Ramaphosa proposes single African currency: AU Summit
March 21, 2018 | 0 Comments
KIGALI – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday strongly punted the idea of creating a single homogeneous currency for African countries in a bid to attract infrastructure investment and enable ease of intra-African trade.
Speaking as a panelist on financing intra-Africa trade at the African Continental Free Trade Area business forum in Kigali, Rwanda, Ramaphosa said that it was time that Africa stops relying on foreign currency for its development and trade, adding that this was born of colonial mentality.
“These are the reasons we need partners who must work with us and assist us ensure we de-risk projects in order to attract finance for infrastructure projects. I am particularly interested in the notion of us having a tradeable currency that allows us to trade effectively across territorial borders,” Ramaphosa said.
“We must rid ourselves of this colonial mentality that demands we rely on other people’s currency. Perhaps the day, the hour and the moment could have arrived for us to create a single African currency. Our focus should not be on our individual countries but the continent as a whole to unlock great opportunities and capabilities.”
At least 53 African Heads of States have gathered in Kigali for the 10th Extraordinary Summit of the AU to consider the legal instruments of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) and also launch the agreement officially to establish the treaty.
AfCTA is aimed at deepening African economic integration, promoting agricultural development, food security, industrialisation and structural economic transformation through single-air continental transport market with free movement of persons, capital, goods and services.
AU chairperson and Rwanda President, Paul Kagame gave a strong indication yet that member states will sign the treaty to create the continental free trade area even if the continent’s most-populated country, Nigeria, withdraws from the meeting.
Ramaphosa said that the AfCFTA signals a new beginning for Africa and an opportunity to unleash African people’s entrepreneurial nature, adding that the treaty would create a level playing field for African countries to participate in meaningful trade.
He also touched on the nagging issue of visa barriers for travellers between South Africa and Rwanda, saying that African leaders were creating pathways for their countries which had been impeded by artificial borders to flourish.
“Earlier today, I met with His Excellency President Kagame. We have agreed that we will put the relationship between our two countries on a much better footing. Amongst the issues we discussed, was that we must resolve the challenge of issuing of visa to people of Rwanda wanting to visit South Africa,” Ramaphosa said.
“Our Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation have been tasked to work on this immediately and we thus consider this matter of visas as solved.”
*African News Agency
Initiative for Global Development Announces Sponsorship Line up for U.S. Roadshow Tour
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 20, 2018 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) announced today its lineup of sponsors and partners for its four-city U.S. Roadshow Tour, taking place from April 18 – May 1, 2018, to spur bold action on increasing U.S. trade and investment in Africa.
The U.S. roadshow tour, “Africa Investment Rising: Building Momentum for Investing in Africa’s Economic Prosperity”, is aimed at re-shaping perceptions on doing business in Africa by bringing trade and investment opportunities to U.S. companies and forging stronger connections between U.S. and African business leaders in key growth sectors.
African and U.S. CEOs and senior executives from sector-leading companies and investors are invited to participate in the U.S. roadshow’s multi-city series of site visits, panel discussions, and speed networking among investors and business leaders to spur greater U.S. investment in Africa.
Top level sponsors of the U.S. Roadshow Tour include USAID’s East Africa and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs as Premier Sponsor. The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group will serve as Collaborating Partner and the Bank’s top leadership from key sectors will be participating throughout the roadshow tour.
Launching the U.S. roadshow in Washington, D.C on April 18 with an evening reception to kick off the U.S. Roadshow Tour on Capitol Hill.
A high-level morning session on April 19 will focus on U.S. financing of businesses operating in Africa. A Private Sector Engagement Forum, to be held on the afternoon of Thursday, April 19, will bring together development actors — USAID officials, African government officials and representatives from the private sector and civil society — for an action-oriented discussion on building successful public-private partnerships to promote sustainable development and economic prosperity on the continent.
The roadshow tour will then travel to New York City to highlight banking, financing, and investment opportunities; Des Moines, IA for agriculture and agro-industry; and Houston, TX for energy and power.
“It has never been a better time for trade and investment in Africa,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcoych, President and CEO of the Initiative for Global Development (IGD). “We’re excited about launching the U.S. roadshow tour to showcase the continent’s economic potential. Expanding trade and investment will enable both U.S. and African companies to scale and tap into new markets, leading to mutually beneficial job creation and greater economic prosperity. It’s a win-win.”
