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How much have development strategies changed in Africa since independence?
July 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

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Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki (left), former prime minister of Niger; Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (center), former South African minister of health; and Carlos Lopes, former executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, during a 2013 working breakfast of the 29th Session of the New Partnerships for Africa’s Development at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (GCIS/Flickr)

Ibrahim Hassane Mayaki (left), former prime minister of Niger; Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma (center), former South African minister of health; and Carlos Lopes, former executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa, during a 2013 working breakfast of the 29th Session of the New Partnerships for Africa’s Development at African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (GCIS/Flickr)

This week in the African Politics Summer Reading Spectacular, we talk about economic development in Africa. In a broad study of nine African countries, Landry Signé examines innovation in development in his book, “Innovating Development Strategies in Africa: The Role of International, Regional and National Actors.” Signé kindly answered my questions about the book.

Kim Yi Dionne: As you observe in your book, both African and international development leaders invoke innovation in describing their development strategies. But how much have development strategies in Africa actually changed over the decades since independence?

Landry Signé: It depends on the way you think about innovation. In identifying innovation, most scholars focus on the content of development policy. They ask if a new development strategy is just “old wine in a new bottle,” usually on their way to explaining why a policy is doomed to fail. This substantive perspective often overlooks the slow-moving processes of some development innovations.

Most scholars have taken little interest in explaining development strategies in a procedural sense, at least when focusing on Africa. By procedural, I mean the forms, processes and mechanisms by which development strategies emerge, change and impact development outcomes over the long term.

My book examines both perspectives on innovation — substantive and procedural — and pays special attention to the lesser-explored one: procedural. Much of the research by scholars working from a substantive perspective find a lot of continuity in development strategies in Africa. But I find in my work that there are innovations — often incremental ones — which lead in the long run to much more substantial and often overlooked economic and institutional transformation.

After independence, African countries shifted from state-led development to various levels of state withdrawal in the 1980s, combined with strategies for economic integration and development. In the 1990s, states continued to disengage, but added social protection measures. In the 2000s, the emergence of the World Bank’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) have marked a return to a more significant role for public institutions and continentwide development strategies in promoting economic development in a more market-friendly context. Only looking at the content of strategies, and not taking into account the process of emergence and the long-term impact of policies would miss this incredible transformation over the last few decades.

KYD: An important point you make in your book is that development strategies can be considered innovations even if they fail. Is there a failure you think is a good example of innovation in African development strategy?

LS: New development policies, whether substantially or procedurally innovative, could lead to poor outcomes over the short run, but can also contribute to a much more important dynamic of change. For example, although structural adjustment programs (SAPs) have broadly been considered a failure, they have defined new rules of the game and practices resulting in better macroeconomic management, increased accountability and governance effectiveness. Together with debt relief and a favorable international context, SAPs thus contributed to the transformation and overall good economic performance of African economies in the beginning of the 21st century. When scholars only focus on short-term impacts, they overlook more transformational changes brought by apparently failed policies.

KYD: Your book examines development in nine French-speaking countries formerly colonized by France. Why did you focus on these countries?

LS: I aimed to explain the overall transformation of African economies since the 1960s, providing a big picture of the changes which have taken place in development strategies. To make the study manageable, I first constructed a continental puzzle inspired by Paul Collier and Stephen O’Connell’s classification of African countries by economic structure and economic policy orientation. I wanted the sample of countries I studied to be a mix of low and middle-income countries, oil producers and non-oil producers, landlocked and poor in natural resources and landlocked and rich in natural resources, those that are coastal and poor in natural resources and those that are coastal and rich in resources, and those with socialist-leaning economies and those that are liberal-leaning.

After finalizing the continental classification, I realized that enough former French colonies were well represented in all the relevant categories to cover the full range of criteria for the continental analysis. I ultimately chose Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo for many reasons.

First, as members of the CFA franc zone, they have similar monetary policies. At the same time, these countries had contrasting economic structures, economic policy orientations and development outcomes. These important contrasts, despite the countries’ similarities, were more important in my decision to choose Francophone countries, than their former belonging to the French colonial empire, even if both are intertwined.

Second, I wanted to look at countries that shared the same colonial power as part of a growing effort among African scholars to dismantle the myth that colonial heritage is the main driver of contemporary development strategies in Africa. More and more work shows that domestic political economies interacted with international influence to shape development outcomes.

KYD: How might we take what we learn from your study to examine development in — for example — former British colonies or former Portuguese colonies?

LS: My book’s goal was to better understand how economic development strategies emerge and transform economies in sub-Saharan Africa — not only in Francophone Africa. I offer a theory explaining change over time in African development policies that applies broadly to African countries that underwent structural adjustment, whether former French, British, Portuguese, Belgian or Spain colonies.

I focus on the dynamics of domestic political economies in African countries and on their interactions with external actors. Despite the asymmetry in power relations with their international counterparts, African governments still have agency in making decisions about their development. My book offers a framework for understanding these interacting dynamics in the emergence and evolution of economic policies and development institutions in Africa.

Finally, I’ll say that one takeaway from my book is that we should take a broader view. While we researchers witness institutional and political continuities in the short run, even minor innovations can give rise to great political, economic and social innovations and transformations in the long run.

*Source Washington Post.Landry Signé is a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Center for African Studies, professor and senior adviser to the chancellor on international affairs at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Andrew Carnegie Fellow, Wilson Center Public Policy Fellow, Tutu Fellow and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. Follow him on Twitter @landrysigne.

