The African Development Bank appoints Mr. Simon MIZRAHI, Acting Director, Communication and External Relations (PCER)
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
The African Development Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Simon MIZRAHI as Acting Director, Communication and External Relations Department (PCER), effective 16 December 2020.
Simon is a British national who joined the Bank on the 10th of May 2009, as Head of Results Management Division. Before joining the African Development Bank, he worked for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), based in France, as Senior Policy Adviser, Aid Effectiveness Division (2001-2007) and as Deputy Head, Aid Effectiveness (2007-2009).
As Deputy Head at the OECD in charge of aid effectiveness, Simon authored the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action—two landmark agreements adopted by 110 countries and organisations across the world. Prior to this, Simon worked as Director, International Development Consultancy Services (1996-2001) and as a Country Director for Médecins du Monde, Kigali (Rwanda) and Managua (Nicaragua), from 1994 to 1996.
Simon is a seasoned senior executive with more than twenty-five years’ experience delivering strategic leadership on development and development policies. He excels in fast-paced, high-pressure environments and executing complex operations in challenging settings around the world. He has extensive experience in leading policy work and has published on issues central to the development agenda with a strong emphasis on development impact, climate change and development effectiveness.
Simon is currently the Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results. In this capacity he oversees the delivery of results on the Bank’s $10 billion annual investments across the African continent and engages with the Bank’s Board of Directors and donors on the full complexity of the Bank’s development challenges. In the course of his career, Simon has demonstrated a strong capacity for thought leadership, strategic decision-making and delivering bottom-line results.
He holds a Masters of Philosophy degree in Political Sciences and International Relations, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (1991) and a Masters in Politics, Philosophy and Economy (PPE), Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po), France (1990).
Commenting on his appointment President Akinwumi Adesina said “I am pleased that Simon has stepped into this role to provide strong leadership and support for the Department until a substantive Director is appointed. He is known for delivering results and building effective partnerships and networks to effectively communicate and advance the work of the Bank”.
South Sudan launch health security plan to mitigate risks, build strong health sector
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
Juba – South Sudan has launched a four-year health plan to prevent, detect and respond to any public health threats and designed to build the health sector to efficiency in the country.
The 2020-2024 Health Security Plan launched in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) aims to detect and prevent or manage health risks arising from natural disasters like floods, political instability, and diseases such as COVID-19, polio and measles.
The 85-pages National Action Plan for Health Security will cost about $70 millionover the five-year period of its implementation and it is expected to build the national capacity for resiliency.
Mayen Machut Achiek, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Health, said they need more support in order to respond to major disease outbreaks and to establish a strong health system in the restive country.
“What we are embarking on today is risk management to prepare for infectious diseases that are imported across the borders,” said Achiek.
South Sudan has a health system structured with three tiers: Primary Health Care Units PHCU, Primary Health Care Centers PHCC and Hospitals which exist as either state, county, police or military.
The plan is anticipated to maintain a strategic partnership using one-health: all hazards, government and whole of society approach.
“These risks are natural disasters [such as] flooding, which is happening now, insecurity, political archival [which] cause much trauma,” Dr. Machut stated, adding that they want to mitigate risks of “outbreak of infectious diseases that are imported from across the borders.”
The country is also prone to diseases -with meningitis, measles, yellow fever, and whooping cough endemic in many areas.
This is coupled with malaria, river blindness, sleeping sickness, and cholera.
“Most of the time, we focus on humanitarian work. It is important to save lives. But importantly as well, we need to move from there and start to put in place, develop activities and develop intervention that will help this country to really move on,” said Olu.
He described the new National Action Plan for Health Security as a deliberate step “to build a system that can comprehensively respond to outbreaks — not only COVID-19 but several other outbreaks.”
“It is an opportunity for us to strengthen our system. Over time, we have responded to different [disease] outbreaks. It now gives us the opportunity to build a system that can comprehensively respond to outbreaks — not only COVID-19, but several other outbreaks,” said Olu.
Martin Elia Lomuro, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, said the government is keen on improving the poor health infrastructure, human resources and level of preparedness to help respond to disease outbreaks.
Lomuro had also discouraging the practice of traveling abroad for medical treatment, saying there is no need for people to travel for minor procedures when the country has the medical expertise.
“Health security is a holistic approach. This is where we would like to stand with you. We want to encourage young people by leading this plan and by making sure we raise funds. We have taken our health seriously. COVID-19 has taught us lessons,” said Lomuro.
South Sudan, gained her independence in 2011 is currently battling more than six – years civil war, coronavirus pandemic, effects of flooding and polio.
EIB launches EUR 50 million Africa pharmaceutical manufacturing initiative
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
- Programme to strengthen supply chain and reduce dependency on drug imports
- Investment to scale-up local production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
- Scheme to improve healthcare, create skilled jobs and boost industrial growth
The European Investment Bank today launched the first ever scheme to strengthen local production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Africa and scale up drug manufacturing essential to improve public health.
The EIB’s new EUR 50 million pharmaceutical investment initiative, initiated together with kENUP Foundation, will contribute to reducing dependency on drug imports and address medical supply chain weaknesses linked to COVID-19. The programme will improve availability of specialist drugs and tackle supply chain challenges that currently damage public health across Africa.
Scaling up pharmaceutical investment in Africa will help to protect millions of people from disease and disability and strengthen resilience to ongoing and future pandemics.
“Accelerating high-impact pharmaceutical investment across Africa is crucial to improve public health, address medical supply chain weaknesses and unlock long-term economic development. The European Investment Bank is pleased to launch the first ever-financing initiative to scale up local production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in Africa. This scheme has been designed with African and global experts and builds on the EIB’s unique global technical experience and financing expertise supporting health and innovation investment.” said Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President.
“COVID-19 has highlighted how public health in Africa is vulnerable to global supply chains and dependent on international production. Increasing local specialist manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients will help to improve the public health of millions of Africans. This new initiative demonstrates how specialist pharmaceutical and financing expertise can create jobs and a better future for Africa.” said Dr Mariângela Batista Galvão Simão, World Health Organisation Assistant Director- General responsible for Access to Medicines and Health Products.
“Team Europe’s new support to scale up African manufacturing of advanced pharmaceutical ingredients and build on the strengths of existing manufacturing expertise, in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa, will help to protect millions of people from disease and disability. The demand for pharmaceuticals is expected to double in Africa by the end of the next decade. This provides huge business opportunities for African pharmaceutical companies.” said Simon Mordue, European Union Ambassador to Kenya.
The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients financing initiative was formally launched earlier today with participation of representatives from the European Investment Bank, World Health Organisation, EDCTP, Global Access in Action at Harvard Law School and kENUP Foundation. Kenyan-based non-profit APIFA (API for Africa) contributed their expertise throughout the process of establishing this financing facility and will act as a non-exclusive promotor to the facility.
“In the spirit of leaving no region behind in the pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals, we warmly welcome the launch of the API for Africa initiative. This will add value to future Research & Development with more active involvement of the African region.” said Michael Makanga, Executive Director of the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).
“This is a timely facility that will transform the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry on the continent and thus enhance access to essential medicines for vulnerable populations. We call on all relevant stakeholders to now work together to support manufacturers in this transformation journey and ensure the long-term viability of this initiative”, says Gerald Macharia, a founding director of APIFA.
Supporting global efforts to strengthen health system reliance
This new initiative is aligned with World Health Organisation goals and the recently announced cooperation between the EIB and WHO to combat COVID-19 and strengthen health system resilience to better face future pandemics.
Specialised pharmaceutical financing responding to exceptional COVID-19 healthcare needs
Long-term financing will be available in USD, EUR and local currency and can cover more than 50% of the total cost of eligible investment, as part of the EIB’s exceptional response to COVID-19. EIB financing can co-finance projects alongside philanthropic, equity, development financing or support from commercial banks.
Tackling medical supply chain weaknesses highlighted by COVID-19
In recent months the global COVID-19 pandemic has stained fragile supply chains and led to acute local shortages of medical and pharmaceutical supplies, including drugs to treat HIV. Increasing local production will reduce dependency on imports and exposure to counterfeit drugs.
Enabling African business to benefit from future pharmaceutical growth
The scheme will enable Africa to benefit from predicted doubling in local pharmaceutical sales over the next decade, improve access to healthcare and create specialist jobs on the continent. Demand for pharmaceutical products in Africa is expected to double to EUR 60 billion by 2020.
Unlocking high-value innovation investment in Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients
The EIB initiative will provide long-term financing for pharmaceutical production across sub-Saharan Africa and specifically target manufacturing of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients that constitute 45% of final drug costs.
The new financing programme will also ensure that African pharmaceutical manufacturing can benefit technological innovation that is transforming the industry and making local production easy through digital connectivity, automation and cloud computing.
Building on the EIB global response to COVID-19
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and a leading financier of public health and innovation investment.
Since the start of the COVID pandemic the EIB has been working with partners across Europe and around the world to accelerate vaccine development, strengthen public health and help business to invest during the crisis, with more than EUR 27 billion of COVID related investment approved in recent months.
Last year the EIB provided more than EUR 3 billion for public and private investment across Africa.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
PIN Asks Court to Stop NCC from Disconnecting Over 100 Million Nigerians
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
Paradigm Initiative has asked the court to restrain the Nigerian government and telecommunications service provider from carrying out a recent order requiring that all SIM cards not linked to the National Identity Numbers be disconnected by the telecoms service provider by December 30, 2021. The organisation decries the Nigerian government order requiring all telecommunication service providers to ask their subscribers to link their National Identification Numbers (NIN) to the SIM cards within two weeks. PIN says it is seeking a perpetual injunction restraining the government and the service providers from carrying out the draconian order as it believes it is a violation of fundamental rights to freedom of expression of Nigerian Citizens as guaranteed by Section 39 of the Nigerian 1999 constitution (As amended).