Platinum sponsors are Chevron, Norton, Rose and Fulbright LLP, Iowa State University Research Park, and AGCO; Lilium Capital, and Orrick; Gold sponsors are Corteva Agriscience, Endeavor Energy, John Deere, Sasol, and AllAfrica.com; and Silver sponsors are World Food Prize Foundation and Millennium Challenge Corporation.
Organizational Partners are PAN Diaspora Capital Management, Harris Africa Partners/Grant T. Harris, The Serendra Group LLC/Robert van Zwieten, U.S. Bilateral African Chamber of Commerce, Global Farmer Network, U.S. Small Business Administration, and Invest Africa.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is a regional multilateral development bank engaged in promoting the sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries, thus contributing to poverty reduction. The USAID East Africa and Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hubs provide extensive support to deepen the U.S.-Africa economic and commercial relationship with and within their regions.
Sponsorship opportunities are still available and IGD will announce additional sponsors and media partners on an ongoing basis. For information contact, Lara Bangs, Manager of Corporate Events, at email@example.com or visit www.aircampaign.org
The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is a Washington, DC-based network of African and global business leaders who are committed to advancing sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa through business investment. IGD brings together CEOs and senior executives from leading African and global companies through our Frontier Leader Network to catalyze greater business investment and impact on the African continent.
Pan African University 2018 Student Call Now Open: Join Africa’s Leaders in Water and Energy
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
|The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES) offers four distinct two-year Master programs|
TLEMCEN, Algeria, March 20, 2018/ — The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences including Climate Change (PAUWES) (http://PAUWES.univ-tlemcen.dz) in Algeria contributes to promoting higher education and applied research in the fields of water, energy and climate change – a key contribution to sustainable development in Africa. The admissions process for its Master programs in water and energy (both engineering and policy tracks) starting in September 2018 is now open. All AU citizens (including diaspora) are encouraged to apply, particularly women and candidates from Southern, Central, and Northern Africa.
Building a prosperous and stable Africa calls for a new generation of African leaders capable of and committed to facing the vast challenges of the continent. These challenges include water scarcity, renewable energy, and climate change. The Pan African University (PAU) (https://PAU-AU.net), a key initiative of the African Union Commission, is dedicated to this mission. The Pan African University Institute for Water and Energy Sciences (PAUWES) is hosted by the University of Tlemcen in Algeria. Since its establishment in 2014, over 200 students from 31 countries across Africa have enrolled, and 73 students have been successfully graduated from its programs. “PAUWES is a prototype of the Africa of tomorrow, for which we are laying the foundations,” said Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, during his official visit to PAUWES on 11 March 2018. PAUWES benefits from the support of the Algerian government and the German Development Cooperation.
Today, PAUWES offers four distinct two-year Master programs. Students striving to be future engineers have the choice between the Master of Science (MSc) in Water Engineering and the MSc in Energy Engineering. Students interested in policy-making and governance can choose between the MSc in Water Policy and Energy Policy. The language of instruction is English, and students have the opportunity to study French at the onset of the program. PAUWES students come from all over Africa, which creates a unique possibility to study in a multicultural environment of highly motivated and engaged peers.
PAUWES strives to balance theory and practice through international internships, case studies, and field trips. To provide the students with specific technical skills in their field of interest, PAUWES offers electives (e.g. solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energies, water and sanitation, integrated water resource management, policy analysis or leadership). Graduates benefit from career pathways in public administration, policy-making, research, private enterprise, consulting and civil society. Access to the Institute’s international expert network, research partnerships, career-promotion programs and forthcoming entrepreneurship centre further boosts graduates’ profiles.
Under the framework of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, PAUWES places a special emphasis on recruiting and empowering female students. The Institute facilitates women-focused networking events and workshops. To further develop its vision of diversity, PAUWES also encourages applicants with disabilities and candidates from under-represented regions (Southern Africa, Central Africa, Northern Africa) to apply. All PAUWES students receive full scholarships (covering tuition and living expenses) following a competitive admission process.
About Pan African University
Ghana approves agreement for US military base
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdullah
The Government of Ghana has approved an agreement with the United States of America to set up a military base in Ghana and also allow unrestricted access to a host of facilities and wide-ranging tax exemptions to the United States Military.