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Africa: Millions of Women and Children for Sale for Sex, Slavery, Organs
July 29, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Baher Kamal*

People protest outside the South African Parliament on September 21, 2011 in Cape Town against human trafficking and calling for the adoption of the South African Prevention and Combating in Trafficking in Persons (TIP) bill. The TIP Bill has been delayed in parliament for more than a year. Some of the protestors were restrained with chains and made up to look as though they had been abused. AFP PHOTO/RODGER BOSCH

People protest outside the South African Parliament on September 21, 2011 in Cape Town against human trafficking and calling for the adoption of the South African Prevention and Combating in Trafficking in Persons (TIP) bill.  AFP PHOTO/RODGER BOSCH

Rome — It is happening now. Millions of humans are forced to flee armed conflicts, climate change, inequalities, and extreme poverty. They fall easy prey to traffickers lurking anyone who can be subjected to sexual exploitation, forced labour and even sell their skin and organs.

Just as tragically, 79 per cent of all detected trafficking victims are women and children, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

The drama is immense. Every year, millions of children, women and men fall into the hands of traffickers, lured by fake promises and deceit, the United Nations reports once more, this time ahead of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, marked every year on 30 July.

The “horrendous crime” is being committed now, while you are reading this article, and in public “salve markets”. See African Migrants Bought and Sold Openly in ‘Slave Markets’ in Libya

Buying and selling migrants is a big business. In fact, human trafficking has become a global multi-billion-dollar enterprise, affecting nearly every country in the world, according to UNODC’s executive director Yury Fedotov.

Stolen

“Today, there are millions of people whose liberty, dignity and essential human rights have been stolen. They are coerced into sexual exploitation, forced labour, domestic servitude, forced begging, stealing, online pornography, and even compelled to “sell” skin organs. “

This inhumane business is far from slowing down-from 2012-2014, more than 500 different trafficking flows were detected and countries in Western and Southern Europe detected victims of 137 different citizenships, according to UNODC. In short, “the crime of human trafficking is occurring almost everywhere.”

In terms of the different types of trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced labour are the most prominent, says the report, adding that trafficking can, however, have numerous other forms including: victims compelled to act as beggars, forced into sham marriages, benefit fraud, pornography production, organ removal, among others.

Many countries have criminalised most forms of trafficking as set out in the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol. The number of countries doing this has increased from 33 in 2003 to 158 in 2016. Such an exponential increase is welcomed and it has helped to assist the victims and to prosecute the traffickers, said Fedotov.

“Unfortunately, the average number of convictions remains low. UNODC’s findings show that there is a close correlation between the length of time the trafficking law has been on the statute books and the conviction rate.”

What Is Human Trafficking All About

The UN defines human trafficking as a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

“Every country in the world is affected by human trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit, or destination for victims. Children make up almost a third of all human trafficking victims worldwide, according to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.

Another important development is the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, which produced the groundbreaking New York Declaration. Of the nineteen commitments adopted by countries in the Declaration, three are dedicated to concrete action against the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Protect, Assist Trafficked Persons

This year, UNODC has chosen ‘act to protect and assist trafficked persons’ as the focus of the World Day.

This topic highlights one of the most pressing issues of our time — the large mixed migration movements of refugees and migrants.

The theme puts the spotlight on the significant impact of conflict and natural disasters, as well as the resultant, multiple risks of human trafficking that many people face.

And it addresses the key issue concerning trafficking responses: that most people are never identified as trafficking victims and therefore cannot access most of the assistance or protection provided.

Counter Trafficking in Persons Since the 90s

Meantime, the leading UN agency dealing with migrants reminds that it has been working to counter trafficking in persons since the mid-nineties.

“Our primary aims are to prevent trafficking in persons and to protect victims, in ordinary time and in crisis, while offering them support on their path to recovery, including through safe and sustainable (re)integration, return support to their home countries, or, in some circumstances, through third country resettlement, says the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Globally, it has so far assisted over 90,000 trafficked persons. “Ensuring freedom and a chance at a new life, IOM’s assistance includes safe accommodation, medical and psycho-social support, and assisted voluntary return and reintegration.”

For this, the UN agency works with governments, the private sector, civil society organisations, and other UN bodies “to protect victims of trafficking and associated forms of exploitation and abuse; to prevent such abuses from occurring; and to support the development and implementation of policies aimed at the prevention and prosecution of these crimes and the protection of victims.”

The agency’s approach is based on: respect for human rights; support for the physical, mental and social well-being of the individual and his or her community; and sustainability through capacity building and the facilitation of durable solutions for all beneficiaries.

*IPS/Allafrica

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Women Advancing Africa placing women at the centre stage of Africa’s Economic Advancement
July 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Women Advancing Africa Forum is set to bring some of the continent’s best and brightest minds together to shape a common agenda to accelerate the economic advancement of women in Africa
Graca Machel

Graca Machel

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, July 28, 2017/ — The inaugural Women Advancing Africa (WAA) Forum is a new Pan-African flagship initiative launched by the Graça Machel Trust to acknowledge and celebrate the central role women play in shaping Africa’s development agenda and by driving social and economic transformation. The Forum will take place from 9-12 August in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania at the Hyatt Kilimanjaro.
Mrs. Graça Machel says, “Africa has experienced tremendous development in the last few decades, however a significant gap in the economic advancement of women remains a huge challenge.

Africa is in a second liberation era – the economic liberation. Women can no longer be secondary or marginal, and through Women Advancing Africa the Trust wants to enable women to take centre stage in the economic advancement of Africa. The Trust is establishing a platform for women to claim their right to sit at the table where the decisions are made and to shape the policies, plans and strategies for our futures and those of the generations to come.”