The proposed blocking of SIM cards not linked with the National Identity Number is unlawful and unconstitutional says Adeboye Adegoke, Senior Program Manager at Paradigm Initiative. “Many young people and others, using their mobile phones for expression or to do business online will be affected by the poorly thought-out policy. No reasonable Nigerian will support such a policy that is geared to make life unbearable for Nigerian citizens.
In June 2020, the Director-General of the NIMC, Aliyu Aziz said only 38% of Nigerians have any form of identification. According to him: “over 100 million Nigerians have no identity (ID). These include the poorest and the most vulnerable groups, such as the marginalised – women and girls, the less-educated people, migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons, people with disabilities and people living in rural and remote areas.”
The said policy has created panic in the polity since it was announced. Nigeria at the moment is experiencing a 2nd wave of the COVID-19 pandemic according to the daily numbers from the Nigeria Centre for Defence Control (NCDC) in the past one week. “This is a time when we need to discourage public gatherings, crowding, and the likes, but it appears that the government is not sensitive enough to see those nuances and has asked that 100 million Nigerians should go and register for the National Identification Number within 2 weeks, so we are left with no choice but to seek the intervention of the court.”
“Requiring over 100 million Nigerian citizens to register for NIN in two weeks is not only unrealistic but a fire brigade approach to governance that will not bring any value to the people,” says Valery Nijaba, Communications officer at Paradigm Initiative. “Whatever the government is trying to achieve by the strange directive is ignoble. When the same government tried to compel students writing UTME examinations to register for the NIN as a pre-requisite to sitting for the examinations last year, many students couldn’t register, with documented cases of government officials and law enforcement officials weaponising the desperation of the students to register for NIN to extort them and their parents. The government was forced to walk back on the policy at that instance. These are the type of effects the fire-brigade approach to policymaking leads to. Valery concluded
Chagos Islanders Demand One Billion in Restitution For Lost Fishing Rights
December 18, 2020 | 1 Comments
British Indian Ocean Territory (Chagos Archipelago) is best known for the secretive US naval base on Diego Garcia Island and the forced deportation of the original Afro-Creole inhabitants from the Chagos Archipelago and subsequent apartheid laws barring them from return.
Despite the United Nations General Assembly, African Union, and International Court of Justice finding that Britain’s deportation of the Chagos Islanders 50 years ago and continued military occupation of the Chagos Archipelago (British Indian Ocean Territory) is a serious violation of international law, the Chagossians are still banned from the territory by apartheid laws and US and British military forces.
The Chagossians have presented the British colonial administration with a demand for 1 Billion (BIOT) Pounds to compensate them for lost fishing rights. The Chagos Archipelago is one of the world’s prime fisheries rich in tuna, shell and game fish. Indigenous fishing rights are recognized by the UN, African Union and many countries with native peoples.
According to Dr. Jonathan Levy, the international lawyer representing the Chagos islanders: “There is no doubt the Chagos Archipelago fishing rights have immense monetary and cultural value and the Chagossians are barred from even entering the territory’s waters. The colonial administration which is constitutionally separate from the United Kingdom, has the power to issue the currency requested and has no excuse for what amounts to continuing theft of indigenous property and rights”
Africa must risk capital for its youth, Adesina urges
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
Africa must leverage investment to unleash the potential and ingenuity of its youth, its most important asset, African development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said at a Conference of Montreal fireside chat event.
The three-day virtual event was organized by the international economic forum of the Americas, under the theme, a sustainable recovery for people and planet. During the fireside chat, Adesina engaged in discussion with Inger Andersen, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UNEP. Jean Lebel, President of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) moderated the discussion, which covered three areas: the current state of affairs with respect to COVID-19 and climate change, stimulus policies and recovery, and the role of the private sector in terms of recovery.
“Climate change is an existential crisis,” Andersen said, and one that the planet must face together. The four largest economies account for 55% of emissions, Andersen pointed out, adding that the brunt of the impact will fall on African countries as well as delta and low-lying small economies around the world. “Any recovery has to have a degree of solidarity with it,” she said.
Adesina reiterated that climate change posed a grave threat to Africans. “ “We have to grow differently, he said. We have to have growth that is climate resilient. Adaptation must be at the top of the agenda. The risk of actually dying from hunger is higher than the risk of dying from Covid-19.”
He noted the Bank’s commitment to mobilize $25 billion for climate finance by 2025 as well as a number of Bank initiatives that are addressing climate adaptation, such as TAAT, which has provided Sudanese farmers access to heat tolerant maize and farmers in Zimbabwe, Malawi and other southern African countries. “The other way that one can grow back in a way that is climate resilient is by actually providing the countries with facilities that will allow them to insure themselves against exogenous climate shocks,” including the Bank’s ADRIFI program.
Moving away from a linear economy and investing in nature’s infrastructure offered part of the solution, Andersen said. “Companies that jump into circularity, SDG 12, sustainable consumption and production, companies that do that, will save money, resources will be more circular, they will leapfrog, they will have a market edge, and they would have a lesser need for resource inputs. We’re seeing it in some sectors. Plastics, textiles, fashion, and food.”
The issue of inequality ran through the discussion.
Adesina admitted that the pandemic had worsened inequality in many spheres, education, rural versus urban, and the differences between the genders in terms of access to education and to finance. “You cannot grow economies without focusing on women. Women run Africa. Most of them are in the informal sector. They lack access to finance. There’s a $49 billion financing gap between them and men. That’s why the Bank launched a $5 billion initiative called Affirmative Finance Action For Women in Africa (AFAWA), so we can close that particular inequality.”
The Conference of Montreal, which runs from 14-17 December, is an event of the International Economic Forum of the America. The theme of the 2020 edition is Bridging a Disconnected World.
14 foreigners set to be deported from Kenya
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
The Kenyan government is set to deport 14 foreigners who are in the country illegally.
Kenya’s Interior Minister Dr. Fred Matiang’i on Thursday signed the visitors’ deportation order claiming they are engaging in illegal gambling activities.
“They are in the country illegally with involvement in gambling and other illegal activities,” reiterated an official from Matiang’i’s office.
Reports indicate the 14 were nabbed on December 16, 2020, in different parts of Nairobi in a crackdown against illegal gambling conducted by immigration officials and police.
No names have been revealed, but it is said they hail from Eastern Europe.
Tough-talking Matiang’i has always maintained that the government will not relent to combat against non-compliant betting and gaming companies.
“We will not go back on the decision that we have made as a government. And Kenyans can rest assured, absolutely on this matter,” Matiangi said last earlier last month.
He vowed the government would only support investors operating within the law.
“We are here to listen to each other but not to condemn each other, we respect your investment but understand that we have a country to protect and not when asked to pay taxes you rush to the court,” he said.
In May 2019, the minister okayed the deportation of 17 foreigners involved in prohibited gambling in the East African nation.
Those deported were mainly from Spain, Turkey, and China.
Kenya reports rise of online fraud ahead of festivities
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Many Kenyans shopping on the internet have fallen victims of online scammers, announced the country’s Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
In a statement released on Thursday, December 17, the agency urged citizens to be extra vigilant of while shopping online as fraudsters impersonate websites belonging to established vendors with a motive of defrauding them.
DCI appealed to Kenyans to deal only with reliable online vendors.
“The DCI has noted an increase in online fraud cases, caused by an upsurge of online shopping, due to the festive seasons’ needs.”
“We therefore advise the public to take precaution while engaging in online business dealings, to avoid falling prey to online scammers and fraudsters,” the DCI cautioned.
Buyers have been warned further to be wary of doorstep deliveries.
“Lower no cautionary guard when dealing with doorstep deliveries and be careful on who you choose to make deliveries to your house. As a safety precaution, turn down deliveries from agents who show up at your door without your request, as they may have an ulterior motive,” DCI added.
In case of any threat, Kenyans can reach out to DCI by dialling the agency’s toll-free number 0800 722 203 for assistance.
Popular Kenyan Governor sent packing.
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan Senate on Thursday night voted unanimously to uphold the ouster of Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko.
The decision was reached after the house found him guilty of four charges leveled against him by Members of Nairobi County Assembly (MCAs).
Sonko was accused of office abuse, gross misconduct, a gross violation of the constitution and crimes, and the national laws.
The MCAs alleged that he used taxpayers’ money to fly her daughter first class to New York, diverted funds meant for bursaries and refurbishing city roads, and molesting executives.
The vote was marred with politics as Senators allied to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake brother Raila Odinga supported the impeachment. Those leaning towards the deputy president William Ruto opposed it. Two Senators abstained.
45 Senators took part in the voting, with Garissa County Senator Yusuf Haji missing owing to illness, and Machakos seat fell vacant following the death of Senator Boniface Kabaka.
The 16 who voted NO argued the allegations were not substantiated, adding that the MCAs did not follow the due process.
“Both security machinery and resources that are given by the people of Kenya are used to impeach a Governor, then, there is a danger. Today from the witnesses and from the testimonies that we have heard from the County Assembly it is about control of the 10 percent of the country in terms of its economy. It is about power and establishment of the Nairobi Metropolitan Services,” said Senator Kipchumba Murkomen.
The governor denied all the claims accusing the ward representatives of being used politically to disparage his reputation.
“These funds were not released and that they are intact. Schools were closed during Covid-19, and this document shows that the mover of my motion exaggerated his claims. Some MCAs opened fake education accounts in 2013 and 2017, and I unearthed this scandal in 2017 and stopped it.
“The directors of these fake schools were wives and relatives of MCAs. They were receiving cheques from CDF accounts of various constituencies. The matter is being looked into by investigative agencies,” he defended.
Before the voting session, Sonko had sought public apology over his general conduct and utterance and pleaded with Senators to be lenient with him.
“Out of frustration, I may have made utterances that may have offended many people in ways that I did not intend. And today, I stand before you here with remorse, and having learned my painful lessons,” he said.
