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Sierra Leone: Senesie Foundation donates Le 80m worth of school materials to vulnerable children in Moyamba District
October 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

As way of complementing government’s Free Quality Education, in the country, the Senesie Youth Empowerment Foundation, based in the United States of America (USA) on Monday 12th October, 2020 donated 80 million Leones worth of school materials to vulnerable children in ten schools through its Youth Empowerment Project learning material support to the less privilege in Moyamba district, Southern Sierra Leone.

The donated items include one thousand school bags, and one thousand 80 pages’ exercise books.

 Presenting the donation, Country Rep Senesie Foundation in Sierra Leone, Amadu Kamara, said that education is fundamental for any country’s development and that investing and supporting education is very important thus the launching of the Free Quality Education by President Bio in order to attain the Sustainable Development Goals sets out by the United Nations.

“We see it as way of giving back, like they say, charity begins at home even though we are thinking nationally, we see it to begin here. This is the second programme we are doing here at Moyamba district as a foundation.  During the covid -19 we provided one hundred bags of rice, maggie, salt, tomatoes to vulnerable people to relieve their burden,’’ he said.

He said that the donation targeted ten schools in the Moyamba district with each of the school receiving one hundred bags and one hundred books as part of the one thousand vulnerable school children targeted as a way of helping them with school materials.

He added that the focus of the foundation is education, helping children to go to school and to support government’s Free Quality Education Scheme adding that as a foundation they decided to help the children in the Moyamba district as the founder of the foundation, Senesie is a born of the district and wants to give back to his district and help especially the vulnerable in the area of education.

“Now that schools have re-opened, and our aim is to support education, so we went to the drawing board and decided what to do , even though government is supporting  free quality education, but  there are children out here basic things could make them not to go to school like school bags , unlike adults who cannot drop out of school as a result of school bag because they know the value of education but children drop out ,’’Amadu Kamara said ,  adding that thus the reason for them to donate bags and books to six secondary school and four primary in the district.

The Senesie Foundation Rep called on the children to take their work seriously and to make good use of the learning materials given to them adding that they will continue to support education in the country.

  Chairman Moyamba District Council Joseph B Mbogba on his part, praised the initiative as a laudable venture in complementing the President’s Free Quality education stating that the government cannot do it alone as they need partners and other organisation or foundations like these to come in and support the governments initiative thus the reason the foundation sees the need to support one thousand school children with bags and books in Moyamba district.

“we know the areas which the Free Quality covers and we know those other areas that it is not covering, so they came in to support. we believe that this is a laudable venture and we are believing that, you all that are here needed these bags and book. I want to admonish you all, because us as Sierra Leoneans we do not value anything which they give to us free, I advise you to take care good care of them.’’ he said.

He said that the way the beneficiaries will utilised the learning materials for its purpose, will encourage the donors to help them and do more, stating that the Khulafia Rashideen Islamic Secondary School needed a lots of facelifts, from chairs, benches and a host of other things but said with small kind gesture, it will help in some ways.

“On behalf of council and the people of Moyamba district we will like to express our sincere thanks to the Senesie Foundation for this kind gesture. This is a pay back and this is what we want to see other indigenes of Moyamba district that are out there to come and support the President’s vision and to support the district especially the vulnerable children,’’ Chairman Moyamba District Council Joseph B Mbogba added.

The Principal of Khulafia Rashideen Islamic Secondary School, Moyamba Town, Abdul Razak Kargbo, whose school benefitted from the donation thank the foundation for donating books and bags to one hundred vulnerable children in his school adding that it would help them a lot as some of them do not have money to buy bags as things are very difficult for some of their families.

“Words are just difficult to come by, I feel very good, very elated for what I have seen here today especially from the Senesie Family we are not expecting such, we only received the message last week, for us to identify vulnerable pupils and today they have received the help. A big job well done by the Senesie Family,’’ he said, whilst urging the pupils to take good care of the learning materials that have been given to them as such kind of gesture and kindness is difficult to come by.