The Trust is honoured to have H.E. Samia Suluhu Hassan, Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania and member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment join the WAA Forum to share her insights on issues that will be discussed over the four days. The Forum will consist of interactive sessions organised around three core pillars: Financial Inclusion, Market Access and Social Change.
Inter-generational and inter-sectoral mix of participants attending WAA Forum

With an estimated attendance of 200 participants from across the continent, the WAA Forum will play host to a diverse mix of women and youth representing thought leaders and influencers from the private sector, philanthropy, academia, civil society, government, development agencies and the media who will bring their voices, experiences and ideas to strategize, set priorities and craft a common agenda to drive Africa’s social and economic transformation.
A number of speakers from key economic sectors such as mining & extractives, agri-business, banking, telecommunications, media, healthcare, goods and services will bring their knowledge and expertise to the Forum. Notable speakers include Leymah Gbowee, the Liberian peace activist and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize; Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission; Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Vice Governor of the National Bank of Rwanda; and Sheila Khama, Practice Manager at World Bank’s Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practice.

A Social Progress Agenda
A series of side events will also be held alongside the WAA Forum on variety of issues including Food and Nutrition, Education and Child Marriage, Leadership and Wellness, to drive home the importance of social change as an integral part of addressing women holistically.

We are honoured to be joined by Gertrude Mongella, former President of the Pan African Parliament who will be joined by some of Africa’s leading women giants who have shaped the women’s movement in the past and will bring legacy and the future face to face in a gathering at the side of the Forum.

The WAA Forum will also celebrate the diversity of African culture and creativity in all its forms, from language, to design and fashion, to movie making and dance.  This year’s Forum will celebrate African female writers and storytellers who are challenging the status quo, reshaping narratives and developing a deeper understanding and appreciation of the creative industries and their role in driving social progress.

Research looking at the Narrative and Economic participation of Women in Africa
A number of reports will also be launched during the Forum. Together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Graça Machel Trust will be launching a study on “The Female Economy in Africa”.  The study analyses the participation of the women’s work in Africa focussing on gender gaps in the economy, participating in national politics, financial inclusion and sectoral segregation.  The study provides a baseline to track and measure the progress in women’s economic activity and advancement, with regular updates on the Index being shared.

The Graça Machel Trust’s Women in Media Network will also launch a research report on the coverage and portrayal of women in media entitled: “Women in Media – What is the Narrative?” The session will be broadcast as a Facebook Live event with interactive participation in the post launch In Conversation series to stimulate a broader conversation about the narrative of women in media as well as other storytelling formats and platforms.

Announcements will be made on the WAA website www.WomenAdvancingAfrica and the WAA Facebook page www.Women Advancing Africa – WAA, closer to the time.
Another highlight of this year’s inaugural WAA Forum will be the launch of a coffee table book entitled “Women Creating Wealth: A Collection of Stories of Female Entrepreneurs from Across Africa”. The anthology celebrates women trailblazers in business with a collection of inspirational stories from Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The book features a number of enterprising women from the Trust’s women’s networks and a foreword by Mrs. Machel.  The book can be pre-ordered here (http://SheInspiresHer.com/women-creating-wealth).

A movement of women focused on economic advancement
What makes WAA unique? Mrs. Machel explains, “Women Advancing Africa provides a space to bring together the energy, innovation and creativity of women from all parts of the continent to share solutions to make us stronger, united and unstoppable. The Forum is really the catalyst to creating a much larger movement of women centred around the economic advancement of women who will collectively shape and drive a development agenda that is measurable and sustainable.” With a Pan-African footprint spanning 20 countries, the Graça Machel Trust will leverage our women’s networks in Agribusiness, Business and Entrepreneurship, Finance and the Media to work with the larger WAA movement to catalyse the Forum’s agenda into actions with measurable and sustainable outcomes.
To be part of this exciting initiative, you can register here (http://WomenAdvancingAfrica.com) or take up one of the available exhibition or side event options available.

The Trust would like to thank our generous partners who have helped make our vision a reality. Special thanks to The UPS Foundation, the Intel Foundation, American Tower Corporation, and UN Women.  Media partners include: the ABN360 Group, incorporating CNBC Africa and Forbes Africa; the Nation Group and locally based Azam Media Group. The WAA Forum’s convening partner, APCO Worldwide has worked closely with the Graça Machel Trust, providing expertise and insights to develop this one-of-a-kind women’s network.  These partners share the Trust’s belief that advancing women economically is crucial to the health and prosperity of African families, communities and nations.

 

The Graça Machel Trust is an organisation that works across the continent to drive positive change across women’s and children’s rights, as well as governance and leadership. Through our support of local initiatives and connecting key stakeholders at a regional, national and sub-national level, we help to catalyse action where it is needed.  By using our convening power the Trust seeks to: amplify the voices of women and children in Africa; influence governance; promote women’s contributions and leadership in the economic social and political development of Africa.

The Network of African Business Women (NABW) provides women with opportunities to freely and effectively participate in the economic development of their countries through the establishment of sustainable business ventures. Through training, mentorship and capacity building, the Network supports business women’s associations and existing business women generating a much needed upsurge of growth-oriented, African women entrepreneurs.

The African Women in Agribusiness Network (AWAB) addresses challenges in food security and identifies opportunities for women in the agricultural sector. The network advocates for initiatives that enhance women’s competitiveness in local and global markets. AWAB also seeks to foster market linkages for women, connecting them to projects in the agricultural sector that can improve their access to resources, knowledge and training.