Sonko’s impeachment means the Nairobi County Assembly speaker Benson Mutura will take over for 60 days before a by-election is held.
Nairobi County has been operating without the deputy governor since Polycarp Igathe resigned in January 2018.
Sonko became the second governor to lose his seat after former Kiambu Governor Ferdinand Waititu was impeached in January this year.
Kenya Airways launches JKIA Express Service for KQ Passengers
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
Nairobi, 17 December 2020… Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ) has partnered with Kenya Railways to launch the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Express service tailored to align with Kenya Airways flights. The service will grant passengers access to convenient, safe, and cost-effective transport to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from the Nairobi Central Business District.
‘’We are pleased to launch the new express service which is aligned to our KQ flight schedule to ensure passengers and staff enjoy a seamless journey to and from JKIA. We are honoured to play our role in creating an integrated transport service and marking this milestone for the transport industry in Kenya” said Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airways.
The integrated service of Rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will operate between 0545hrs – 2100hrs and will cost passengers Sh250 for a 20-minute ride. The service will see passengers dropped off at the Embakasi Railway Station from where a shuttle will pick them up and ferry them to JKIA. The first official train service departed the city centre at 11:05hrs this morning with the passengers connecting to the KQ Nairobi-Mombasa flight departing JKIA at 13:00hrs.
The Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Express Service, which operates on a separate schedule from the recently launched regular commuter service targets both the airport workers and customers travelling to and from the airport.
“This service goes a long way in addressing the challenge of gridlocks on the roads around the city. The service will ensure a safe and cost-effective means of transport for all passengers,” said Kenya Railways Managing Director, Phillip Mainga.
In the same breath, Kenya Railways Chairman Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Pastor Awitta stated that he was glad to welcome the public to enjoy a better way to move into and out of the city through use of the Diesel Multiple Unit trains and the Nairobi Commuter Rail- Bus Rapid Transport.
“Besides decongesting the roads around the city, both developments will enhance the ease of doing business within the city. The result of the movement as you well know is growth, our economy will grow, and our people will also grow” he concluded.
The express service will depart Nairobi City Centre three times a day and depart from JKIA twice a day.
Cameroon: D&L Foretia Foundation’s SBEC Organizes 2020 National Forum
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
With the problems faced by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) such as terms of obtaining finance, lack of appropriate managerial skills, non-compliance with the Tax regulations, the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Center (SBEC) of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation organized the 2020 National Forum on the theme “The Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and Strategies for the growth of SMEs in Cameroon”.
The first panel focused on “Access to Finance, & Tax requirements, registration and exemptions for SMEs in Cameroon, while the second panel focused on Business Management, and attracting investors and customers to a Business
“The 2020 SBEC National Forum aims at bringing together young entrepreneurs to share experiences and identify strategies that are imperative for the growth of SMEs in Cameroon,” Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer at the Foretia Foundation
Speaking on how to attract customers to your business, Sandra Batey, Project Manager at ECAM said small businesses must make the product attractive for people to buy and this is what most SMEs forget to do. For it to be good it must have the right colours and know how to package it, all which entails branding of the product.
Sandra Batey encouraged SMEs to make use of ICTs such as Facebook and Twitter, all avenues to get their products known to the wider community. “This will make people see your product and help attract customers to your product. Customers now are forgoing buying through stores and are doing so in large quantity using online mediums.” She said.
“SMEs should work on their customer service delivery. Nobody wants to enter a business premise and see people frowning or shouting. You have to spend on your customer service,” Sandra Batey, Project Manager at ECAM.
According to a concept note from the Foundation, statistics from the Ministry of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts, indicates that there are more than 400,000 active companies in the informal sector and out of these, 99% are SMEs, their active presence helps generate growth and redistribute wealth in the society. Their important role in reducing poverty in Cameroon is also gaining recognition.
To Ntinwa Mackinley, Business and Productivity Coach, small business owners must know the kind of investors they want and must have an already active business before seeking investment…Entrepreneurs have the primary responsibility of understanding their business environment
Mackinley went on to encourage the SMEs to invest time in doing research. He said they have to know how to approach people and know the right investors to approach. “SMEs must have a business plan. Many business people do not invest their time in drawing good business plans before meeting potential investors. Entrepreneurs must be responsible in the way they act, dress, and speak,” Ntinwa Mackinley, Business and Productivity Coach.
On his part, Cho Rimsky, Founder and CEO of CreativMoney Africa said small businesses must think like the investor, learn new skills for the growth of their businesses, and work on branding their businesses to attract the right investors and Customers.
Entrepreneurs must also know the environment that they operate in. According to the panellists, they must know the spending power of the population and also take into account their demographics as what one person will want may not be the same the other wants.
During the forum, participants asked questions relating to how they can easily obtain credits, different taxes that exist according to a sector of activity, how to preserve their brand, how to retain investors and others
SMEs contribute around 36% of Cameroon’s GDP, make-up over 90% of businesses in Cameroon, and employ above 60% of the population. That notwithstanding, evident realities indicate that enormous potentials inherent in this sector are unfortunately not fully harnessed – especially given that more than 70% of SMEs still operate informally.
“SMEs must be accountable, must have a savings account, must avoid evading taxes, and must be informed of existing credit mechanisms to ease the process of obtaining loans, Nkwetche Alain Teffo, CEO Dynamic Vision Consulting.
“Small Businesses face difficulties in obtaining Loans because some are not aware of procedures while others cumbersome procedures…SMEs need to come together and recruit experts to assist them in Taxes, Finance and Business registration,” Besong Enokenwa, Financial Expert.
Furious Race To 2023 Finishing Line:Who Will Be APC’s Next Face To State House In Sierra Leone?
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Elhaj Malik Shabbaz
THE political atmosphere in the country is becoming tough among high ranking members of the main opposition All People’s Congress party. This begs and eggs the question who will lead the party for the grassroots and also attract huge international respect to the promise land come 2023? As concerns hiking up from die hard supporters of the party, who is fit to take APC through the 2023 presidential race is still left unanswered. Taking into cognizance the supposed gains of the NRM and their positive ramifications – this will leave in its wake an avalanche of level playing field and seemingly a whole lot of presidential aspirant hopefuls to crawl out from the woodwork. The party has had a groundswell of grassroots activism by the National Reformation Movement transforming the All People’s Congress to a modern-day democracy. The party has finally agreed to adopt a democratic constitution that will allow a level playing field for all positions leading from constituent, district, regional and national levels: then who amongst this plethora of former standard bearer aspirants is best fit to certainly take us to state House?
This question is still left unanswered, though it could be determined by the ballot as opposed to the appointment/selection syndrome, it is high time the APC party upped its game to ride the crest waves of the looming 2023 elections. From the 28 flag bearers, there are a selective few we are certain have got no skeleton on their cupboards. Though it could be arguably opined that the COI was fraught with fraud handling and witch hunting – except one’s name is clearly exonerated, most of those allegedly implicated, will be summarily disqualified. From the list of flag bearers, almost every one of them is a potential leader that is capable of winning us an election, but do we just need a flag bearer for flag bearer sake like we did in 2018 that landed us in this continued regret narratives?
As the APC party and the National Reformation Movement are now having a period of truce to end the reformation struggle and adopt democratic principles in the party activities, it is but time we also start thinking of a better choice for the flag bearer race. Since every position now will be contested through election, this does not however presuppose that even those who know they have skeleton in their cupboards should disturbed the race because it is democracy. It is high time those with allegations of corruption step down peacefully if not peaceably, to allow a quality race that will be devoid of any naysaying by the ruling SLPP. It is no gainsaying that the All People’s Congress party can make a very unpopular candidate to become the most popular figure, Dr. Samura Kamara and former president Koroma are a crystal example of how the APC can make an unmake people. To say the APC needs a popular candidate to usher us into State House is unequivocally an axiom that sits well with logic. However, being popular is a necessary condition. Not a sufficient condition. And, the caveat here is, when we mean popular, do we perceive before the choice of flag bearer or after the act of being chosen? To say that the former flag bearer candidate is “popular” – and so the already logical choice, is a figment of imagination; superfluously specious and spurious. We must not be dragged by big names and forgetting the fact that they are only roaming the political corridors as traps ready to be used by the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party to destroy our chances for 2023 elections. As the political atmosphere intensifies, our slightest mistake will bring us an eternal doom. So, we must not only choose our candidate for the presidential race wisely, but cautiously.
Most importantly, we must not only be cautious about the flag bearer that will take us to State House 2023, but we must be firm that the very individual is a result oriented individual. The chosen elected flag bearer should be up for and to the task. A litany of conditionalities should be met. Aura, charisma, fluency in speech. Not loquacious. Just having the gift of the gab. So who will this fine gentleman be? Or should audaciously say – that fine lady? Cometh the time. Cometh the hour. Were will such a man – or woman step up from. But, again, just as recent as this year, we saw the coming back of former Vice President Sam Sumana to the APC; an action that creates a loads of vibes and impacts, some commentators say. Well, as gentle as Sam, it is arguably true that he can win us an election hands down, but this very individual is even worse than all those in the COI put together if we risk electing him as our next flag bearer. I know supporters of Sam may see this as a witch hunt against Sam or some will say I am anti-Sam, but it is just the simple truth.
Sam, for all i know is still on record that he has proof, a very strong evidentiary leverage against former President Koroma that he sold the lives of compatriots of this country in disguise of a disease called Ebola. With such self incriminatory statement coming from the former second gentleman is just enough for the SLPP to flag us with it on our faces. Well, let’s not look too far, any citizen of this country or even my grandma at Masimra Chiefdom can take Sam Sumana to court to prove his claim, for it is said that; he who asserts must prove such assertion. Even if there is a dearth of APC flag bearer candidates, Sam is not a viable option for APC 2023. Let us not be hypocrites or not be brutal with the inconvenient truth. Those candidates we are falling all over ourselves for are not what this country needs now. Though most of them have gullible die-hard supporters, but it is the responsibility for those of us with right thinking capacity to take these issues with the party hierarchy and let them know we are no longer ready to wait for another five years of SLPP’s misrule.