A document intercepted by panafricanvisions.com on the agreement, said the US military will use Ghana as a base to deploy its soldiers. US Military personnel may also “possess and carry arms in Ghana, while on duty if authorized to do so, by their orders, such authorization being made in consultation with the appropriate authorities of Ghana. Military personnel may wear their uniforms while performing official duties.”
According to the document, “United States Contractors shall not be liable to pay tax or similar charge assess within Ghana in connection with this agreement”. The US military is also authorized to control entry to the facilities meant for the exclusive use of their forces.
“This Agreement sets forth a framework for enhanced partnership and security cooperation between the Parties with the aims of strengthening their defense relationship further and addressing shared security challenges in the region, including those relating to the protection of Government personnel and facilities.
“This Agreement clarifies access to and use of agreed facilities and areas by United States forces, thereby facilitating training, including to maintain unit readiness, combined exercises, and other
military engagement opportunities.
“United States forces may undertake the following types of activities in Ghana: training; transit: support and related activities; refueling of aircraft; landing and recovery of aircraft, accommodation of personnel; communications; staging and deploying of forces and materiel: exercises; humanitarian and disaster relief; and other activities as mutually agreed.
The agreement adds that Military personnel and civilian personnel may enter and exit Ghana with United States Government-furnished identification (for military personnel, an identification card and collective movement or individual travel orders, and for civilian personnel, a passport and official orders.
According to the agreement approved by Cabinet last week, “Ghana hereby provides unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by Unite States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces.
The agreement adds that the United States forces are hereby authorized to control entry to agreed “facilities and areas that having been provided for exclusive use by United States forces, and to coordinate entry with the authorities of Ghana at agreed facilities and areas provided for joint use by United States force and Ghana, for purposes of safety and security.
Ghana’s Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul strongly defended the decision by cabinet to give the United States Military unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas in Ghana.
According to him, reports that cabinet has given approval for the United States military to set up a base in Ghana is untrue and that the agreement is meant to be a “partnership in fighting terrorism to make us prepared, partnership in training our peace keepers, partnership in building the capacity of our soldiers.”
Over the next two years, he said “they (Americans) are going to spend over $20 million “providing training to Ghanaian soldiers in grants.
“So all that they have asked for is that in going with this kind of training and partnering Ghana to secure our own environment, they will be using a lot of things that they will bring in and so they need some facilities at the airport to be able to keep these things and so we have agreed with them that these are the facilities that you can use. That is what we called the agreed facilities,” Mr. Nitiwul said in the wake of a leaked document detailing how the cabinet of the West African country has approved an agreement for the World’s super power to set up a military base in Ghana.
“…We should be grateful to the Americans for spending their hard earned resources to come and upgrade our soldiers,” the minister added, stressing that, “There is nothing like a military base…and [that] the Americans are not setting up a military base [here].”
Moammar Gadhafi’s son wants to be the next president of Libya
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Joe Tacopino*
The son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi reportedly wants to run for president of the country in elections later this year.
The candidacy of Saif al-Islam Gadhafi — who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity — was announced by the Libyan Popular Front party on Monday, according to London’s Telegraph newspaper.
Saif al-Islam, 45, is currently in hiding. The political party said they would address the country about his plans.
Human rights activist Khaled Guel told the pan-Arab newspaper al-Araby al-Jadeed that things are so bad in Libya that people want Gadhafi to take over.
“The humanitarian situation is deteriorating and the path forward is unclear,” said Guel.
“Therefore many Libyans now believe that the only way to save the country is through Saif al-Islam.”
Moammar Gadhafi was killed in 2011 after overseeing a bloody suppression of an uprising against him.
Saif al-Islam was held by a militia for six years and released last year and granted amnesty by a local government.
A court in Tripoli, however sentenced him to death, in absentia, in 2015 for crimes committed during the revolution.
He is accused of inciting violence and murdering protesters.
*New York Post
Roll up your sleeves and start thinking BIG – how to get ICT in Africa right
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Murray Steyn*
Whether one subscribes to the Africa Rising narrative (a term perhaps coined by this analysis of Africa’s prospects, published by The Economist in 2011)) or a more moderate outlook for the continent, the fact is that the ICT sector has the most to gain from Africa’s economic advancement, and the most to contribute to it too.
There isn’t a single industry – from mining to manufacturing, education to entrepreneurial endeavours of every flavour, from city construction to individual actualisation – that will not be advanced by reliable, affordable access to the Internet. I don’t think there’s another sector in the world that can make such a momentous promise.