New Faces New Voices (NFNV)

New Faces New Voices (NFNV) advocates for women’s access to finance and financial services. The network aims to bridge the funding gap in financing women-owned businesses in Africa and to lobby for policy and legislative changes. The overall objective of the network is to advance the financial inclusion of women by bringing more women into the formal financial system.

The Women in Media Network (WIMN) is the latest Pan-African network established by the Trust.  It comprises a network of African women journalists who individually and collectively use their influence and voice to help shape and disseminate empowering storylines about Africa’s women and children.

Founded in 1984, APCO Worldwide is an independent global communication, stakeholder engagement and business strategy firm with offices in more than 30 major cities throughout the world. We challenge conventional thinking and inspire movements to help our clients succeed in an ever-changing world. Stakeholders are at the core of all we do. We turn the insights that come from our deep stakeholder relationships into forward-looking, creative solutions that always push the boundaries. APCO clients include large multinational companies, trade associations, governments, NGOs and educational institutions. The firm is a majority women-owned business

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World Bank Review Reveals a Weakening of Policy and Institutional Performance in Africa
July 26, 2017 | 0 Comments
Albert Zeufack, World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, during the 2017 WBG-IMF Spring Meetings. Photo: Dasan Bobo/World Bank

Albert Zeufack, World Bank Africa Region Chief Economist, during the 2017 WBG-IMF Spring Meetings. Photo: Dasan Bobo/World Bank

OUAGADOUGOU, July 24, 2017-The quality of policies and institutions weakened in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2016 amid challenging economic conditions, according to the latest review by the World Bank. This weaker trend was observed in 40% of the region’s IDA countries, notably commodity exporters and fragile states.

 
The review is the annual World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) Africa analysis, which scores the progress Sub-Saharan African countries are making on strengthening the quality of their policies and institutions. Since 1980, CPIA ratings have been used to determine the allocation of zero-interest financing and grants for countries that are eligible for support from the International Development Association (IDA)*, the concessional financing arm of the World Bank Group.
 
CPIA scores are based on 16 development indicators in four areas: economic management, structural policies, policies for social inclusion and equity, and public sector management and institutions. Countries are rated on a scale of 1 (low) to 6 (high) for each indicator. The overall CPIA score reflects the average of the four areas of the CPIA.
 
The average CPIA score for the 38 African countries assessed in the 2016 review edged lower to 3.1. Rwanda again led all countries in the region with a score of 4.0, closely followed by Senegal and Kenya, both with a score of 3.8. Although some countries saw a strengthening in policy and institutional quality, the number of countries with worsening overall scores outpaced improvers by a margin of two to one.
 
A common pattern across countries that experienced a weakening in their overall policy and institutional quality was slippage in economic management: monetary and exchange rate, fiscal, and debt policies. This can in part be explained by unfavorable economic conditions-deteriorating terms of trade, sluggish global growth, and difficult economic conditions-that continued to take a toll on countries across the region, deepening macroeconomic vulnerabilities. Weakening of fiscal and external buffers constrained the scope for macroeconomic policies to mitigate the effects of adverse shocks to economic activity.
 
On the upside, Côte d’Ivoire, the Comoros, Cameroon, Guinea, Madagascar, Mauritania, and Sudan have experienced a modest gain in the CPIA score, with most of these countries showing a stronger performance in the quality of governance. In a few countries, the quality of policies for social inclusion and equity also improved, reflecting a strengthening of safety net programs.
 
“Governance underpins all sectors of World Bank Group engagement, and moving forward, despite these slight gains, it will remain critical that Sub-Saharan countries implement or expand governance and public-sector reforms that will upgrade financial management systems, increase transparency, reduce corruption, protect rights, and improve public services,” notes Albert Zeufack, World Bank Chief Economist for Africa.
 
The latest CPIA results reveal that performance on policy and institutional quality in Sub-Saharan Africa’s non-fragile IDA countries is comparable to that of similar countries elsewhere. However, this is not the case for fragile countries, which generally fall behind other fragile countries outside the region. The combination of the two categories of countries pulls the overall CPIA score for the region’s IDA countries below the average for other IDA countries.
 
“African countries exhibiting economic resilience tend to have stronger macroeconomic policy frameworks, better quality of policies that promote sustainable and inclusive growth, and more effective public institutions than other countries,” explains Punam Chuhan-Pole, Lead Economist for the World Bank Africa Region and author of the report. “Nonetheless, there is scope for all countries in the region to speed up policy reforms and strengthen institutional quality.”
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54% going to Africa.
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The African trade revolution quietly afoot
July 25, 2017 | 0 Comments

In a tumultuous year for the global trading landscape, negotiations for a huge Africa-wide free trade area are progressing rapidly.

BY DAVID LUKE*

Across the developed world, longstanding advocates of free trade are in retreat. America has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and stepped back from the World Trade Organisation. Meanwhile, a crisis is brewing at the heart of the European single market.

Recognition has grown that the inequalities generated by trade are not being sufficiently addressed. And this has fuelled an anti-trade populism.

Noting these tumultuous trends, international institutions from the OECD to the International Monetary Fund and G20 have sought to reaffirm the benefits of trade and argued against protectionism.

A quiet revolution

Set against this uproar, an African trade revolution is also quietly afoot. The innovation is the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA). A boldly ambitious endeavour, the CFTA seeks to combine the economies of 55 African states under a pan-African free trade area comprising 1.2 billion people in a market with a combined GDP of $2.19 trillion.