This country and the rest of the world need someone who is heaven sent. Someone who will not convert donor monies to his pocket money. Someone who is a game changer that is devoid of any incumbrance of corruption allegation. From the 28-flag bearer during 2017, we still have those with clean sheet, respect and dignity. We still have the Paul Kamara (Salone Mandela) a professional media guru; lawyer Kalokoh, a certified Legal Practitioner; and Engineer Chernor Koroma, a certified Civil Engineer and Businessman, why look any further afield?
As a party, our worries must now be how we mobilize support from all those candidates that were in the race but have been made redundant by the SLPP COIs’. We must be worried because we cannot afford making the same mistakes in 2018 when those who were neglected abandoned the campaign and went back to their comfort zones leaving the party to struggle in the hands of SLPP voters. From Lawyer Kalokoh, to Engineer Chernor, to Paul Kamara and few others who do not have COI like the fabled Sword of Domocles, hanging over their heads must be given the chance to take us through. I believe, from among them, we will have the Moses we have been looking for.
We have seemingly had (an NRM) internal revolution, with successfully reform strictures and structures. Now our next challenge is a revolution to having a candidate whose pep-talk will instill confidence in both the people of this country and our international partners. We need a candidate that is a workhorse not a show-horse. We need a political junkie, one with a clear view and knowledge of development. Our country needs a professional with unique characters and zest that can provide us with the holistic leadership that we desperately need. With the prescience that we have all what it takes to win the 2023 elections, we must also not lose grip of the fact that the individual that will lead us to this race must be a symbol of integrity. It is now time we start to practice politics of integrity in the APC, let’s not tread and trend on the path of those we castigate for their wrong paradigmatic governance template. Let us be that positive and welcoming change we all crave. That change is here. If we are ready to embrace it with wholesome alacrity. Let us seize that opportunity.
*The views are those of the author
Cameroon: Nkafu Policy Institute Launches Project on Social Entrepreneurship for Sustainable development in Sub-Saharan Africa
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
The Nkafu Policy Institute of the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation December 16, 2020, at Hotel La Falaise held an official launching and inception workshop under the theme “Social entrepreneurship for sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons from business incubation in Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Ghana.”
The launching brought together top government Ministers, CBOs, public personalities, incubators amongst others. The high-level panel focused on social entrepreneurship for sustainable development, social entrepreneurship and the ecosystem for science and technology in Africa and social entrepreneurship and business incubation in Africa – experiences from key practitioners. The study will be carried out in this exploratory phase in 3 sub-Saharan African countries with specific economic dynamics.
“This project launch is a milestone not only for our institution but also for Cameroon in general. This is because it sets the pace for entrepreneurship in Cameroon. The aim is to get a mapping of all the incubator hubs in Cameroon and two other countries (Ghana and Burkina Faso) and to go to the next level to diagnose the difficulties that the incubators are facing and come up with some solutions,” Fri Asanga, Chief Operating Officer of D&L Foretia Foundation told reporters.
The last decades, sub-Saharan Africa has seen a proliferation of business incubators, with the hope that they will play a key role in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially with regards to gender equality and the promotion of sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
The two-year project which is carried out by the Nkafu Policy Institute with organizations in Ghana (Innohub) and Burkina Faso (Afrik Eveil) is funded by the International Development Research Centre, IDRC. The overall objective is to map the business incubation practice in selected sub-Saharan African countries and see how these contribute to the attainment of SDGs 5, 8 and 9.
H.E Madeleine Tchuente, Minister of Women Empowerment and the Family speaking on social entrepreneurship for sustainable development said entrepreneurs should form groups which will be easier for them to grow. This according to the Minister will also help them in accessing the much-needed finance that some of them need to grow their businesses.
The relationship between the success of business incubators and the country’s ecosystem for “science and innovation” is extremely important to elucidate. Innovation and science can be thought to entail for major components; scientific programme on innovation and the ministerial level in the country; a strategy for technology diffusion in light of research and development; a science-based industrial park for technological commercialization and engagement of experts and capacity building for entrepreneurs and innovators, a concept note from the Nkafu Policy Institute stated.
The Canadian High Commissioner to Cameroon H.E Richard Bale said in the last ten years, there has been a revolution in start-ups and entrepreneurship, with the increase coming mostly in developing countries. There is a huge potential to create jobs and wealth. “With the right framework and a supportive environment which involves incubators, start-ups can emerge and grow rapidly.
The Canadian High Commission went on to highlight three key areas where incubators add value to entrepreneurship. They involve the provision of expert advice (marketing and management), provision of peer support and access to capital. “Business incubators can catalyse the growth of entrepreneurs. Cameroon has a lot of technology and non-technology based start-ups,” H.E Richard Bale said.
Rebecca Enonchong, Founder and CEO of Apps Tech said there is need for collaboration between the public and private sector. “There is a need for real collaboration between them and not the top-down approach. Cameroon has a great opportunity to increase its potentials. There is a need for an enabling environment for the private sector to flourish,” She said.
In Africa, it has been witnessed that women are coming up very powerfully, even becoming bosses in major organizations. Many are also top bosses in major tech industries. Rebecca Enonchong said: “Women are not the problems to themselves. I think we are not the problem; the problem is to understand what our role is in society and at every level of decision-making, women need to be included.”
About Nkafu Policy Institute
The Nkafu Policy Institute is a think tank at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation, which works to catalyse the transformation of African countries by focusing on social entrepreneurship, science, technology, health and the implementation of development policies that will create economic opportunities for all. Nkafu Policy Institute is a leading Africa think tank with a mission to provide independent, in-depth and insightful policy recommendations.
The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) is a Canadian organization with the mandate “to initiate, encourage, support, and conduct research into the problems of the developing regions of the world and into the means for applying and adapting scientific, technical, ad other knowledge to the economic, social advancement of those regions.” To do this, the body works with partners by funding projects that provide funding to third parties for grants eligible activities, as a means of achieving its objectives.
Mozambique: Crackdown on journalists reporting on Cabo Delgado
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Joseph Hanlon
Nasty attacks are increasing against journalists who report on Cabo Delgado and are critical of government, after President Nyusi criticised reporting of the war on 25 November. (See Bulletin 509, 3 Dec)
Tom Bowker, editor of Zitamar, had his press card revoked on 9 December, in an apparently unprecedented action. But the procedure was totally irregular. He was summoned to the government media office (Gabinfo) by phone. As Zitamar is a British registered company, Gabinfo demanded his British press registration, and simply did not believe that Britain (like the US) has no media registration. So they cancelled his press card. Everything was done verbally, with nothing in writing, which is highly irregular. The revocation of the press card has already provoked some diplomatic response – in part because embassies read and use Zitamar.
But it also seems harassment. Zitamar is part of the group publishing Cabo Ligado, the weekly report on the Cabo Delgado civil war. And Bowker recently started The Week in Mozambique, with an emphasis on media freedom issues.
Since the Nyusi speech, Facebook attacks have increased from a group that was once the G40 attack dogs savaging the critics of Armando Guebuza when he was president, and have become the praise singers of Nyusi.
Lenon Arnaldo cited the Nyusi statement as he led an attack on a Carta de Mocambique journalist Omardine Omar, accusing him of “lying/misleading news”. Comments on the Facebook post included these from “Alen Maia”: “We will deal with your threats to the security of young Mozambique. Lower the volume of your propaganda against state security … Omardine Omar: If you suffer an accident, the country will not notice you missing. As a terrorist you are aware of this. We know how to deal with terrorists.”
Leading praise singer Egidio Vaz attacked Bower: “Tom, go home. This is not your country. Why do you insist on staying in a country just to profit by selling lies and misery? Go to your country, where everything’s good. Work there. Wouldn’t that be better?” Lenon Arnaldo went on to attack Bowker for having “cheated everything and everyone.”
The attacks also included false information. Omar was accused of a conviction for unpaid debts (someone of a different name) and Zitamar of not being a registered company in the UK (in fact listed on the Companies House website as a “news agency”).
Juliao Joao Cumbane went on to attack Carta editor Marcelo Mosse for defending Bowker: “Freedoms of the press and expression have limits. Mozambique is a sovereign state. Combating terrorism in Cabo Delgado is our task, we Mozambicans.”
These Facebook attacks on Mozambique media set an important agenda. Journalists and commentators first attacked on Facebook have been beaten and shot. The offices of Canal de Mocambique were destroyed in an arson attack in August.
(Zitamar has identified Egidio Vaz as the man behind the Ministry of Defence supporting defense propaganda website. But in a note to me on 11 Dec, Vaz denies this)
Mozambique: authorities nab illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Ethiopia and Somalia
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Migration authorities have caught 67 alleged illegal immigrants at Pemba airport in Cabo Delgado province in two weeks, one month after the opening of borders which were closed due to covid-19.
Last week 35 immigrants were intercepted, comprising 30 Pakistanis and five Ethiopians, and this week 32 were arrested, 30 of them Somalis and two Ethiopians, according to a spokesman for the provincial migration services.
The 67, who had declared themselves tourists, were questioned on two flights from Nairobi, Kenya, and did not present entry visas or letters of invitation showing that they were visiting someone, the spokesman said, adding that they had no financial means to stay in the country.
Also, police detained on Tuesday 46 Ethiopian immigrants who were found inside container lorries in Tete province, near the border with Malawi. The driver and a person who had allegedly helped with the illegal immigration were also arrested, along with three lorries, their containers, and 1m Malawian kwacha ($1314).
