Ivory Coast is a leading country in terms of economic structure. So it is easy to do business with Ivory Coast, and it is easy to move in and out to all the surrounding countries. It means you have access to other markets. From Ivory Coast you can have a 2-hour flight to Nigeria, 45 minutes to Ghana, 2 hours to Senegal and 1 hour to Mali. It is easy for investors to come to Ivory Coast and take advantage of the investment climate, take advantage of the good infrastructure, and the good living conditions. It is also an opportunity to expand your business from Ivory Coast to other countries; we are talking about more than 100 million inhabitants in the WAEMU, and 300 million for ECOWAS market. We want to invite the investors to come and see for themselves and especially during the AGOA forum.

Pan African Visions: Ambassador Haidara, thanks for granting this interview.

Ambassador Haidara: Thank you. Merci

*Interview Published in June Issue of PAV Magazine.

 

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SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS ANNOUNCES SUMMER SAVINGS TO SOUTH AFRICA STARTING FROM $1499* ROUNDTRIP
June 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

Fort Lauderdale, FL (June 24, 2019) –For travelers still waiting to make their summer vacations plans, South African Airways (SAA) announces the perfect getaway with special low faresto South Africa starting from $1499* roundtrip. SAA’s Summer Savings to Africa fares are offered from New York-JFK International Airport to Johannesburg, starting from $1499* roundtrip (restrictions apply) and to Cape Town from $1579* roundtrip (restrictions apply). This sale is offered for a limited time only and tickets must be purchased by July 17, 2019 for travel commencing on or before August 10, 2019.

“Our Summer Savings to South Africa sale offer you the perfect opportunity to visit two inspiring destinations in South Africa, Johannesburg and Cape Town, each presenting a flavor and charm of their own, but always dynamic, welcoming and exhilarating.” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president, North America, for South African Airways. He added, “Our special fares coupled with the extremely favorable exchange rate for the U.S. dollar make this summer the perfect season to explore South Africa.”

South African Airways is one of Africa’s most awarded airlines, having been honored with a 4-star rating for 17 consecutive years by Skytrax. With the most daily flights from the U.S. to South Africa, South African Airways offers nonstop service from New York-JFK Airport and direct service from Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to Johannesburg via Accra, Ghana or Dakar, Senegal. Onboard, SAA offers an in-flight experience that reflects the warmth of Africa and designed for pure comfort for long-haul travel. Travelers enjoy a spacious Economy Class cabin, a delicious choice of meals, a wide selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines, and generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive programming menu of newly released movies, music choices, and games. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75 destinations across the African continent and Africa’s Indian Ocean islands.

To book these sale fares or for additional information, travelers should visit www.flysaa.com, call SAA Reservations at 1-(800) 722-9675 or contact their professional travel advisor. As one of the leading airlines in Africa, SAA also offers low fares from the U.S. and Canada to a variety of other exciting and experiential destinations throughout continent.

About South African Airways
South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinations worldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada, JetBlue Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, which offer convenient connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 17 consecutive years.

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A Look at What Facebook’s New Currency ‘Libra’ Mean for Africa
June 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

One of the biggest companies in the world Facebook recently laid bare its plans to launch its own digital currency. The currency which Facebook calls ‘Libra’ is set to launch in the first half of next year.

In revealing the news about Libra, Facebook said that the digital currency is et to be handled by a company called Calibra. Calibra is a subsidiary of Facebook whose operations are going to be overseen by the Libra Association, an association made up of founding companies that have already thrown their weight behind Libra to the tune of $10 million each.

Some of the key takeaways stated by Facebook when it revealed plans for the launch of Libra include:

  • The digital currency to be accessible through a Calibra standalone app, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger
  • The currency will have its own e-wallet going by the name Calibra
  • For account verification purposes, users will need to provide a government-issued ID
  • The e-wallet is to be loaded electronically by converting local currencies into Libra or via third party wallet apps
  • Valuation is still to be determined but Facebook wants to rate it at an equivalent rate of I Libra to I USD
  • At first, the Calibra e-wallet will support peer-to-peer payments and a few other ways to pay such as QR codes which small merchants can use to accept payments in Libra. Over time there will be many others including in-store payments, integrations into point-of-sale systems, and more
  • The digital currency will not be fully operated by Facebook…there are other partners which include MasterCard, Uber, and Andreessen Horowitz
  • Developers will be able to build stuff using Libra blockchain tech

Having followed closely the new about the new digital currency from Facebook, Pan African Visions did some digging with the intention of unravelling Libra’s implications to Africa.