Announced in 2012 by the African Union (AU) heads of state and government, the CFTA is the first flagship initiative of the AU’s Agenda 2063. It will reduce tariffs between African countries, introduce mechanisms to address the often more substantial non-tariff barriers, liberalise service sectors, and facilitate cross-border trade. This will also help rationalise the overlapping free trade areas that already exist within Africa.

The CFTA negotiations are complex. The 55 participating countries span a diversity of economic and geographic configurations. 15 are landlocked, while 6 are Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The biggest (Nigeria) has a GDP of $568 billion, while the smallest (Sao Tome & Principe) a GDP of just $337 million.

Rapid progress

Many outside observers have been quick to cast pessimism upon the project. This is not just because of the challenging world trade environment and complexity of negotiations, but Africa’s history of trade negotiations.

In particular, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the European Union and African regional economic communities have proved an infamous failure. Despite 14 years of negotiations, only one EPA – that with Southern Africa – has been concluded.

With expectations low, the rapid progress in the CFTA negotiations is therefore all the more remarkable. The first negotiating forum was launched in February 2016. Since then, five more negotiating rounds have been concluded.

The most recent, held in Niger, determined modalities for trade in goods and services. It also pronounced a level of ambition to liberalise 90% of tariff lines – substantially more than aspired to in the EPAs – and establish a review mechanism to gradually lift this further.

The remainder of 2017 will see technical working group meetings and two more negotiating rounds to refine market access offers and the legal text of the agreement. The intention is to finish negotiations by the end of this year.

One African chief negotiator commenting at the last negotiating round remarked that he had “never seen negotiations move so rapidly”.

Boosting intra-African trade

These impressive achievements are being realised by political commitment at the highest level and a pan-African resolve to cooperate and compromise. Pan-Africanist forefathers like Kwame Nkrumah would be proud.

Success also derives from a shared belief in the project. Studies by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and UNCTAD identify the potential for the CFTA to boost intra-African trade. This would help diversify Africa’s exports away from a dependence on commodities that is little changed since colonial times.

Source: CEPI-BACI Trade Dataset, three year average (2012-14).

Source: CEPI-BACI Trade Dataset, three year average (2012-14).

Intra-African trade is substantially more diversified than Africa’s trade with the outside world. It comprises a greater share of value-added and industrial products such as textiles, cement, soap, pharmaceuticals, and even automobiles from South Africa as well as primary and processed food items. Services such as banking, telecoms, energy and transport are also being traded across borders. The CFTA forms part of an African strategy for industrialising through trade.

It could also help piece together Africa’s small fragmented markets to realise economies of scale necessary for industrial investment and growth. Niger’s President Issoufou Mahamadou, the African Union Champion for the CFTA, recently lamented looking upon a map of Africa as a “broken mirror”. The CFTA can help to fix this.

Making it a win-win

The CFTA, however, is no panacea. It must be accompanied by investments in infrastructure, energy and trade facilitation.

This is critical if sufficient jobs are to be created for Africa’s youth. 60% of Africa’s population is 24 or below and about to enter the workforce. Yet a shortage of opportunities contributes to high youth unemployment, poverty rates approaching 70%, and pressures to migrate.

It is also important not to overlook the origins of populist sentiment against free trade elsewhere in the world. Trade produces both winners and losers. The problem is that while gains can compensate losses in theory, that is not happening in practice.

Recognition of this has fuelled rethinking of trade policy across the world. For instance, the Canada-European Union trade agreement (CETA) was reworked following the election of the Trudeau administration to better reflect a new “progressive trade policy”.

The CFTA must likewise be crafted as a win-win agreement that leaves no one behind. Here, the UN Economic Commission for Africa has undertaken a human rights impact assessment of the initiative and advocated for a number of supporting measures.

This includes strategies to protect small-holder farmers and help them integrate into regional agricultural value chains. It calls for improving border controls to help informal cross-border traders, many of whom are women and major players in intra-African trade.

It also demands an approach that benefits Africa’s diversity of countries, including those which are small, island economies, landlocked or fragile states. One way to achieve this is by supporting initiatives for regional value chains and connectivity that have proven successful in Africa’s regional economic communities.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Light shines at the end of the tunnel for the CFTA, but obstacles remain. Implementation is a key but persistent challenge on the continent. To quote Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, former Chairperson of the AU Commission, “I don’t think Africa is short of policies. We have to implement. That is where the problem is”.

The commitment and belief shown in the CFTA by African leaders must be seen through for the benefits of the CFTA to be realised.

The reward would appear to be worth it. Africa’s consumer market is the fastest growing in the world.  In just over 30 years from now, by 2050, it will comprise a population larger than that of India and China combined. This is the right time to seize the opportunities generated by such a large market.

*African Arguments.David Luke is Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC) at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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21 Next Generation African Leaders Announced as Winners of the Resolution Social Venture Challenge
July 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
Mastercard Foundation Scholars to receive seed funding and mentorship to lead impactful projects in their communities
Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation. The 2017 Resolution Social Venture Challenge winners will receive a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities.

Intersect for the Mastercard Foundation. The 2017 Resolution Social Venture Challenge winners will receive a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities.

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 19, 2017 – Ten teams of 21 budding African social entrepreneurs have been selected as winners of the Resolution Social Venture Challenge at the Baobab Summit in Johannesburg. Winning teams earn a fellowship that includes seed funding, mentorship and access to a network of young global changemakers to pursue impactful projects in their communities. A collaboration between the Mastercard Foundation and The Resolution Project, the Resolution Social Venture Challenge provides a pathway to action for socially responsible young leaders who want to create change that matters in their communities.