He said as a school they are challenged in lots of areas like adequate school materials, chairs, benches and most especially the issue of his school compound as people have started encroaching on the school’s land adding that if that continues, in the future that will cause a lots of problem for the school and therefore ask for help from the council.

Lydia Senesie, Headmistress United Methodist Church (UMC) Salina Primary School thanked the foundation for bringing the donation to her school and helping the less privilege who finds it difficult to get school bags to go to school adding that the donation was timely as the school has just re-opened.

Rashida Amara, Pupil of Khulafia Rashideen secondary school, one of the beneficiaries of the donation, expressed thanks and appreciation to the Foundation for helping them with school materials and promised that she will use the donated items for its intended purpose.

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EU Ambassador Lajos-EU Will Continue To Support Gambia’s Transition– Ambassador
October 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

President Adama Barrow received the outgoing European Union Ambassador to The Gambia, His Excellency Attila Lajos at the State House in Banjul on 12th October 2020.

Having spent almost five years as the EU delegate resident in the country, he was at the State House to bid farewell to the Gambian President.

Talking to the media, the Ambassador said “The Gambia’s transition ran a long way,” adding “it was remarkable that The Gambia has decided on a democratic change that the EU wanted to support since the beginning.”

He, however, stated that “transition is difficult as it is anywhere in the world but The Gambia stays on the path of democratic transformation.”

Ambassador Lajos pledged that the European Union will support the country to complete its transition as a reliable partner.

At the bilateral level, Ambassador Lajos described the relationship between the EU and The Gambia as “intense with two Presidential meetings annually,” enforcing the relationship since the 2016 Presidential elections.

During the meeting, President Barrow expressed appreciation of the support the European Union has provided to the country and its National Development Plan.

It could be recalled that the EU was amongst the first partners who committed to support the country immediately President Barrow came to Office.   It led the Donors Conference in Brussels in 2018 and provided the government with Budget support, infrastructure development, the Security Sector Reforms and most notably, the Youth Enterprise Project- YEP, which benefits many young people.

*State House Gambia

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Dr Christopher Fomunyoh on how to reverse the trend of Democratic Backsliding sweeping across Africa
October 12, 2020 | 1 Comments

By Amos Fofung

West Africa is no longer the trailblazer it used to represent in the continent,says Dr Fomunyoh

US-based Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate & Regional Director for Central and West Africa at the National Democratic Institute, NDI, has indicted some African states for failing to uphold democratic principles thus contributing to the chronic democratic backslide that has swept across Africa for the last decade.

In his presentation dubbed “Democratic Backsliding in Sub-Saharan Africa before US Congress House of Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, he listed democratic states which has over the years waved goodbye to democracy due to tendencies adopted by heads of states. He was however optimistic is stating that all hopes were not lost as these tendencies could be reversed.

Addressing the committee on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, Dr. Fomunyoh who has put in over twenty-five years at the NDI, stated that West Africa is no longer the trailblazer it used to represent in the continent. Stating that there are now fewer democracies in Africa than was twenty years ago, Dr. Fomunyoh pointed to the fact that with Mali experiencing a military coup and the controversies of incumbent presidents in Guinea Conakry and Ivory Coast, the faith of West Africa’s democracy is swinging on a rope. 

“From 2019, the democratic trends have reversed with less democratic nations in Africa now than there was in the 90s,” the political scientist cum civic advocate on African politics and democracy told the house session chaired by Karen Bass.

In his testimony before the house, Dr. Chirs Fomunyoh stated that West Africa formerly seen as the model for democracy is now sliding towards a downwards trajectory with far devastating consequences should care not be taken. To him, the downward trend could see West Africa, regarded as a harbinger of peace in Africa become like Central Africa noted for hosting most world autocrats.