The biggest advantage that Libra will bring to Africa is convenience when it comes to the remittances front. Facebook says that Libra aims at empowering unbanked people across the world by providing access to the global financial system. This including Africa of course. While this is an ambitious target given the sheer size of the percentage population of unbanked people in the world in general and Africa in particular, the remarkable work that Facebook has done in creating its 2 billion users network shows that the company can achieve even the most extreme ambitious targets. This coupled with the fact that Facebook is partnering with other giants which include Uber, Spotify and Mastercard to Naspers—Africa’s most valuable company only serves to rubberstamp the idea that Libra will come to fruition and will prosper.

With respect to Libra’s success, Facebook says “Success will mean that a person working abroad has a fast and simple way to send money to family back home.” In the company’s best-case scenario, Libra will serve as a more effective cross-border money transfer service based on the promise of speed, lower costs and increased convenience for both senders and receivers.

While this may sound like an ominous threat to the existence of already established money transfer services, Laolu Samuel-Biyi, director at Sure Remit, a crypto-based remittance service that allows users send money for specific purposes through closed loop vouchers said “Libra will cannibalize the business of traditional remittance companies, but it will not immediately replace them… The risk arises when Libra gets saturated enough to the point that people are comfortable holding and accepting it, that they don’t need to buy with fiat or sell into their local currency.”

 

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Top Gambia General Accepts Beating Soldiers in Prison
June 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Brigadier General Alhagie Martin and former AFPRC Junta vice chairman Sana Sabally .pIC credit Gambiana

Brigadier General Alhagie Martin and former AFPRC Junta vice chairman Sana Sabally .pIC credit Gambiana

Top Army General of the Gambia Armed Forces has confessed to torturing the former vice chairman Sanna B Sabally, late junta member Sadibu Hydara and a serving Lieutenant Colonel Baboucarr Sanyang during their detention at Mile Two but refused using harmer and electrocute on them.

Brigadier General, Alhagie Martin was testifying before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission on Thursday after his name had been mentioned by many witnesses whom told the Commission that ‘he (Martin) tortured them.’

“Beating was the status quo at that time because that time the November 11 had happened and coups and counter coups were the order of the day,” he said.

On the case of Sanna Sabally, he said “he was beaten butt stroked, kicked, he was beaten mercilessly”

“When we ask you at that time and you refused to talk you will be beaten until you prove to be innocent,” he added.

However, he asked for forgiveness from the family of Sanna Sabally, Lt Colonel Baboucarr Sanyang and the late Sadibu Hydara, and the entire nation to forgive him.

“I regret all we were going by order because at that time you have to do it otherwise you will go…. I apologise to the family of Sanna Sabally, Lt Colonel Baboucarr Sanyang, RSM Jeng and Sadibu Hydara,” he asked for forgiveness.

On the 2006 coup, he said his team was sent to the National Intelligent Agency headquarters in 2006 to observe the case of the alleged coupis for Jammeh.

“We were there to observe Yahya Jammeh and ‘Jugulars’ were responsible for arresting especially during Ndure Cham’s era to Mile Two and take you back to NIA,” he said.

He said if a person refused to answer questions the ‘jugulars’ will took that person out and tortured and be brought you back, adding that the team of investigators would knew that the person had been ‘well taken care of.’

He told the Commission that “no one dare was there to stop the jugulars from touring, coup attempt you must say something failing to say something you will dance to the tune.”

“They will beat you to confirm whether you are part of the coup and write a statement,” he said.

He named people in the panel to had included Hydara from the NIA, from the State House I was there and Lt Almamo and Lt Musa Jammeh, Tombul Tamba was with the jugulars Mustapha Sanneh, Nuha Badjie, Modou Lamin Jarju alias Rambo, Correa.