Tete is now a key human trafficking route. In March, 64 Ethiopian immigrants were found asphyxiated in the container of a lorry after illegally crossing the border from Malawi. The 14 survivors have been repatriated. Two of the seven defendants in that case were convicted in October by a court in Tete. The driver of the car was sentenced to eight years in prison, while a guide of the group was sentenced to nine years, both for involuntary homicide. As usual, the operatives behind the scene, the real culprits, were not identified
Kenya Airways launches expanded Southern Africa operations to fly cargo directly from Johannesburg
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
Nairobi – 16 December 2020: Kenya Airways has launched its expanded Southern Africa operations that will see the airline fly cargo directly from Johannesburg to other countries in the region. Currently all connections are done through its hub in Nairobi and going forward all cargo from Southern Africa will be delivered directly, resulting in shorter connecting times and speed to market, one of the unique selling propositions to its customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had tremendous impact on the global aviation sector with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasting a net loss of $118 million in 2020, in what has been declared the worst year in aviation history. The pandemic has not only challenged the Air Cargo sector, that accounts for approximately 35% of global trade by value, but also shown the resilience of the cargo community that has quickly adapted to the rapidly evolving situation.
“Even as the movement of people across the globe became increasingly restricted, one thing remained unchanged, the need to keep the much-needed supplies and other goods moving in order to sustain economies and to help fight the pandemic. This has reaffirmed the importance of our cargo operations and the significance of air travel in spurring trade and supporting economic growth even during tough times. South Africa is the largest intra-Africa exporting nation which was part of the fundamental opportunity principles driving the project” said Allan Kilavuka – Group Managing Director & CEO, Kenya Airways.
The expanded cargo operations will be one of the key instruments KQ Cargo will deploy to promote swift connectivity in the southern region countries that include Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The airline will continue to provide one weekly schedule to Lusaka, Maputo, Lilongwe, Harare, and will step up frequencies as demand picks up.
“It is key to reconsider how Africa’s airfreight market is positioned in order to maximise its full potential. Governments should leave behind protectionist approaches to regulating aviation and embrace liberalisation, because when such policies are adopted, countries benefit from improved connectivity with a positive impact on trade. We strongly believe in Africa’s aviation potential, and we are ready to offer a solid and long-term partnership” said Dick Murianki – General Manager, KQ Cargo.
Intra-Africa Connectivity remains at the centre of the KQ Cargo agenda with intra-Africa airfreight volumes averaging about 5% of total exports from Africa, which is way below other continents that average well over 30%. A well interconnected Africa will catalyze trade and Kenya Airways will play its part diligently in connecting the world to Africa and Africa to the world.
“The expansion of KQ cargo freight to more Southern Africa countries will boost intra-African trade as well as enhance connectivity in the southern region. Similarly, I wish to challenge KQ to venture into cargo business with countries in the regions that KQ has no footprints such as Eswatini and this will go a long way in increasing volume of cargo as well facilitate the generation of more income.” added H.E. Ambassador Jean Kamau High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya to South Africa.
About Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 54 destinations worldwide, 41 of which are in Africa and transports over four million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 34 aircrafts being amongst the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways takes pride for being in the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Kenya Airways celebrated 43 years of operation in January 2020 and was named Africa Leading Airline 2019 by the World Travel Awards.
How can Africa’s fashion entrepreneurs access finance to grow their businesses?
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
Enhancing access to finance for Africa’s fashion entrepreneurs is critical if the industry is to develop its full potential and tap global markets in a post-COVID-19 world. That was the topline message at a Fashionomics Africa webinar hosted on 10 December by the African Development Bank and the HEVA Fund.
Roughly 150 fashion entrepreneurs and creative minds attended the fourth edition of the Fashionomics series, focused on finance. The discussion covered the challenges faced by fashion entrepreneurs, especially women and youth, in Africa’s creative industries.
Participants were also presented with opportunities to access finance from investment funds including the Alithea IDF Fund, for which the African Development Bank is an anchor investor; the Women’s Investment Club (WIC) Capital; the African Export–Import Bank; the State Bank of Mauritius; Thundafund and Senegalese clothing brand, SARAYAA.
Vanessa Moungar, Bank Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society said the ongoing pandemic has prompted adaptations and innovations to keep Africa’s $31 billion fashion industry thriving.
“The crisis provides an opportunity to set up targeted support mechanisms and develop new and innovative financial tools for the textile, apparel and accessories industry that will not only help the entrepreneurs make it through, but set the basis for them to grow their businesses going forward,” she said.
Evelyne Dioh Simpa, managing director at WIC Capital, which invests in businesses run by women in Francophone West Africa, stressed the importance of developing financial products and capacity building tailored to fashion entrepreneurs.
Safiétou Seck, founder and creative director of SARAYAA recently attracted $230,000 in investment from WIC Capital to expand operations and grow the brand.
“For me, banking was the best option to scale up my business. My advice would be: be patient, you are going to be rejected many times, but fashion is going to make you stick with it,” Seck said of trying to raise capital.
New solutions, including alternative financing channels, will be key for fashion entrepreneurs, said Matt Roberts-Davies, chief operating officer of Thundafund, South Africa’s leading online crowdfunding marketplace for creatives and innovators.
He encouraged entrepreneurs to be brave. “Put yourself out there and find the crowd of people that loves what you do,” he said.
Fashionomics Africa promotes investments in the textile and fashion sectors by leveraging data, information and communication technologies to drive development. The initiative also aims to increase entrepreneurs’ access to finance via traditional and non-traditional channels, while providing business skills to start-up founder and staff as well as to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
The Fashionomics Africa webinar series is available for fashion entrepreneurs, digital enthusiasts and creative minds on the Fashionomics platform (available on both iOS and Android). To watch previous episodes, click here.
President Mnangagwa Gears for Military Attack to Save Mozambique.
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa
Following invasion of Carbo Delgabo province by insurgents linked to Islamic state in northern Mozambique, life has turned from from bliss to sour as more and more threats to humanity grow on daily basis
This led to a one-day short summit in Maputo Mozambique on Monday 14 December. President Mnangagwa Chairperson of SADC Organ on Defense and Security paid a visit together with other leaders in the region to pave way for smooth and amicable way of solving the political problem which needs military intervention to build up on peace in the region.
George Charamba Presidential spokes-person said President Mnangagwa left for Mozambique to meet other leaders in the SADC region like Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana . He pointed out that the leaders had a one-day summit to solve problems which arose in Northern Mozambique, Carbo Delgado province.
‘’I confirm the President left for Mozambique together with other leaders among them Cyril Ramaphosa and Mokgweetsi Masisi. The main objective lies on solving the likely crisis building up to spread in neighboring countries.
‘’Insurgents linked to Islamic State are a cause of concern in terms of a likely political disturbance likely to spread through-out the SADC region. Zimbabwe and SADC are heavily geared to take action in order to make this insurgency not happen ‘’. says George Charamba .
President Mnangagwa upon arrival from Mozambique said SADC is ready to help Mozambique, He said this problem which needed urgent attention was talked of on 24 November at a summit in Gaborone, Botswana.
‘’ President Felix Nyusi said there are countries like Portugal, UK, Irish Government and probably the US which are eager and promising to give support to Mozambique. We do not know what kind of support is this.
‘’ We want to save Mozambique because we are all in SADC. The need to help was raised as a concern by President Nyussi on 24 November in Gaborone Botswana at a summit in Gaborone. We do not want the problem to spread to neighboring SADC states ‘’
A source close to the writer pointed out that SADC brigade launched in 2008 is expected to be part and parcel of the army to be deployed once it has been agreed that Mozambique is to receive SADC military support. SADC brigade consists of military police and civilian members.
Cameroon: HRW Urges Gov’t to Ensure Fair Ngarbuh Trial and Participants’ Safety
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Three security force members accused of being involved in the killing of 21 civilians in Ngarbuh, North West Region of Cameroon, is due to take place on December 17, 2020. Human Rights Watch sees this as an important step in tackling “impunity”.
The trial will take place at the Yaounde Military court. It is still uncertain if the families of the victims will be present in court. Human Rights Watch notes that the five lawyers who are representing the families have been struggling to find the necessary resources to make sure their clients can attend the trial.
“Survivors and family members of those murdered in Ngarbuh are finally a step closer to getting justice,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Ensuring a fair trial for those accused of the killings – one that is open to the public and where all those participating feel comfortable that their security is guaranteed – will be crucial in helping to end the cycles of violence and impunity that have plagued the Anglophone regions for the last four years.”
“The progress represented by this trial is substantial, but still only one piece of fighting impunity in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions,” Allegrozzi said. “Senior-level commanders have yet to be charged, and the families of many other victims are still awaiting justice for crimes committed by all sides.”
Government forces were accused of attacking Ngarbuh but government’s spokesman, Minister of Communication Rene Emmanuel Sadi refuted those allegations. On April 21, the Cameroon government admitted their security forces bear some responsibility for the killings and in June announced the arrest of the two soldiers and a gendarme.
Human Rights Watch found that government forces, including members of the Rapid Intervention Battalion, an armed ethnic Fulani killed 21 civilians in Ngarbuh, including 13 children and a pregnant woman, burned five homes, looted scores of other properties, and beat residents. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that there was no confrontation between armed separatists and security forces in Ngarbuh and that the killings were deliberate and aimed at punishing a population accused of harbouring separatist fighters.
“The government commission’s findings cut the line of responsibility too far down, going after low-ranking soldiers and omitting that those soldiers acted following orders they received from their hierarchy,” Richard Tamfu, one of the lawyers representing the victims, told Human Rights Watch. “The trial should be the opportunity to identify all those responsible for the heinous killings of civilians in Ngarbuh, including those who ordered the massacre and anyone higher up in the chain of command.”
With the trial expected to make headline news across the country and looking at how volatile the situation is, Human Rights Watch has called on Cameroonian authorities to ensure that civil parties are present in court throughout the trial and guarantee the safety of all those participating in the proceedings, including the defendants, victims, witnesses, and human rights activists and journalists involved with the trial.