“Regrettably, by 2019, democratic trends reversed, and there are now fewer democracies in Africa than was the case 20 years ago. Notably, West Africa, previously commended as a trailblazer region, has seen serious backsliding as Mali experienced a military coup, and major controversies have arisen about the candidacies for reelection of incumbent presidents in Guinea Conakry and Côte d’Ivoire,” he said before adding that.

“African democrats face a growing, complicit and dangerous web of internal and external conditions and actors that aggressively seek to thwart their democratic aspirations in favor of authoritarian opportunism.”

The Cameroonian-born democracy expert who has mediated protest and election-related conflicts across Africa noted that the outbreak of coronavirus has further sunk democracy in the agile continent. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not helped, as it has slowed or impeded election preparations, and generated fears that in some countries with national elections scheduled to take place before the end of the year, incumbents would abuse emergency powers to limit freedoms of expression and assembly and further shrink political space. Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Niger and Tanzania, while parliamentary elections initially scheduled for this year in Ethiopia have been postponed indefinitely.”

On what is responsible for such downward trend, the international recognized Dr. Fomunyoh who has also designed and supervised country-specific democracy support programs with civic organizations, political parties, and legislative bodies in over a dozen African countries said they are a mélange of both domestic and foreign ingredients that play against Africa’s democratic growth.

He listed factors such as fragility of instruments of governance, modification or removal of constitutional term limits such as in 2008, in Cameroon when incumbent president Paul Biya in his 26th year in office, forced through a constitutional amendment to eliminate term limits so he could stay in power.

He went ahead to add that the correlation between disregard of constitutional norms and authoritarianism, lack of renewal of political leadership and state capture, violent extremism, foreign intervention of some governments such as Russia and China’s which he describes as both bullish and assertive and the presence of fragile constitutional frameworks all play against democracy in Africa.

On how to reverse the trajectory, Dr. Fomunyoh pushed for the United States to focus its support towards African youths and technology, an increase in the number of Women with access to political power and decision-making, and the adoption of continent-wide and regional norms and legal instruments in support of democracy and good governance.

Africa must intensify building synergistic national and regional networks of democracy advocates and champions to consolidate best practices,says  Dr Fomunyoh pictured here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Nicephore Soglo of Benin.
Africa must intensify building synergistic national and regional networks of democracy advocates and champions to consolidate best practices,says Dr Fomunyoh pictured here with former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Nicephore Soglo of Benin.

Quizzed by the committee chair on his recommendations, Dr. Fomunyoh urged Ivorians to go into the 2020 elections and ensure that they do not make the same mistakes they did in 2010. He added that there is a need to revamp US policies and focus them on African 35 years or younger who constitution 75% of the 1.4 billion population in the continent. 

To the international community, he called for the institution of global platforms within the United Nations systems including within the UN security council to put an end to human rights violations. “Africans themselves need to build synergies, national and regional networks to consolidate best practices and enhance peer-to-peer learning and also invest in empowering women and youth as leaders to safeguard and promote better democratic performance,” he said before further recommending that;

U.S. Policy makers: 

Revamp U.S.-Africa policy with a view to consolidating investments made over the past three decades in building democratic institutions and fostering governance principles and practices that improve the wellbeing of citizens. 

● Envisage the amplified use of incentives, but also punitive measures such as targeted sanctions against regime leaders and political elites that perpetuate gross human rights violations and atrocities against their own people, and hence trigger violence and armed conflict that decimate the material and human capital of their countries. 

● Prioritize initiatives that support women, youth and other underrepresented or marginalized groups that are the most vulnerable, and hence most likely to be disaffected by the state and to lose faith in the direct and societal benefits of democracy. 

● Calibrate U.S.-Africa engagement to focus intensely on the generation of 35 years and younger as they form the African youth bulge and are, significantly, the generation that has come of age with the democracy wave of the 1990s and beyond. 