“Giving back to your community is an important part of the Scholars Program, yet few young leaders have the opportunity to make an impact at a young age,” explains Ashley Collier, Manager of the Scholars Community. “The Social Venture Challenge equips these young leaders with the tools, resources, mentorship and capital they need to ensure that their venture is successful, and to maximize their impact.”

Winners of the 2017 Social Venture Challenge say that:

“Winning the Challenge is an important milestone that will allow me to address problems faced by tea farmers in my community,” explains John Wanjiku, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar at the University of Pretoria. “With my project Ukulima Halisi, I hope to improve the tea collection process, both reducing the costs associated with spoiled tea leaves, and cutting down on the time Kenyan farmers spend waiting for tea collection. By shortening this process, Ukulima Halisi will provide farmers with additional time to engage in other economic activities that could increase their income, as well as preventing illnesses that occur when farmers spend long hours waiting for tea collection.”

“Winning the Social Venture Challenge will help us achieve our goals, communicating to our community in Baringo County, the huge potential in honey production,” says Sylvia Mwangi, a Mastercard Foundation Scholar from the University of Toronto. “With the mentorship offered to winners of the Challenge, we will design capacity-building workshops in bee-keeping that will change how women spend their days, and we will develop sales channels that will reduce the exploitation by middlemen.”

In 2016, the Mastercard Foundation first partnered with The Resolution Project, offering 16 Scholars on five competing teams the opportunity to pursue their aspirations and increase their appetite for leadership and impact. Winning projects address a wide range of challenges Scholars observed first-hand in their communities, including food security, access to sanitation, and young women’s access to reproductive health education.

Impact evaluation data reported by The Resolution Project shows that, while type and reach of impact varies, an average of 3,200 community members benefit per fellowship awarded. With over 350 Resolution Fellows active in 65 countries, more than 1.2 million people worldwide have been positively impacted by their work. They are driving progress in their communities, making each Resolution Fellow a change agent and a force for good.

“We are fortunate to have such an outstanding partner in the Mastercard Foundation,” says George M. Tsiatis, CEO & Co-Founder of The Resolution Project. “The Foundation saw the work that we were doing and the ideas that their Scholars had-it was a perfect match, and we are thrilled to be expanding our efforts together to give these young leaders a platform from which to launch lifetimes of impact!”

The 2017 cohort of Social Venture Challenge winners include projects based in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana Uganda, Rwanda, and the United States:

AgriMatters – Clive Matsika – Arizona State University
With his AgriMatters initiative, Clive will partner with local fertilizer companies in Zimbabwe, harnessing nanotechnology to manufacture Greenfert, a rich, environmentally friendly fertilizer that can be sold to farmers at a reduced cost.

Baringo Asali – Sylvia Mwangi – University of Toronto
By working closely with marginalized communities in Baringo, Kenya, Sylvia aims to increase local revenue generated from honey production. Through partnerships with local and international apiaries, Sylvia will roll out training in advanced beekeeping techniques and local community skills training.

Dash for Girls – Frances Aanyu, Agatha Akello and Lisa Anenocan – Makerere University
Frances, Agatha and Lisa are working to empower the girl child in Karamoja, Uganda, by providing access to correct and accurate information about the dangers of teenage pregnancy so as to help them make informed decisions.

ECO Sanitation Services – Kwabena Adu-Darkwa, Abraham Addy and Justice Nyamadi – Ashesi University College
Kwabena, Abraham and Justice are working together to tackle the problem of the 2.4 billion people world-wide who lack access to safe toilets. Eco Sanitation Services (ECOSaS) provides environmentally friendly and affordable micro-flush toilets to low-income earners, supporting them with a flexible payment system.

Prawji-Mama Food Bank – Pauline Nalumansi and Ephrance Kalungi – Arizona State University
With Prawji-Mama Food Bank, Pauline and Ephrance are working to develop a sustainable food bank system supported by youth entrepreneurship and technology to overcome hunger in rural communities.

Rwanda Youth Initiative for Agricultural Transformation – Annet Mukamurenzi, Gerard Ndayishimiye and Yvette Abizeyimana – EARTH University
By working with vulnerable farming communities across Rwanda, Annet, Gerard and Yvette are committed to improving food security. They will equip smallholder farmers with modern farming skills, strategies and technologies to grow sustainable food security solutions and protect the environment.

Sparky Thermal Dehydrator – Kayiza Isma and Nsubuga Thomas – Makerere University
To address post-harvest losses, a leading cause of food insecurity in Uganda, Kayiza and Nsubuga will introduce the Sparky thermal dehydrator. Sparky, which operates using bio-fuels as a source of energy, is a low-cost, efficient device that dries farm produce 10 times faster than the conventional sun drying methods.

Strong Women, Strong Love – Ritah Arishaba and Alpha Ngwenya – Arizona State University
From Uganda to America, Ritah and Alpha are providing health education and feminine hygiene products to homeless and economically disadvantaged women. In Uganda, the pair will be teaching young women and girls to make their own sanitary products.

Ukulima Halisi – John Wanjiku – University of Pretoria
Most tea farmers in Kangema, Kenya, spend a lot of time waiting for their tea leaves to be collected. But, John believes, if farmers had access to tea leaves collection schedules, farmers would have more time to devote to other farming activities and improve their incomes.