HRW calls for investigate ‘disreputable’ S. Sudan national security service for human rights violations
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
Juba – South Sudanese authorities have failed to stem or investigate the appalling abuses by the country’s National Security Service (NSS), Human Rights Watch said in a report published on Monday, Dec 14, 2020.
Human Rights Watch is calling for a credible and thorough investigation into the “unlawful” activities of the National Security Service in South Sudan, accusing it of gross human rights violations.
Since the outbreak of the civil war in December 2013, the security service has carried out arbitrary and abusive detentions, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and illegal surveillance, with little to no accountability or justice for victims.
South Sudan’s National Security Service (NSS) was established in 2011, after the country gained independence.
The 2011 Transitional Constitution of the Republic of South Sudan, mandates the NSS to collect information, conduct analysis, and advise relevant authorities.
But since its establishment, the NSS has gone much further than merely collecting information. Within months of its establishment, till today, its agents were arresting and imprisoning journalists, government critics and others, and conducting physical and telephonic surveillance.
However, today, it has become one of the government’s most important tools of repression.
In the 78- page report, “‘What Crime Was I Paying for?’ Abuses by South Sudan’s National Security Service” looks in depth at the patterns of abuse by the National Security Service between 2014 and 2020, and at the atmosphere of fear it creates.
Human Rights Watch research identified the obstacles to justice for these abuses, including denying due process for detainees, the lack of any meaningful judicial or legislative oversight of the agency, legal immunity for NSS agents, and ultimately a lack of political will to address these widespread practices.
These abuses have left victims with long-term physical and mental health conditions.
“All that is needed is political will to rein in South Sudan’s notorious security service and ensure redress for years of abuses,” said Carine Kaneza Nantulya, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, the agency remains the government’s preferred tool of repression, promoting a culture of impunity and leaving victims and their families with little recourse for justice.”
Human Rights Watch said it interviewed 85 people, including former NSS detainees, family members of detainees, activists, policy analysts, civil servants, former military, security, and intelligence personnel, family members of victims of NSS abuses, representatives of domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, diplomats, and United Nations officials.
The report also draws on research published by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, South Sudan’s Human Rights Commission, the UN Mission in South Sudan, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, the UN Panel of Experts on South Sudan, and other international and domestic NGOs.
This report documents serious human rights violations by the NSS in South Sudan, including torture and other ill-treatment of detainees, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detentions, unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, forced returns and violations of privacy rights. The report describes obstacles to accountability for these abuses, including denial of due process for detainees, the lack of any meaningful judicial or legislative oversight of the agency and legal immunities for NSS agents.
With the outbreak of civil war in December 2013 and a resurgence of fighting in July 2016, the NSS engaged in extensive crackdowns targeting people who are deemed to be anti-government.
They also used ethnicity to profile targets with the assumption that people from certain ethnicity belong to armed or political opposition groups.
It has targeted government critics, suspected opponents and rebels, aid workers, human rights defenders, businessmen, journalists and students, and routinely used violence and intimidation, including threats, beatings, and surveillance against them.
Its role also expanded from intelligence gathering to include law enforcement functions and combat operations.
The NSS has three main facilities in Juba that are considered de facto, “official” Blue House, Riverside, and Hai Jalaba – but also uses “unauthorized” places such as residential homes as detention sites. None of these places of detention are legally recognized.
The opacity surrounding the detentions makes it very hard to know how many people are currently under NSS custody but as of late October, the NSS held at least 200 people at the Blue House, an intelligence official told Human Rights Watch.
In the report, the NSS officials have tortured and otherwise ill-treated detainees, including beatings, piercing them with needles, dripping melted hot plastic on them, hanging them upside down from a rope, electrical shocks, and rape. The agency detainees have included pregnant women, people with disabilities, and children.
Detainees are also denied access to lawyers and family. Most are never charged or brought before a court. Those interviewed said they were freed as arbitrarily as they were detained, including through presidential amnesties, via connections, or by paying bribes.
These prolonged detentions and the harsh conditions including beatings, solitary confinement, and inadequate food and water have both a physical and mental toll on detainees.
“I can still feel the needles on my skin,” said a 27-year-old former detainee who was tortured at the Riverside detention site with needles driven into his testicles. He was interviewed six months after his release.
The NSS has also detained people with disabilities, children, and pregnant and lactating women. Many were released without ever being interrogated, charged, or presented in court.
The country’s agency also conducted unlawful physical and telephone surveillance of some people interviewed before and after their release, prompting several to flee the country. It has also harassed and abducted South Sudanese in neighboring countries like Kenya and Uganda whom they deemed to oppose the government; this has created a climate of fear and suspicion among the diaspora in neighboring countries in effect stifling criticism of South Sudan’s government even outside the country.
These practices have thrived due to lack of adequate legislative controls and poor judicial and civilian oversight over the agency, Human Rights Watch said.
The NSS Act grants the agency broad powers of arrest, detention, search, seizure, and surveillance. It does not include guarantees to prevent arbitrary detention and torture or other ill-treatment and provides for immunity for the agents. While it requires the NSS to bring detainees before a magistrate or judge within 24 hours of their detention, the NSS seldom, if ever, does, Human Rights Watch found.
Human Rights Watch calls on the government of South Sudan to end NSS’s de facto powers of detention and close all places of detention used by the NSS.
“They should immediately release all detainees in NSS custody or bring them before a court of law to be charged with a cognizable offense and either released on bail or remanded to the custody of South Sudan’s National Police Service in accordance with the law. They should ensure that all persons in NSS detention who are brought before a court enjoy their full due process rights, including the rights to a lawyer of their choice, to challenge the detention and charges, and, are guaranteed a fair trial,” said HRW.
In September 2019, President Salva Kiir issued an order creating a tribunal to try NSS officers for crimes against the state. But, there is no evidence that the tribunal or other accountability efforts have resulted in credible investigations and trials for serious rights abuses.
As part of the country’s 2018 Revitalized peace deal, to end its five-year civil war, the government agreed to reform the agency. However, proposed amendments presented to the Justice Ministry in June 2019 are minimal and fail to get to the heart of the abuses. While they would criminalize torture, they limit, but do not eliminate, the agency’s powers of arrest and detention.
The NSS would retain surveillance powers, without sufficient oversight, and retain overly broad authority to arrest people suspected of “crimes against the state.” These amendments are pending, awaiting the creation of a new parliament.
However, the HRW said the Revitalized Transitional National Legislature of South Sudan created under the peace agreement – once established – should urgently revise the law to impose genuine limits on the NSS role and powers. The government should order the closure of all unauthorized detention sites, release detainees, and introduce appropriate legal safeguards to prevent abuse of the agency’s surveillance powers.
“South Sudanese authorities need to reform the security service and ensure justice and compensation for victims,” Kaneza said, “This is a crucial step toward building a vibrant country whose future is rooted in the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights.”
South Sudanese authorities should conduct credible and thorough investigations into NSS violations, including the role of the national security minister and the agency’s top leadership in perpetuating abuses by the service, Human Rights Watch said.
South Sudan’s regional and international partners [Troika and AU) should press and publicly call on Juba’s government to end the abuse, reform the NSS, and ensure justice for NSS abuses.
Juba government is yet to respond to this allegedly human rights violation.
Kenya to fix diplomatic relations with Somalia
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenya has announced its intention to mend her diplomatic ties with Somalia, hours after the latter revealed that it had severed its diplomatic relations with her neighbours.
Kenya’s Government spokesperson, Colonel Cyrus Oguna decried the awful diplomatic relations between the two countries, saying their frosty relationship leaves many things at stake.
He disclosed that a committee has been established to inspect the causes of the division. Oguna reiterated that Kenya would explore diplomatic means to resolve the issues behind the rift.
Oguna further revealed that the two countries share common factors such as historical background, economic ties, and the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) that is in Somalia to flush out insurgents Al-Shabaab, and it would be regrettable for issues to split them.
“There is a committee that has been put in place to be able to look into the issues that are coming between these two neighbouring countries that have a lot of history between the two of them. Once the issues are addressed then the press will be notified,” he said.
Nonetheless, Oguna noted that the move would only be in line with the diplomatic principle of “scratch my back and i scratch yours.”
“The issues to do with diplomacy and international relations work on the principle of scratch my back I scratch your back, and as a country, you have been kind and accommodative,” he said.
In the wee hours of Tuesday, Somalia announced that it had cut diplomatic ties with Kenya citing internal interference and violation of her territorial integrity.
Announcing in a televised speech, the country’s Minister of Information Osman Abubakar Dubbe recalled Somalia diplomats in Nairobi and ordered their Kenyan counterparts to vacate the land in the next week.
”Somalia wants all its diplomats to go back to Mogadishu, and Kenyan diplomats have seven days to leave the country,” said Osman Dubbe.
According to Oguna, Kenya will not retaliate against Somalia.
“We are a higher nation; we cannot do the same thing Somalia has done. If we do so it will look like revenge hence, we will let the IGAD and Comesa take control of it,” Oguna said.
Enough is enough! Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Somalia On Tuesday morning, cut its diplomatic ties with her neighbour Kenya.
Announcing in a televised speech, the country’s Minister of Information Osman Abubakar Dubbe defended the step they have taken, accusing Kenya of interfering with her internal affairs and violating her territorial integrity.
Somalia has summoned back its diplomats in Nairobi and gave Kenyan diplomats in Mogadishu an ultimatum of 7 days to leave.
Dubbe blamed Kenya for interfering with her politics and always has an intention to create problems in the country.
”Somalia wants all its diplomats to go back to Mogadishu, and Kenyan diplomats have seven days to leave the country,” said Osman Dubbe.
Somalia’s Ministry of Home Affairs had recalled its ambassador to Kenya Mohamed Ahmed Nuur Tarzan and expelled Kenya’s envoy in Mogadishu Lucas Tumbe. The Ministry accused Kenya of heaping much political pressure on Jubaland’s regional leadership for her political and economic gains.