To the international community at large: 

● Amplify public diplomacy on measures that strengthen democracy and good governance, as they also are preventive pillars to global crises such as illegal migration, violent extremism, human trafficking and transnational crime. 

● Be consistent in bilateral and multilateral engagements with African countries so as to avoid double standards and elite-driven relationships hampering democratization efforts across the continent. 

● Provide access to global platforms within the United Nations system, including the UN Security Council for substantive discussions on the wellbeing of Africans and an end to the gross atrocities and human rights violation that are a plague on the human conscience. 

Dr. Fomunyoh urges the U.S to focus its support towards African youths and technology, an increase in the number of Women with access to political power and decision-making
Dr. Fomunyoh urges the U.S to focus its support towards African youths and technology, an increase in the number of Women with access to political power and decision-making

To African democrats: 

● Intensify building synergistic national and regional networks of democracy advocates and champions to consolidate best practices and enhance peer-to-peer learning and support in the pursuit of more just and open societies. 

● Enhance regional diplomatic cross-sectorial engagements, including with statesmen and women, legislators, and regional judicial entities to obtain greater commitments to democratic norms enshrined in regional and subregional charters. 

● Invest heavily in empowering youth and women as leaders with the vision, skills and commitment to safeguard and promote greater and better democratic performance across the continent.  

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Mozambique:EU to help army in fight against terrorists
October 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The EU is to train Mozambique’s armed forces and give humanitarian aid to help stop terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado, where a violent rebellion entered its fourth year this month, having so far claimed more than 2,000 lives and displaced at least 300,000 civilians.

Last month Mozambique asked the European Union for support in tackling a wave of militant attacks in the country’s north by rebels with links to Islamic State, a conflict that has raised fears for stability and security in southern Africa.

The EU gave a positive response to Mozambique’s request for assistance, Ambassador Antonio Sanchez-Benedito Gaspar said in an October 9 statement. Mozambique had asked for help with logistics, training and humanitarian aid in September, he said.

There have been suggestions of a link between the country’s natural resources, with gas and rubies thought to have

played a role in driving some youths towards militancy.

Companies including Total SE plan to spend as much as $60 billion on liquefied natural gas projects in Cabo Delgado province, where Islamic State-linked militants have captured major towns.

The government has struggled to contain the worsening violence, and has relied on private military companies in the war.

It also came amid accusations of human rights abuses by Mozambican authorities in the northern conflict zone.

Amnesty International reported earlier this month it had seen videos showing soldiers in government uniforms committing atrocities against alleged fighters in Cabo Delgado.

Mozambique’s defence ministry dismissed the report, saying militants regularly impersonated soldiers.

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More than 130 applicants to compete in Africa’s solar awards
October 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Solar companies and solar individuals have responded with great interest to the inaugural AFSIA Solar Awards competition, the African solar industry’s premier awards ceremony.

  More than 130 entries have been received for this competition, coming from all corners of the continent.

Each application is currently under review and is being evaluated by an independent Jury composed of some of the best African and international experts in solar in Africa, including Eng. Lamya Abdel Hady, Head of Sector Private Projects at EETC in Egypt, Mr Saho, Acting Executive Director of ECREEE in Cape Verde and Mrs Jasandra Nyker, Managing Director of Denham Capital in South Africa to cite a few.

Fifteen  categories are in competition this year, with some of them receiving a very high level of interest. Not surprisingly, the most competitive categories this year include “C&I Project of the Year” and “Mini-Grid Project of the Year”, which is reflective of the increased activity of both of these segments of the African solar industry. “Woman in Solar of the Year” has also been particularly popular among participants. This highlights the very positive trend of the growing involvement of women in the solar industry across the continent.

The awards ceremony is organized in collaboration with the AEF (Africa Energy Forum) and will be conducted online on October 29th, 2020.

This year and given exceptional circumstances, AEF is joining forces with the African Utility Week & POWERGEN Africa plus Oil & Gas Council’s Africa Assembly this October to host a ‘Digital Africa Energy Festival’ – the largest ever energy event for the African continent.