ZAZI Growers’ Network – Thabu Mugala, Tanyaradzwa Chinyukwi and Martinho Tembo – EARTH University
Thabu, Tanyaradzwa and Martinho are committed to empowering and connecting women farmers in rural Zimuto, Zimbabwe. ZAZI Growers’ Network will provide women farmers with technical agricultural training and mentorship to help them improve their crop yields and enhance the community’s development.

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to provide greater access to education, skills training and financial services for people living in poverty, primarily in Africa. As one of the largest private foundations, its work is guided by its mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. Based in Toronto, Canada, its independence was established by Mastercard when the Foundation was created in 2006.The Resolution Project is a unique pathway to action for aspiring young social entrepreneurs. Founded in 2007, Resolution identifies young leaders through Social Venture Challenges and empowers them to make a positive impact today through Resolution Fellowships. Resolution Fellows receive dynamic, hands-on support to implement their ventures and to develop as socially responsible leaders. With over 350 Resolution Fellows on all 6 inhabited continents, working in diverse, high-impact fields such as education, healthcare, human rights, water resources, and sustainability, Resolution is building a generation of leaders with a lifelong commitment to social responsibility. To date, Resolution Fellows have impacted over 1.2 million people with their work. The Resolution Project, Inc. is a 501(c) 3) nonprofit organization.
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IGD Launches Inaugural “Making Farming Cool!” Podcast Series
July 20, 2017 | 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – July 20, 2017 – The Initiative for Global Development (IGD) is pleased to announce the official launch of “Making Farming Cool!”, a new podcast series that aims to inspire and inform African young people to pursue careers and entrepreneurship in the agricultural value chain through vibrant African music and compelling interviews.

Produced by Afropop Worldwide, a Peabody award-winning radio program and online magazine dedicated to music from Africa and the African diaspora, Cameroonian-born veteran broadcaster Georges Collinet will host the podcast series. The podcast series is a component of the Africa Investment Rising (AIR) campaign, IGD’s dynamic communications and advocacy effort.

Agriculture is the engine driving in many African economies. While job opportunities exist in the agricultural value chain, young people are largely not entering the agriculture sector.

An estimated 25 million young people are expected enter the job market each year in Africa by 2025. To absorb the new entrants in the labor force, more than 10 million new jobs per year will have to be created in rural areas in the next two decades, according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).

“We’re thrilled to launch the ‘Making Farming Cool!’ podcast series,” said Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President. “The podcast series has a youthful vibe and will feature compelling interviews with private sector leaders and experts working in agriculture to draw attention to the tremendous business opportunities for growth and innovation in the agriculture sector.”

In the first episode, host Georges Collinet will take listeners on a captivating journey through South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province to meet Siehle Zealous Sibisi, a 28-year-old who manages his family’s successful sugarcane farm, TBS Holdings, which produces 30,000 tons of sugar a year. TBS Holdings is a supplier of IGD Frontier Leader Illovo Sugar Group. Listeners will also hear about how the family business is a successful model of South Africa’s post-apartheid land restitution program.

IGD Frontier Leaders listened to a preview of the a podcast episode featuring Dr. Abdu Mukhtar, Group Chief Strategy Officer of Dangote Industries Limitedduring a May 5 evening reception at the Frontier 100 Forum in Durban, South Africa.

The podcast series will roll out new episodes of “Making Farming Cool!” on the Afropop Worldwide website at http://www.afropop.org/37720/making-farming-cool/. New episodes will be released in September and October.

The podcast series will be distributed through IGD’s media partners and initially broadcast in three target media markets: Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The series will also be distributed in the U.S. through Afropop Worldwide.

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Marrakech to host The World Premier high-level dialogue of leaders on Women, Agriculture and Sustainable Development September 11- 12, 2017 at the Four Seasons Hotel, Marrakech, Morocco
July 17, 2017 | 0 Comments

(Marrakech July 15, 2017.)- BELIEVE IN AFRICA (BIA), will be hosting is second Believe in Africa Day conference on Monday September 11 – 12, 2017, at the Four Seasons Hotel, in Marrakech, Morocco

Believe in Africa has chosen Morocco, the picturesque “Western Kingdom – a place the sun sets,” for this year’s “Woman and Agriculture” conference.  Hosting this conference in the Africa continent closer to home will bring together a cross-fertilization of ideas and home grown solutions from more than 500 delegates representing the diverse face of leading Africans in politics, business, regional/international experts in financing, technology and innovation, climate change and access to markets, including the voices of members of non-governmental organizations and institutions. By bringing people together, BIA 2017 will be the place where the pivotal role African women play, and contribute, in agriculture and sustainable development will be discussed and honoured.

 

Our choice of Morocco is not fortuitous. With the efforts deployed by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco with his clear vision and leadership in advancing African economic integration and enhancing the collaboration between, and within, African countries, was the inspiration behind our decision to choose Morocco for this year’s conference, for the first time in the African continent, “said Mrs. Angelle KWEMO, president of the association and president of the Congress.  She added that “Women and Agriculture” wishes to create a platform to empower women.

Angelle Kwemo

Angelle Kwemo

 Morocco is one of the most economically dynamic African countries. Geographically, and strategically located, Morocco is a bridge to Europe and the U.S. for Africa and a leader for South-South trade. It is certain that during this Congress we will learn a lot from the Moroccan experience in developing and expanding its agriculture sector. With the strong support of our conference partner, the OCP Group, world leader in phosphates and derivatives production, this conference will bring visibility to women who work daily in fields across Africa, concludes Mrs. Kwemo.