The opportunity for ICT companies of all sizes – from neighbourhood ISPs to cross-national carriers – is significant, particularly for home-grown ICT operations that surely know our continent and its markets better than any imported from overseas. Increasingly, local ICT players are collaborating to offer competitively-priced and technologically-sound solutions that are outperforming those presented by international competitors.
Many of these would only be possible through wholesale product offerings by large network operators like Internet Solutions. This may appear to be a counter-intuitive business model but for those that invested in the infrastructure and licences on which new competitors grow their market share, there is a lot of opportunity to be had in reallocating network capacity.
Below are some of the trends we’re seeing in the wholesale ICT sector, specifically looking to Africa:
Local carriers are also entering partnerships with third-party service providers
The days of operators owning the entirety of their own networks – from first- to last-mile – are over. And that’s fine. As I’ve mentioned, where some licensees have adopted business models based on owning their infrastructure, other operators have opted to partner with existing network players to bring innovative services to the market faster.
What is interesting is that even at a very local level, where one could argue that infrastructure investment is fairly contained, ISPs are recognising the benefit of outsourcing network, data centre and other assets to experienced partners. By concentrating on what they do best, which is likely servicing their customers, even the smallest ISP has the means to build a thriving business.
Red tape and regulation still hampers cross-border operations
Africa is the continent with the most countries – 54 to be exact. It’s comprised of countless tribes, innumerable languages, political instability, infrastructure challenges and more than enough regulation to go around.
The fact is that African policy-making has not been able to keep up with the exponential growth of technology, devices and their applications. As such, regulation is reactive rather than supportive, and appears to handicap development rather than encourage it.
Perhaps the solution is that foreign companies – even African ones – get closer to policy-makers in their new markets to better mitigate the risks of changing policy. Perhaps more involvement, lobbying, and monetary and other investment from the get-go will lead to better mitigation of the risks associated with policy change.
Asian operators have their eyes on Africa too
China and India are two Asian markets that not only survived the global recession but thrived despite it.
Their respective population bases, and size of their economies, provide economies of scale that are driving the growth of their ICT sectors, while the number of science and engineering students in both countries looks to sustain this growth and innovation well into the future – and into foreign territories like Africa.
Perhaps it’s true that many African ISPs lack the financial and experiential muscle of Asian competitors, but how many of these can boast genuine pan-African development agendas, and partnerships with local companies to overcome infrastructure challenges?
As Ayanda Dlamini, Business Development Manager at LGR Telecommunications, said recently: “Africa has both the resources and the resourcefulness to develop a thriving ICT sector delivering solutions fit for purpose in Africa. The outlook is very healthy. All we need to do is take action and seize the opportunity.”
Beware of competing on cost
When it comes to Internet connectivity and access, cheapest is not necessarily best. Consumers want speed. In our experience, the arguments against unreliable connections are about as vociferous as those against high data costs.
The fact is that the speed vs. cost debate comes down to the market one is serving. A less sophisticated market has yet to learn that fast becomes cheap, whereas an experienced market of users with more high-end devices and applications comes to realise that if they can’t get data at the price they’d prefer to pay for it (i.e. free), then speed and bandwidth capacity is something they simply won’t compromise on.
My advice to ISPs entering new African territories – whether into a new country or a new neighbourhood – is to research your market thoroughly to understand who your consumers are and what they need. Then structure and price your offering accordingly.
Doing business in Africa is complicated, but it’s far from impossible. After all, Internet Solutions has been doing so for more than 20 years. We have invested in long distance and last-mile networks – the latter is especially challenging given that customers are geographically dispersed and often in underdeveloped locales.
Importantly, we have built and maintained relationships with trusted, in-country service providers. We understand exactly how consumers use data and can project future usage patterns as populations grow and disposable income increases.
What remains is the increasingly vital component of customer service, which we entrust to our wholesale clients
*Murray Steyn, Executive Head: Wholesale at Internet Solutions
In Africa, Trump’s firing of Tillerson a new sign of neglect
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By RODNEY MUHUMUZA*
KAMPALA, Uganda – Ask some Africans what they think of President Donald Trump and they just shake their heads. That sense of indifference appears to have deepened after Trump fired his secretary of state at the end of Rex Tillerson’s first Africa tour last week.
Tillerson’s visit was widely seen as a Trump peace offering after the uproar over his reported vulgar remarks about African nations and his administration’s neglect of the world’s second most populous continent. The former secretary of state had been seen as a restraining influence on Trump and had clashed with the president over several foreign policy matters.