“The government took this decision while preserving its national sovereignty after it appeared that Kenya was deliberately interfering in the affairs of Somalia, particularly Jubbaland,” read the statement issued by the Somalia government.
“The Somali government expresses its regret in the government of Kenya’s overt and blatant interferences in the internal and political affairs of the Federal Republic of Somalia which has the potential to be a hindrance to the stability, security and development of the entire region.”
Meanwhile, Kenya has rebuffed the allegations referring to them as false and unproven.
“It is incumbent upon all political actors in Somalia to stay true to their political commitments and avoid distracting actions, but rather engage constructively to ensure timely implementation of the election calendar which will mark another critical phase in the post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Somalia,” Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
This move comes just a few hours before Somaliland President Muse Bihi concludes his 3-day visit in Nairobi. Bihi held bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Monday and agreed on several issues.
Uhuru meets US command General Stephen Townsend
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday held talks with Gen. Stephen Townsend , Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The meeting took place in the State House in Nairobi, and the duo discussed military cooperation between Kenyan and American forces.
During the meeting, Kenya’s Chief of Defence Forces, Robert Kibochi, and the US ambassador to Kenya, Kyle McCarter, were also present.
The meeting came a few weeks after the outgoing US President Donald Trump ordered 700 American troops to leave Somalia latest January 15 next week.
However, the AFRICOM said it would continue to support peace restoration in Somalia.
Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the United Nations Security Council’s approval, has made significant progress in flushing Al-Shabaab rebels who had taken the country hostage.
AMISOM was founded in 2007. It is composed of troops drawn from Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
It is headed by the AMISOM Force Commander, Lieutenant Gen. Jim Beesigye Owoyesigire.
Cameroon: Traditional Ruler of Mile 14 Dibanda Killed
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
Chief Ikome Ngale, the traditional ruler of Mile 14 Dibanda located in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon has reportedly been killed by separatist fighters as the crisis in the two English-speaking regions of the country continues to worsen.
The traditional ruler was found dead in the bush December 13, 2020, after he had been earlier kidnapped alongside two of his peers by armed men.
According to reports, Chief Ikome Ngale had invited his fellow traditional rulers for the opening of his new palace on Sunday. The chiefs of Mile 15 and Mile 16 who had come earlier and waiting for the others were all abducted alongside Chief Ikome. The Chiefs of Mile 15 and 16 were later released after a man-hunt was launched by security forces.
“As we were arranging places we heard the sound of gunshots. All of us ran inside and slept on the floor. The armed boys entered the house and took the chief and his colleagues,” the wife of the deceased chief told reporters.
While condoling with the family of the departed Chief, the Divisional Officer for Buea Abba Abdouraman condemned the targeting of traditional rulers and assured the bereaved family of the unflinching resolve of the state of Cameroon to stand by them, to fight those who are against the peace.
For the past months, traditional rulers have been the target of kidnappings and killings. Recently, His Royal Majesty Molinga Francis Nangoh, the traditional ruler of Liwuh La Malale village in Buea, was reportedly murdered by separatist fighters on Friday, November 6, 2020.
CRTV reported that Chief Molinga had just finished a crisis meeting with some members of his community around 7:00 pm when unidentified armed men stormed his palace and shot him in cold blood.
In July 2018, armed separatists kidnapped eight Buea chiefs, including Chief William Njie Mbanda, the traditional ruler of Lysoka Moliwe Village in Buea Subdivision, who died on Friday, July 27, 2018, while in captivity.
Killings, kidnappings, arsons, maiming, and outright terror have become part of daily lives in some parts of the English-speaking regions.
Cameroon’s government has called on hundreds of traditional rulers who have fled separatist conflict areas to return, assuring them that the palaces, markets, schools and roads destroyed by separatists would be reconstructed. But the traditional rulers have refused, saying they are still threatened by fighting between government troops and Anglophone separatists.
The traditional ruler of the Mundani tribe, in Lebialem Division Fon Lekunze, who reports said, has been in Yaoundé for the past two years, said peace has yet to return to the English-speaking regions. He said several of his peers were attacked when they returned home in July to preach peace, and are still threatened by fighters via social media and by telephone, VOA reported.
“We have implored traditional diplomacy to sensitize populations to shun away from violence and embrace development, and we have used the dialoguing method by pleading with our children, and we are very hopeful that calm is going to return as soon as possible,” he said.
Rwanda adopts tough measures as Covid-19 cases soar
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Maniraguha Ferdinand
As Coronavirus cases increase, Rwanda has taken tougher measures to curb the spread of the viruses including suspending all national events.
In a cabinet meeting chaired by President Paul Kagame on Monday, 14th December 2020, it was decided to impose curfew that will be starting from 9 PM to 4 AM, however between 22th December and 4th January 2021 curfew will be starting from 8 PM to 4 AM.
Among other the measures are that social gatherings including wedding ceremonies and celebrations of all kinds are prohibited both in public and private settings. Meetings and conferences should not exceed 30% of venue capacity and participants are required to be tested before.
Public transportation throughout the country will be operating at half capacity while places of worship will operate once a week at no more than half of maximum occupancy.
The national football premier league games and training camps were suspended except for national football team competitions and clubs involved in international competitions.
Since last week number of daily covid-19 cases increased sharply surpassing one hundred. By Monday 14th December, Rwanda had recorded 6747 cases with 56 deaths.
Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: Unique ID as Foundational Building Block
December 15, 2020 | 0 Comments
As the world seeks to close the identification gap by embracing digital ID and achieve Sustainable Development Goals, many countries forget about unique ID—the foundation of any functional e-ID system .
December 15th, 2020. The world is facing an identification gap problem. The World Bank has estimated that around one billion people, the majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa, encounter significant challenges when proving their identities and exercising basic human rights set out in international laws—voting, getting a quality education, receiving social and medical benefits, or finding legal employment.
The issue of lack of identification has been at the core of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme, which has set an ambitious goal of closing the identification gap by providing legal identity for all including free birth registrations by 2030.
To achieve this object, digital identity systems are generally identified as the best solution. Many emerging economies have already recognized the importance of digital IDs in bringing socio-economic benefits, building more inclusive societies, providing e-services, and laying the base for achieving other SDGs. Some of them have included digital ID in their post-pandemic recovery plans.
A common mistake
However, according to Mindaugas Glodas, CEO at NRD Companies, a global IT and consulting group of companies specializing in e-governance that has recently published a whitepaper on digital ID, it is crucial to identify the potential risks before jumping into the digital dimension. One of the most common risks lies in the absence of a well-functioning civil registration and vital statistics (CRVS) system.
“CRVS is the most fundamental building block of the national identification system and is integral to successful digital ID implementation,” said Mr Glodas. “It fully covers life events of the individual starting from birth and is continuously updated throughout the lifetime. Only a complete, accurate, and efficient digital CRVS system is a proper basis for further developments.”
Mr Glodas also added that major problems emerge in cases where countries leapfrog the traditional physical identification schemes and move directly towards building digital identification systems. “When there is no proper identification in the physical system, some people manage to get hold of several different passports, making it more difficult for governments to counter fraud and other illicit activities as well as meet SDGs,” said Mr Glodas.
Uniqueness at the core
Uniqueness is key when it comes to avoiding such misunderstandings. “Every individual must be given a unique identity—a set of attributes and characteristics that individualize a person,” said Mr Glodas. “It can be biometric data like DNA or fingerprints and it is not the document itself, be it a passport or an ID card.”
It can also be unique identifiers (UINs)—sequences of at least ten digits to identify a person, designed as a logical construct referencing date of birth, gender, code of geographical location at birth, or a random number. “Usually, UINs serve as a link between the civil registration system and the national identity, and also ensure the interoperability of other registers and state information systems,” said Mr Glodas.
He concluded that having a sustainable unique digital ID system can not only help achieve the UN’s goals of providing identification for all by 2030, but has the potential to advance many other interrelated SDGs.
“Countries embracing latter concepts of unique digital identity and e-services highly contribute to achieving other SDGs such as strengthening digital literacy, digital and financial inclusion, digital connectivity and identity, and healthcare,” said Mr Glodas.
ABOUT NRD COMPANIES
NRD Companies is a global IT and consulting group of companies, specializing in governance and economic digital infrastructure development. Headquartered in Norway, the group unites companies operating in Fintech, GovTech and practice-based consulting areas in aiding countries to reach UN sustainable development goals. NRD companies have a successful track record of implementing projects, such as e-service delivery platforms, national post digitalization, tax administration platforms and other digital solutions, in all 5 continents. The Group is a recognized leader in the industry and is controlled by the INVL Technology UTIB.
NRD Companies is a parent company for the following subsidiary corporations: Norway Registers Development AS, NRD Systems, NRD Rwanda, NRD Bangladesh, ETRONIKA, Infobank Uganda. More information: www.nrd.no.
African nations join global top table at climate change summit
December 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
More than 70 world leaders met at a virtual Climate Ambition Summit hosted by the UK Government where nations including from the African continent were called upon to bring new plans for tackling the climate crisis.
With climate breakdown continuing to rage around the world this year, including in Africa with devastating locust swarms driven by climate change, this meeting is a crucial opportunity for countries to put the world on a safe path by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions and offering support for the most vulnerable.
Mohamed Adow,Director of Nairobi-based climate and energy think tank, Power Shift Africa said it was particularly pleasing to see 10 African leaders invited to take part, demonstrating how Africa is showing global green leadership on the most critical issues for African lives and prosperity. The 10 African countries are the DRC, Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zimbabwe.
He said, “As an African I was proud to see leaders from my continent being part of the solution to this global problem and sharing an international platform with other heads of state from around the world. It shows the progress made by some African countries that they are now at the top table when it comes to climate leadership.