 

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Drafting of national security, security sector reform underway in Kanilai
June 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Security Adviser to the President Momodou Badjie

Security Adviser to the President Momodou Badjie

The Gambia government has launched a five day retreat for drafting of the national security and security sector reform.

The five day retreat that commenced on Monday at Sindola hotel in Kanilai aims at stimulating rich discussion among the 20 drafters around the drafting of the document.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, security adviser to the president Momodou Badjie said the retreat would help to intensify the work of the committee.

“It is also envisage that the retreat will provide a conducive environment and equally serve as a platform that will help us to critically examine our national security issue and help in collating views, opinions and ideas in search for appropriate solutions,” he said.

He said that the retreat will also help the country’s response to the challenges of its national security, adding “the retreat will help us to archive a consensus around the drafting of the document.”

Mr. Badjie described the retreat as very important in ensuring a come up with the strategists documents to address the policy issue and find solutions to ‘malfunctions and gaps that are noted in the assessment report.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also speaking, special adviser to President Barrow, Mai Ahmed Fatty tasked the drafters “to produce robust comprehensive strategists to guide the government and all the national security partners and stakeholders in the interest of our new implementation in the new national security policy.”

He described the recently launched of the national security sector policy a commitment and priority of the government to transforming the security sector.

Hon. Fatty said the security policy ‘should be a framework’ describing how the country shall provide security for the government, nation and citizens.

Representing the ECOWAS President, General Tijani Golau expressed with delight about the retreat, describing the formulation of the documents as timely saying ‘as Gambia moves into a new phase of economic growth and societal development following 22-years of authoritarian and repressive rule in the Gambia.’

“This process paved the way and chance to advance first strategists and ideas that will distinguish the Gambia globally throughout its ability to rebuild the security institutions and maximum effect for assurance of peace security in the country,” General Tijani said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gambia:Ex Army Officer Apologizes To Victims
June 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Adama Makasuba

Pa Modou Sarr

Pa Modou Sarr

Pa Modou Sarr, a retired army officer of Gambia Armed Forces has apologized and sought forgiveness from his victims and the entire country for his inhumane action committed against them.

Mr. Sarr was testifying before the Truth Reconciliation and Reparation Commission on Thursday.

“What I did is very wrong I knew about it I am apologizing to colonel Baboucarr Sanyang and every Gambians and none Gambians, it was not my intention I am asking for forgiveness,” he sought pardon.

He laid into Gambia Army General Alagie Martin saying “I can only blamed Martin for all this mess because he was the one who brought us into this”

 

 

However, he admitted of taking part in the torture of imprisoned soldiers at Gambia’s notorious prison- Mile Two.

The soldiers whom he admitted to have had participated in their torture are former vice chairman Sanna B Sabally, late Sadibu Hydara and Lt Colonel Baboucarr Sanyang.

He said that his team includes Gambia Army General Alagie Martin, retired army officer Lamin Senghore alias ‘assassin’ Omar Ndure and others whom he claimed to have forgotten their names.

“Martine gave me a plastic bag and said you see how we were doing I said yes, and he said do and I took the nylon bag and put over Warrant Officer Sanyang for a second and Martin told me to remove it,” he said.

He added “the prison officer opened the door and we entered and Manlafing brought him out while his hands were tied behind and, they ask him to sit down and he do so and that is the time they started putting the plastic bag over his head. They said Sanna you were trying to overthrow the Chairman and Sanna will say negative never but they don’t want to hear that.”

He said the motive of that punishment was to propel Sanna Sabally to comply with them, adding “all of them except him participated in kicking and mounting Sanna Sabally.”

“I was lying on the bed and Malafing came and hit me and said man come—go join the vehicle and at the vehicle Alagie Martine was sitting in front of the vehicle,” he said.

He accepted that while at Mile Two each of them were having a rifle and a plastic bag but refuted having any other weapons like harmer, electric box and other.

“Everybody was having his rifle and plastic bags but I didn’t see any one with a tool,” he said.

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