Now many Africans are tamping down their expectations of Trump even more. The U.S. president has rarely spoken about any priorities for a continent where many of its 50-plus nations have long relied on U.S. support for everything from health care to security.
Tillerson’s trip to Africa, including to the headquarters of the continent-wide African Union, had been widely seen as an effort to repair damage to relations. Now, with his firing, some in Africa feel they are starting anew with the Trump administration.
Tillerson’s departure is a sharp indication of Trump’s less-than-positive attitude toward the continent, some say.
“That, in my opinion, is adding insult to injury,” said Ted Alemayhu, an Ethiopian-born American who is running for Congress to represent California’s 39th District.
While in Africa, Tillerson tried to project a more positive image of the continent, saying its rapid economic growth and fast-growing populations mean its future is increasingly linked to America’s.
He visited some of Africa’s most prominent economies in Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia and highlighted U.S. security issues with stops in Chad and Djibouti, the site of the only permanent U.S. military base on the continent.
Tillerson also sought to reassure African nations that aid would continue even as the Trump administration pursues deep cuts in foreign assistance, announcing at the end of his visit $533 million in humanitarian aid for countries such as South Sudan and Nigeria.
Nigeria’s foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, told The Associated Press that “we don’t see any change happening” in relations with the U.S. after Tillerson’s firing.
Unlike Trump, recent U.S. leaders engaged substantially with Africa.
Bill Clinton created a signature trade program known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act, and George W. Bush launched an HIV treatment program, PEPFAR, that has boosted the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients across Africa.
Barack Obama enjoyed goodwill throughout the continent, even though some in Africa felt he fell short of expectations as the son of Kenyan man.
Trump has not indicated any possible initiatives for Africa.
Trump “has no need, as he has discovered,” to engage with the continent, said Timothy Kalyegira, a prominent social critic in Uganda. “The feeling is that he is a free agent. If he wants to visit Africa, it’s fine. If he doesn’t want, it doesn’t matter.”
Trump has not named an assistant secretary of state to oversee the continent, nor an ambassador to key countries like South Africa. And Africa got a mere seven paragraphs on the very last pages of Trump’s National Security Strategy.
That lack of attention has left room for other countries such as China to step up their influence.
With its offers of concessional loans that help finance the ambitious infrastructure projects of some African governments, China’s footprint is widening. And African leaders like Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni have said they would rather do business with a partner who does not lecture them about good governance and respecting human rights, giving China the thumbs-up.
In Djibouti, China’s development of its first overseas military base just a few miles from the U.S. base has illustrated the broader competition between the U.S. and China playing out across the continent.
Even as some argue that the Trump administration’s focus on Africa is notable in counterterror efforts if not in other issues, some Africans say they have given up on the U.S. president.
“Africans have nothing to take Trump seriously,” said Befekadu Hailu, a prominent Ethiopian blogger. “He already proved himself ethno-centrist and exclusivist, no friend to Africa.”
Buhari puts off ACFTA free trade deal signing
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
“This is to allow more time for input from Nigerian stakeholders”.
Nigeria has officially put off signing the framework agreement for establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) following protests by major labour unions, which warned that the deal would harm the local economy.
The country’s foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement Sunday night that President Muhammadu Buhari has cancelled his trip to the Rwandan capital Kigali, where African heads of state were scheduled to ink the agreement this week.
“President Buhari has cancelled his trip to Kigali, Rwanda, to attend an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the African Union on Tuesday, March 21, to sign the framework agreement for establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area,” according to the statement by Tope Elias-Fatile, the foreign ministry spokesman.
“This is to allow more time for input from Nigerian stakeholders,” it added.
The Nigerian federal cabinet last week approved the signing of the deal, which it said would boost the country’s export, “spur growth and boost job creation as well as eliminate barriers against Nigeria’s products and provide a Dispute Settlement Mechanism for stopping the hostile and discriminatory treatment directed against Nigerian natural and corporate business persons in other African countries.”
ACFTA, a brainchild of the African Union to deepen regional integration, had been in the works since January 2012 – with Nigeria as one of its major promoters. However, local labour unions and big corporations have always been against it.
Last week, Nigeria’s trade and investment minister Okechukwu Enelamah acknowledged the continuous opposition to the deal, but he added that efforts were afoot to get the buy-in of all the stakeholders before the signing.