AFSIA Solar Awards is delighted to be hosted by this much respected programme and to unveil the winners during a digital ceremony on October 29th.

The event promises to be a great show celebrating exceptional achievement in the solar industry and will host several African stars to personally award the prizes.

Several leaders of the global industry such as Huawei, Trina Solar and Jinko Solar are also providing their support to make this a truly exceptional event.

Africa is characterized by the wide and rich diversity of solar projects and applications. Contrarily to other regions, we find all kinds of solar applications in Africa ranging from large-scale solar parks to solar home systems, from grid-connected residential systems to off-grid hospitals and schools, from basic PV systems to solar-powered applications such as street lighting, solar irrigation, refrigeration or cook stoves to name a few.

The AFSIA Solar Awards 2020 will see companies and individuals battle it out to win the title in 15 different categories:

  • Utility Scale Solar Project of the Year
  • C&I Solar Project of the Year
  • Mini-grid Solar Project of the Year
  • SHS Solar Project of the Year
  • Residential Solar Project of the Year
  • African Solar Company of the Year
  • African solar entrepreneur/SME of the year
  • Financial Advisor / Consultant of the Year
  • Legal Advisor / Consultant of the Year
  • Technical Consultant of the Year
  • DFI of the Year
  • Woman in solar of the Year
  • Solar Innovation of the Year
  • Solar Picture of the Year
  • Solar Video of the Year

Applications to the AFSIA Solar Awards will be evaluated by some of the most experienced professionals of the African solar industry. These experts will review every application independently and will select the best ones in each category.

This year the jury will be composed of Eng. Lamya Abdel Hady, Head of Sector Private Projects, EETC (Egypt), Bah F.M. Saho, Executive Director, ECREEE (Cape Verde), Jo Dean, Board Member, SAPVIA (South Africa), Jasandra Nyker Managing Director, Denham Capital (South Africa), Aaron Leopold, CEO, AMDA – Africa Minigrid Developers Association (Kenya), Linda Munyengeterwa, Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure, IFC (South Africa), Izael Da Silva, PhD, Deputy Vice-Chancellor – Research and Innovation Department, Strathmore University (Kenya) and Simon Gosling,  Managing Director, EnergyNet (UK).

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Kenya:Teachers share experiences as schools reopen
October 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Physical learning resumed in Kenya on Monday, 12 October 2020, after a seven-month break occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Learners in grade 4, class 8 and form 4 were the first ones to report back to school following a phased reopening directive issued by the Ministry of Education.

Different teachers across the country have shared what is going on in schools after they have been away from classes for more than two hundred days.

Some complained of boredom while others jokingly said that their hands were shivering while trying to hold the chalk.

In terms of attendance, some schools have witnessed low turn-up of learners whereas in some they came in large numbers and ready to learn.

It also emerged that learners are playing hide and seek game in wearing masks as they put them on only when teachers are watching.

Keeping of social distance has been reported as a challenge owing to insufficient structures in a number of schools.

The learners will be in schools until Decembe23 when the second term ends before proceeding to a one-week Christmas break.

The third term will begin on January 4, 2021, and run-up to March 19.

Class eight candidates will sit for their exams from March 22 to 24 with form fours sitting for their exams beginning March 25.

Speaking at Nairobi’s Olympic Primary School on Monday, Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Professor George Magoha ordered the school heads to keep on the record of learners with pre-existing health conditions so that necessary attention can be given to them.

“I urge principals and teachers to compile a list of learners with preexisting conditions for example children with asthma so that the necessary attention can be given to them,” said Magoha.

The CS also asked the school heads both in public and private schools not to send learners home on account of school fees.

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Kenya:Internet data consumption hits high between April and June
October 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

More Kenyans used the internet between April and June when the country was in a partial lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While releasing its fourth-quarter financial report for 2019/2020, the Communication Authority (CA) reported a 5.1 percent data usage growth during the period.