“Africa has a huge part to play in the fight to stop climate change. We have endless sources of clean energy, from wind and solar to geothermal and hydro. As Africa uses these non-polluting forms of energy to power our development we can show the rest of the world that we don’t need to foul our air and distort our climate to bring prosperity. By leapfrogging the old fossil fuel energy of the past, we can accelerate our development and prevent further damage to our climate. Africa is especially vulnerable to hotter temperatures, droughts, storms and locusts swarms so it’s in our own interest to be at the forefront of this global energy transition. We now need to see more African countries stepping up and joining the top table of international climate leaders.”
Adow added that this virtual summit was a crucial part of the Paris climate agreement, which celebrates its 5th anniversary this weekend. He said: “This ambition summit is vital if we want to inject some momentum into climate action as we head into 2021. Currently the pledges that make up the Paris Agreement leave us with a world of 3 degrees of global heating, a fate which would be catastrophic. But the Paris Agreement was designed to be a dynamic accord which called on countries to strengthen national plans every five years so we can bend that global heating curve downwards to achieve the 1.5C goal contained within the agreement. This summit is the first example of this ‘ratchet’ mechanism in action and so we need to see countries stepping up with radical actions which fit the urgent crisis we face.
“But it cannot just be emissions reductions. The Paris Agreement also requires richer nations to provide financial support for those countries which are bearing the brunt of climate change but have done almost nothing to cause it. They need support to adapt to the floods, droughts and storms that are destroying their lives and livelihoods. They also need help to leapfrog fossil fuels and move to renewables which would be a win win for everyone.”
Mozambican agents to receive counter-terrorism training
December 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
By Jorge Joaquim
Portugal will support Mozambique in fighting the terrorism in Cabo Delgado province with training and logistical support for its military, Portuguese defence minister João Gomes Cravinho has said.
Starting in January, a team of Portuguese military personnel will be in Mozambique to draft a project together with the general staff of the Mozambican Defence and Security Forces.
Cravinho said it was important to know the enemy, as terrorism in Mozambique had common characteristics with terrorism in other parts of the world, particularly on the African coast, but it also had aspects local to the area. He added that since Portugal would take over the presidency of the European Union (EU) in the first half of 2021, it would help in reiterating Mozambique’s request for support from the EU and strengthen the EU’s capacity to respond to needs on the ground.
Last week the interior minister, Amade Miquidade, said tha the Mozambican police’s criminal investigation unit, Sernic, is undergoing specialised training to deal with terrorism-related issues in Cabo Delgado province.
He said that the aim was to enable officers to understand how terrorists operate, and that in Mozambique they acted like guerrillas. He added that terrorists recruited young people to join their ranks, and it was up to Sernic to investigate to prevent this from happening.
Insurgents who attacked a village in Cabo Delgado province earlier this week were trying to approach the Afungi peninsula, where the natural gas projects are being developed, President Filipe Nyusi has said.
Nyusi praised the Defence and Security Forces’ response to the insurgent attack on the village of Mute, which is less than 25km away from the site of the projects. Government forces held off the attack with the support of helicopters.
As with previous attacks, their proximity to the gas projects caused teams of contractors working on the construction of the gas projects to stop work, but they resumed work yesterday.
Meanwhile, French oil and gas multinational Total, which is leading one of the projects, told Lusa agency that it was maintaining permanent contact with the Mozambican authorities to closely monitor the situation in Cabo Delgado. An official source from Total said: “The safety of the workforce and the activities of the Mozambique LNG project is our absolute priority”.
The Gambia announces plans to launch national ‘NO MORE’ campaign against domestic violence
December 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Gambia has announced plans to launch a national ‘NO MORE’ campaign against domestic and sexual violence.
Fatou Kinteh, Gambian Minister for Women’s Affairs, Children and Social Welfare, joined the Commonwealth Secretary-General in Banjul when she made her commitment on Human Rights Day.
When launched next year, ‘The Gambia Says NO MORE’ campaign will aim to tackle domestic and sexual violence, while creating long-term prevention measures to eliminate abuse.
The Gambian national chapter will be part of the global ‘Commonwealth Says NO MORE’ movement and will support national efforts to achieve the sustainable development goal for gender equality.
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who is currently in The Gambia on an official visit, said:
“With the pandemic triggering an alarming rise in cases of domestic and sexual violence, the announcement signifies The Gambia’s strong commitment to ending this scourge.
“The abuse, far too often, is hidden and is regarded as a private matter, trapping victims in shame and persuading bystanders to turn a blind eye.
“So it is critical to put the spotlight on this hidden pandemic to send a clear message to victims that help is available while engaging everyone in the society to play their role in addressing domestic and sexual violence.”
She said the campaign would be of vital importance to every Gambian, particularly more than 60 per cent of the citizens under the age of 30.
The Secretary-General continued: “We need to make sure their future is not like our past. Together with Minister Kinteh, we are saying NO MORE violence because if we do not have peace in our homes, we will never have peace in the world.”
In The Gambia, around one in three women experience sexual or physical violence in their lifetime, similar to the global prevalence rate. The abuse remains largely unreported due to impunity, silence, stigma and fear.
Minister Kinteh said: “Ending gender-based violence is everyone’s business. The Gambia is a patriarchal society. We want to make sure all efforts are being made to sensitise every citizen on the human rights of women.
“The Gambia is joining the Commonwealth in saying NO MORE to gender-based violence. Early next year, we will bring together partners and communities to launch ‘The Gambia Says NO MORE’ campaign.”
Addressing Gambian women through media, she said: “You must no longer suffer in silence. You can get help. Voice your complaint and seek support – respectfully and confidentially.”
The Minister highlighted that her government has embarked on a raft of initiatives to protect women and girls, including a new Domestic Violence Act, a national helpline and gender-sensitive support services.
NO MORE Global Executive Director Pamela Zaballa said: “The NO MORE Foundation is excited to support the development of ‘The Gambia Says NO MORE’ and to be part of their commitment to ending violence against women and girls.
“We are assured that the partnership supported by the Secretary-General and Minister Fatou Kinteh will develop into a strong and resilient chapter.
“We look forward to working in partnership and ending violence against women and girls in The Gambia.”
Moving forward, The Secretariat and NO MORE Foundation will work together with the Ministry to develop and deliver the campaign.
Road users in Ghana see life-changing impact as Bank-funded jumbo road interchange partially opens
December 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
Pointing overhead to the imposing structure of concrete pillars and tiered, swirling highways, 63-year-old Ayorkor Baka, like many others, welcomes the new interchange, saying it will cut pedestrian fatalities on the road linking Accra and Nsawam.
The bridge, the first of its kind in West Africa, is a crucial link between the capital and the middle belt via Ghana’s second-largest city of Kumasi. Overall, the interchange is 87% complete, according to the site engineers. They have announced plans to gradually open the facility in phases until its full completion in March 2021.
Four years ago, Baka lost her 11-year-old granddaughter on the same stretch of road. The girl died from injuries three days after she was hit by a vehicle while crossing the highway.
“The sight of this new bridge gives me mixed feelings – but what matters to me most is that it has come to save lives. It is a significant means to ending the carnage on the road,” Baka said. The new interchange is designed to separate high-speed traffic from pedestrian road users and has footbridges for safe crossings.
Official records show that at least 15 people were killed and several others were injured on the stretch of highway in the last four years. In one incident, two people died instantly when an articulated truck rammed into seven other cars, causing a pile-up.
The African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the African Development Bank Group provided a $83.9 million loan for the construction of the four-tier Pokuase Interchange and other upgrading work, which began in March 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021.
On 25 November 2020, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo partially opened the bridge to ease traffic congestion.
The works form part of the Accra Urban Transport Project (AUTP) approved by the Bank in 2016 to promote efficient and safe movement of goods and people in and out of Ghana’s capital city, boost trade along the connecting routes and improve the people’s livelihoods.
The project’s beneficiaries are local factories and agro-industries, transporters and travelers on the Accra-Kumasi road corridor, which is the main transit route for food produced in Ghana’s middle belt breadbasket to Accra.
The project, which aligns to the Bank’s High-5 priorities on regional integration and improving the quality of life for the people of Africa, forms part of the wider Ghana-Burkina Faso road corridor.
In addition to the interchange, the AUTP entails the construction of 10 km of roads, 5 km of storm drains, the relocation of electricity, water and telephone utilities, and facilities to safeguard the environment. The project also provides ICT equipment and training for 14 schools in the area and supports two women’s groups in using ICT to improve their microbusiness.
Like granny Baka, trucker Foster Adadevoh says the bridge and associated works will greatly impact livelihoods, not only in the local communities but also to the benefit of commuters and traders, especially women carting perishable foodstuffs from the forest belt to the capital.
“Motorists like me can now heave a sigh of relief…it’s also a great relief to my customers. Sometimes, we spend more than an hour in this part of the traffic,” said Adadevoh, who hauls crates of tomatoes from northern Ghana to the capital.
Such projects form an essential part of improving the lives of Africans. According to the Bank’s 2020 Annual Development Effectiveness Review, quality of life has gradually improved on the continent, in part as a result of Bank-funded projects, in particular access to infrastructure.
The report highlights the role that roads have played in communities. Around the Awoshi-Pokuase road, for example, 103,000 people gained access to a clean water source and monthly household spending increased by 10%. The 14 km road financed by the Bank was completed in 2016. The report cautions, however, that not all improvements in living conditions are directly attributed to Bank investments.
“In 2018, when we broke the ground for this project, we were talking about a concept, but today we are talking about a reality that will greatly impact on livelihoods,” Resident Engineer Kwabena Bempong said.
The African Development Bank’s portfolio in Ghana is valued at around $800 million since 2013, with around 40.4% of its funding supporting the country’s transport sector. Notable among the projects is the Kotoka International Airport Terminal 3, which opened to travelers in September 2018. Other sectors it supports are agriculture, at 31.7%; multi-sector at 10.6%; as well as power, water and sanitation and finance.