Scores lose millions to Savana Brokerage as grift scheme hits Ghana.
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdullah
It is estimated that funds amounting to over GHC2million was invested across the country by Ghanaians.
Regulatory institutions including the Bank of Ghana and the Securities and Exchange Commission; are yet to comment on the development but Panafricanvisions can confirm that Savana Brokerage has no license to receive and invest funds in the west African country.
Per the address on the website before it went down, Savana Brokerage is a Kenyan Company pointing to a location in Nairobi.
According to the website, the company started operations in Ghana from 2014.
They were operating three packages; Knight Package, Queen Package and Kings Package.
Knight Package was a weekly form of investment – every customer was to invest more than GH 50. You were promised 10% on your money on weekly basis so you get 40% return on your capital at the end of the month.
Queen package; you get 60% on your investment money after a month.
Kings Package promised 100% return on an investment. The investment was to last for three month.
To invest, the victims say, the money is to be paid through an MTN Merchant and the operators of the scheme get access to the funds.
Currently, telecommunications network MTN appears to have blocked all the merchant accounts. But there are huge monies stack in the accounts.
The merchants are not able to go for the funds due to some irregularities and tax issues. The accounts are also under investigation by the telecom company.
Since the website went down about two months ago, customers have begun galvanizing themselves for a class action.
They have formed regional and intercity Telegram and WhatsApp groups to push their concern.
One of the affected customers said, “the caliber of people who have invested in Savanna belong to the Elite. Some students also used their Student Loans and Fees to invest. I know someone who has invested GHC60,000. He is going mad. This is a very troubling development.”
The customers are hopeful that they might retrieve some of the funds due to the fact that MTN has blocked the merchant accounts which has about GHC2 million.
This development comes on the back of the infamous DKM troubles which robbed thousands of investors in Ghana of their money.
Some customers have lodged complaints with the Criminals Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service. Telecommunications network MTN has also begun intensive investigations into the matter.
Ghana’s cabinet approves draft RTI Bill, forwards to parliament.
March 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Papisdaff Abdullah
Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that cabinet has approved and forwarded a reconsidered version of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill to parliament for consideration and passage.
It has been 22 years since a Right to Information RTI Bill was drafted under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA),a policy think tank.
Proponents of the bill again waited 6 years for the Executive arm of government in 2002 to draft the first RTI Bill. The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010.
Pressure group, Right to Information Coalition has taken it upon themselves to mount pressure on the government to get the bill laid before parliament rises on Friday March 23 following fears that the government of Ghana was deliberately delaying the process.
Addressing a gathering at the official launch of the Norfund’s West Africa Office in Ghana, Vice President Dr. Bawumia said the revised bill has been forwarded to parliament. He told the Norway-Ghana Business and Investment Forum that the bill if approved will go a long way to augment the fight against corruption and also boost investor confidence.
“Cabinet has given approval to the Right to Information Bill to be laid in parliament for debate and approval because it is very very critical that we pass the Right to Information Bill and it is our hope that it will add additional feather in our fight against corruption,” he stated in his address.
Dr Bawumia noted, “One major milestone that we have reached in the fight against corruption as a government is transparency in the terms of good governance.”
Touching on Norfund’s decision to set up an office in and to invest in Ghana, Dr. Bawumia drew the attention of Norfund to the fact that government has initiated several projects that they can take advantage of and invest in.
“We believe the right foundations for business development has been laid and we invite as many of you to see Ghana as the best destination for your investments. Government will continue to pursue several other programmes aimed at further improving the business climate for both local and foreign investors,” he noted.
The Norfund office in Accra will be headed by Naana Winful Fynn. Prior to joining Norfund, she was a Director at Sagevest Holdings, an investment holding company based in Accra, Ghana.
Addressing the forum, Miss Winful Fynn, indicated that Norfund is excited to be in Ghana and the institution is looking forward to investing in the country particularly in the three major areas of interest namely clean energy, financial institutions and Food and agribusiness.
Zimbabwe crowns first ‘Miss Albino’ in bid to tackle stigma
March 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
Sithembiso Mutukura beat 12 other contestants to claim the crown at Zimbabwe’s first-ever Miss Albinism beauty contest — an achievement she hopes will inspire others living with the rare disorder.
“We must continue to advocate for our rights and I hope my win will empower the girl child,” the 22-year-old social work student said.