The demand for information online saw the increase of internet subscriptions jump from 39 million to 41 million.

“The number of data/Internet subscriptions continued to grow due to increased demand for access to information online, coupled with the transfer of more services to the digital space,” said CA.

The number of people who use videoconferencing services and online stream services also increased.

The access by learners to Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) e-learning content also hit a record him.

Safaricom mobile provides are the most beneficiary in the recent increase in the number of data usage as it registered a 68.7 percent increase.

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U.S. “Denies” Military Intervention in Cameroon but maintains stance on open dialogue without pre-conditions
October 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

  Security forces patrolling Muyuka, a town in the South West Region of Cameroon, the US calls both sides to the conflict in the NW and SW to abjure further violence and open dialogue without pre-conditions
Security forces patrolling Muyuka, a town in the South West Region of Cameroon, the US calls both sides to the conflict in the NW and SW to abjure further violence and open dialogue without pre-conditions

The US Embassy has categorically denied what it terms as “fake news stories” about a possible military intervention in Cameroon. In a press release, the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon refuted claims that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, allegedly made regarding supposedly military intervention in Cameroon.

“The United States has no such interest or intention,” The U.S. Embassy in Cameroon stated. “Ambassador Craft did not comment about Cameroon in the recent periods indicated in the stories and she has never stated or implied that the United States would consider military intervention of any nature in Cameroon.”

Ambassador Craft, along with other U.S. officials, has occasionally raised concerns about humanitarian needs and human rights violations and abuses in Cameroon.

“Similarly, contrary to claims in recent fake news stories, neither the U.S. Senate nor the full U.S. Congress has held debates on or taken any action to approve, any U.S. intervention in Cameroon,” the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon stated.   

Cameroon for over four years has been locked in fighting between government forces and separatist fighters in the country’s South West and North West Regions. The latter is seeking to create an independent state called “Ambazonia”.

More than 437,000 people have been displaced due to the war, according to estimates from the UN. Some are refugees in neighbouring countries like Nigeria while others have chosen to go to other parts of the country like Douala, Yaounde, and Baffoussam. 

Human rights groups have accused both government forces and separatists of attacking civilians and burning down schools, carrying out torture, rape and other offences.

The U.S., Britain, France, AU, UN have been called upon to look into the problems in Cameroon, and to look for ways to bring an end to the violence. Members of the U.S. Senate introduced a non-binding resolution on September 7 expressing concern about human rights violations in Cameroon and calling for an end to violence, the resolution did, however, not call for intervention. 

The U.S. Embassy further stated that there have been no stories published by U.S. news outlets to support the claims of these fake stories. The U.S. has been urging both parties to the dialogue table to try and resolve issues for a peaceful end to the violence. “Concerning the Anglophone crisis, as a friend and partner of Cameroon, the position of the United States remains constant,” the U.S. Embassy stated. 

“We call on both sides to the conflict in the Northwest and Southwest to abjure further violence and to enter into an open-ended dialogue without pre-conditions.”

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Defence Minister Warns Gambians to Take Care of Peace
October 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Minister of Defence Omar Faye
Minister of Defence Omar Faye

Hon. Sheikh Omar Faye, Gambia’s Defence Minister has warned Gambians to take the peace and stability of the country seriously and not for granted.

Speaking to journalists on the six months extension of the ECOMIG Forces in The Gambia, Minister Faye denied claims of disgruntlement within the national army for the extension of the sub-regional forces mandate.

The sub-regional bloc ECOWAS leaders have approved President Barrow’s request for an extension of the ECOMIG Forces in The Gambia, during the recent ECOWAS Summit held at Niamey, Benin.

“Gambians are taking peace for granted,” the Defence Minister stated.

The former Military Officer cum Diplomat has refuted the claims of disgruntlement within the ranks of the National Army, saying the security are so happy under the current administration.