“I have gone through a lot, but I want people living with albinism to be brave and persevere in life.”
During the event in Harare on Friday night, the contestants had to respond to questions on stage and model a range of gowns and traditional African robes. Mutukura was awarded $85 in prize money after being named the winner.
Pageant organizer Brenda Mudzimu said a lack of funds had made it difficult to get the initiative off the ground. In the end, the contest only attracted one sponsor, but Mudzimu says she hopes to one day make the event international.
“This will be an annual event which will later be advanced to Miss Albinism Africa and Miss Albinism World because we want to reach all corners of the world,” she said.
In many African countries, people with albinism routinely face discrimination and persecution because of the way they look. The genetic disorder prevents skin cells from producing melanin , resulting in abnormal pigmentation of the skin, hair, and eyes. People with the condition also suffer from vision problems and are susceptible to skin cancer.
“The pageant aims to instill confidence in girls living with albinism in Zimbabwe as well as reduce the stigma,” Mudzimu said.
Tapuwa Muchemwa, a Zimbabwean government representative who was the guest of honor at the pageant, said the country’s leaders “strongly advocate that people with albinism deserve their right to life and security and to be protected as well as the right not to be subjected to torture and ill-treatment.”
The rate of albinism in Africa is much higher than in other parts of the world. Communities in some countries believe albinism can bring magical powers, wealth and good fortune — a superstition that has led to attackers kidnapping and murdering albinos to sell their body parts to witch doctors on the black market.
According to the United Nations, there have been over 600 attacks on people with albinism documented in 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade. Many more cases are thought to go unreported.
UNAIDS Regional Director now President/CEO of ARDN
March 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
By Hassan Zaggi*
The Regional Director for West and Central Africa and Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Dr. Djibril Diallo, has been appointed as the President and Chief Executive Officer of African Renaissance and Diaspora Network, Inc. (ARDN). The appointment takes effect from March 25, 2018.
Dr. Diallo has held several management positions with the United Nations (UN) for more than three decades
ARDN is an internationally operating NGO headquartered in New York, with the status of a United States 501(c)(3) public charity.
ARDN’s mission, according to findings, is to accelerate the attainment of the African renaissance by advocating for and supporting UN programs, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Reacting to the appointment of Dr. Diallo, the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, promised to continue to work closely with him to enable him succeed in his new task.
“We look forward to continued close collaboration between UNAIDS and ARDN with Djibril in the lead,” Michel Sidibé said in a message to all UNAIDS staff.
According findings by The AUTHORITY, Dr Diallo in his capacity as the chief executive officer of ARDN, will lead the organization’s “Pathway to Solutions” initiative, which aims to popularize the UN SDGs and to also increase public understanding of the role and functions of the UN.
On his part, Constance B. Newman, a Senior Fellow of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, disclosed that after over 9 months of extensive consultations, the “A Pathway to Solutions” strategic plan was presented to the UN Deputy-Secretary-General on 19 December 2017, at a coordination meeting held at the UN headquarters.
Newman further noted that: “Dr. Diallo’s expertise in international relations, diplomacy and human development will be critical at a time when the international community is pursuing, in tandem, the SDGs, the implementation of the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), and the African Union Agenda 2063.
“We are confident that under his leadership, ARDN will be well-poised to contribute to the world we want – one defined by peace, justice, freedom, respect, social progress, equal rights and human dignity, tolerance, solidarity and sustainability – starting with Africa and the African diaspora.”
Speaking on his appointment, Dr. Diallo said that he was deeply humbled by the trust and confidence placed in him.
“I’m deeply humbled by the trust and confidence that has been placed in me. I’m excited to see what I can do in this new capacity to advance the United Nations’ hope and vision of a better world.
“When we talk about Africa and the diaspora, we’re ultimately talking about the entire world. ARDN is built on the fundamental principle that we are stronger together.
“Today, more than ever, it’s important that we remember and reflect on this. This planet earth is the only home we have, and we are one human family,” Dr Diallo further noted.
With over 35 years of experience at the UN, Dr. Diallo’s work for peace, sustainable development and protecting the most vulnerable has been recognized by numerous national and international organizations.
A steadfast supporter of youth, Dr. Diallo initiated the first-ever UN Youth Leadership Summit in 2006, bringing together youth leaders from 192 countries, with a vision toward gender parity in participation. He speaks twelve languages.