“Imagine over hundred people have a million in the bank, they have houses and cars…this has never happened before…how could they not be happy,” said Minister Faye.

He explained that  training packages offered to the officers to different places around the world, including Sandhurst amongst others.

“Security Sector reform is not an event but it is a process,” he posited.

He adduced that the process might take longer than his term in office, saying there is no need to rush up things just to start everything all over again as it happened in some of the neighbouring countries. He urged the people to exercise patience and restraint from making inflammatory statements.

He explained that the expiry of the six months extension of the ECOMIG mandate, the sub-regional leaders would come together to assess the situation in the country to decide what to do.

Defence Minister has strongly called on Gambians to be accommodating to the sub-regional troops who are serving the interest of the country.

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The Gambia to Strengthen Health Care Delivery in the Face of COVID-19
October 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

 Feyifolu Boroffice, World Bank Resident Representative to The Gambia.
Feyifolu Boroffice, World Bank Resident Representative to The Gambia.

WASHINGTON, October 9, 2020 – The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved a $30 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA)* to improve the quality and utilization of essential health services in The Gambia. 

The Essential Health Services Strengthening Project will provide performance-based financing grants to health facilities, scale up community engagement to improve utilization of quality health services; and build resilient and sustainable health systems to support the delivery of quality health services.  This will include the renovation of selected health facilities and the establishment of a national blood transfusion service. 

“The project will build on the success of the Maternal and Child Nutrition and Health Results project and the ongoing COVID-19 Preparedness and Response project to improve access and use of primary health care services for all in The Gambia,” said Feyifolu Boroffice, World Bank Resident Representative to The Gambia.

In the long term, it is expected that the project will help reduce maternal and child mortality, therefore contributing to improve The Gambia’s Human Capital Index. 

For Samuel Mills, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Project“the project would address key constraints to effective health service delivery with a focus on results, thereby contributing to achieving universal health coverage in The Gambia.” 

* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.6 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61 percent going to Africa.

*World Bank

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October 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Amnesty International USA calls upon the Trump administration to refrain from deporting people to Cameroon, as the administration schedules deportations this week from Alexandria Airport in Louisiana. The organization is also concerned about the threat of imminent deportation of Cameroonians now being held at the Prairieland detention center in Texas. The Trump administration’s aggressive anti-immigration policies enforced by ICE would place hundreds and possibly thousands of Cameroonians seeking safety in the Unites States at risk upon their return to the Central African nation. Cameroon is struggling with three concurrent crises:  the widening conflict between the anglophone and the francophone regions; clashes between the government and armed separatists who are demanding greater autonomy; and a culture of impunity to human rights violations that has been created by the 37-year administration of President Paul Biya.

“Given the current conditions in the country, it is extremely likely that anyone who is returned to Cameroon will face a high risk of being detained, beaten, disappeared, tortured, or possibly even killed,” stated Adotei Akwei, Amnesty international USA’s deputy director of Advocacy and Government Relations. “We are calling on the U.S. government to halt all deportations during this deadly pandemic and are alarmed that it is pursuing these deportations to Cameroon. The United States has both a legal and a moral imperative to welcome those fleeing conflict and persecution to the country: Cameroonians have established vibrant and thriving communities in the United States and people in this country are eager to welcome their new neighbors to safety.”


Amnesty International and other international and United States-based human rights organizations have linked the Cameroonian security forces to extrajudicial executions, disappearances, torture, destruction of homes and livelihoods, and arbitrary detention of persons they suspect being members or supporters of Boko Haram or the armed anglophone groups.  Civilians are also consistently targeted by Boko Haram and the armed separatists’ groups on suspicion of being government supporters.

Nearly 700,000 people have been displaced and several thousand have been killed since the conflict began, with over 3.9 million currently in need of humanitarian support.

This week, Freedom for Immigrants, Louisiana Advocates for Immigrants in Detention, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Cameroonian American Council (CAC), Detention Watch Network (DWN), Natchez Network, Haitian Bridge Alliance, and Families for Freedom, together filed a multi-individual complaint with the Department for Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL) and DHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), condemning the agency for deploying excessive force to coerce Cameroonian asylum seekers into signing their own deportation papers. The complaint describes the coercive tactics, including threats of violence, taking of fingerprints while individuals are in restraint, and the use of pepper spray against those who decline to sign their deportation papers. Advocates allege that these abuses are in violation of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the U.S. has ratified, as well as ICE’s own standards.

As part of the #RightsNow! Campaign, Amnesty International USA has called on the United States to halt all deportations during the pandemic. COVID-19 has spread throughout U.S. detention facilities, where people are currently being held in unsanitary, and sometimes deadly, conditions. The U.S. government continues to transfer people between facilities and to deport them to other countries.

Thousands of people have tested positive for COVID-19 in detention, and at least 11 countries have confirmed receiving COVID-positive deported people.


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South Sudan to introduce new currency to fight hyper-inflation
October 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol 

Juba – South Sudan’s government has resolved to replace the South Sudanese Pound with a new currency to mitigate soaring hyperinflation and help recover the ailing economy in the fragile country.

The decision was reached on Friday during cabinet meeting chaired by President Salva Kiir in Juba.

It is not clear what type of currency that South Sudan wants to introduce.

The South Sudanese Pounds has been depreciating drastically following the drop of the country’s oil revenues and irregularities in the collection of non-oil revenue.

Last month, the minister of trade and industry said there is nothing the government can do to stop the local currency from losing value.

This comes after the Central Bank of South Sudan had said the Bank had run out of foreign reserves.

President Salva Kiir then formed an economic crisis management committee to devise ways of revitalizing the economy.

As one of the measures, the economic committee reportedly proposed changing the currency, saying many people are hoarding money in their houses.

“The cabinet has decided that the currency should be changed so that anybody who does not take his money to the bank is left out and they will lose their money,” the government spokesperson, Michael Makuei, told the press on Friday.

“So this is an advice to those who are hoarding South Sudanese money in their houses to hurry [and take] them to the banks. Put them into the banks so that you don’t lose them. Put them into the banks as of now so that you avoid queuing up when the time comes for changing the currency,” he added.

This week, 1 US dollar sells at about 500 South Sudanese Pounds in the black market, while at the Central Bank, $1 dollar sells at 160 pounds.

Consumers have complained of a sharp rise in the prices of basic commodities while traders have also raised concerns over their inability to access hard currency for importing goods.

It is not clear how and when the decision will be effected.

However, the government spokesperson noted that the committee has been tasked to study the plan and report to the cabinet in seven days.

“More decisions will be taken next week when the committee finalizes its work to that effect,” he said.

“This is in order to improve our economic situation and the worse part of it is that our people have been spoiled and they don’t work. They’re accustomed to spoon-feeding and this is why the economy is in the hands of others. This is serious and our people are asked to work,” Makuei added.

The country’s economists have repeatedly called for structural and institutional reforms to address the country’s economic woes.

The government stated that the idea aims to improve economic challenges. 

Reacting to this move, a South Sudanese observers said that the introduction of a new currency will not improve the country’s economy.

“Changing the currency is not going to be the solution for this economic’s crisis. The problem is not with the currency, the problem is with the way our economy is being managed by the leaders,” said Garang Atem, 40-year old, resident of Juba city.

Instead of changing the currency, the observers urges the government to come up with strategies on how to reform the economy situation in the country.

South Sudan, which relies almost exclusively on oil revenues, has not paid civil servants for several months due to a parlous state of its finances.

The country was just emerging from the five-year conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes.

More so, it is not clear, how this will be possible with current violence, flooding that cutoff road accessibility and COVID-19 restrictions to reaches all Country.

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