Another partner is the United Nations Women organization and BEYA Capital, a pioneer Casablanca-based climate investment and advisory firm that joined several global partners to organize the innovative Global Climate Finance Action Summit 2016 (GCFA 2016) during COP22. GCFA Summit made history by convening high-level international public and private sector leaders to discuss scaling actionable solutions to unlock climate finance flows towards developing countries, with a particular focus on Africa. Mustapha MOKASS, Founder & CEO of BEYA Capital stated “Women are the backbone of Africa food security and Climate change mitigation. Empowering them equals empowering the world”. He added “we are proud to join Believe in Africa in this historical event to showcasing concrete financial solutions to African women entrepreneurs’ projects to Climate Change Adaptation as a prelude to the upcoming gathering of GCFA Investors Platform on September 18/19 during NY Climate Week and during upcoming COP23 in Bonn (Germany).”

To drive our stimulating BIA 2017 agenda, we welcome our strategic partners, Washington Media Group, Reseau des Femmes Artisanes du Maroc (RESFAM), Africa 24 TV, Forbes Africa, AllAfrica.com, Horizon Africa, Inside Consulting and others will soon be joining us in moving our agenda forward.

Believe in Africa (www.believeinafrica.org) is an African diaspora-led initiative founded by former U.S. congressional staffers and African leaders in the U.S. to empower Women and young Africans, to harness the power of the African Diaspora, educate policy makers and the public about African economic growth and highlight the continent’s gradual rise in the global community.

 

 

 

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Africa: Tribute to Babacar Ndiaye – Titan of Africa
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Photo: Africa Economy Builders Babacar Ndiaye (right) presenting the Africa Economy Builders Award to Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr. in Abidjan in April.

Photo: Africa Economy Builders
Babacar Ndiaye (right) presenting the Africa Economy Builders Award to Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr. in Abidjan in April.

New Orleans — The Greek mythological Titan of Forethought, Prometheus, dared to disobey Zeus’ wishes by sharing fire and heat with humanity. His punishment was to be shackled to the Caucasus Mountains (The derivation of Caucasian comes from the people of the Caucasus Mountains.).

This humane act for humankind led to eternal condemnation. Each day, the eagles ate Prometheus’s organs, but because he was a Titan (i.e. god), the organs grew back. Prometheus endured this daily fate until Hercules broke his chains.

Babacar Ndiaye, who passed away in Dakar yesterday, lived the life of Prometheus. He did what he knew was right and paid the price many times over.

Many people that he helped throughout his life hurt him and hurt him dearly. I personally saw him reconcile with each one of those people, even though just one of those blows could have been mortal.

Babacar was a religious man who knew the Koran as well as the Old and New Testaments and understood that we are all One. He recognized that Ishmael, Abraham’s first son, was the forbearer of Islam. He knew the Old Testament teachings that Noah son Ham’s descendants are Black, cursed to always be the servant of servants (slaves). In the New Testament, Babacar liked to point out that two men carried the cross to Calvary, Jesus and Simon of Cyrene, a black man.

God and history created Babacar, who was a compilation of Prometheus, Ishmael, Ham and Simon of Cyrene.

Bababcar is recognized for his decade (1985-1995) as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). What is lesser known is that he orchestrated the quadrupling of the capital of that Bank and that he secured the first AAA rating for an African institution or sovereign country. He also was instrumental in creating Shelter Afrique, the African Export-Import Bank and the African Business Roundtable.

One little known anecdote is that – when the superpowers agreed in 1991 that the next Secretary General of the United Nations should be an African – Babacar Ndiaye was next in line for the position, had Boutros Boutros-Ghali not prevailed following a stalemate in the voting. Another unknown gem is that Babacar was asked by Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi to deliver his wish to Washington to reconcile with the United States.

Perhaps most important was Babacar’s behind-the-scenes contribution to ending apartheid. In 1985, the year Babacar became AfDB President, Hughlyn Fierce, senior executive vice president of Chase Bank in New York, won approval for the Bank to refuse to renew the debt of South Africa. This decision immediately put the white government in default, forcing the closure of the foreign currency exchange window and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Less than 60 days later, President P.W. Botha gave his Rubicon speech in Durban and spoke of the ‘new’ South Africa. Within a matter of weeks, Nelson Mandela was moved from prison to a halfway house, and the lengthy negotiations that led to the country’s first non-racial elections in 1994 were underway.

Babacar quietly supported Chase Bank in extraordinary ways, and It was the cooperation of these two men of color – Fierce and Ndiaye – which helped to bring about this remarkable change.

Throughout his career, Babacar handled tens of billions of dollars. Yet he did not die a wealthy man in monetary terms.  What he accomplished was to do his job extraordinarily well.

Now that his earthly chains have been broken, we need not cry for Babacar. We should, however, mourn the fact that Africa has lost a great titan to whom we all are indebted..

*Allafrica.Ambassador Harold E. Doley, Jr. (Ret.) was the first U.S. Executive Director to the African Development Bank and Fund.

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South Africa: Lies Were Used to Oust Me – Mbeki
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Former president Thabo Mbeki has resurrected the ghosts of the ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane, saying lies were used to oust him.

Thabo Mbeki - former president of South Africa

Thabo Mbeki – former president of South Africa

Mbeki was speaking during a more than two-hour interview with Gauteng-based radio station Power FM on Thursday night. He said the “habit of telling lies” had crept into the party at the 2007 conference.

“A lot of what happened at that conference was based on lies. Lies were told to Juju [Julius Malema] by people. He had no reason to disbelieve it and, quite correctly, he acted on the lies. And then he discovers much later that he was lied to,” Mbeki said, to the amusement of the audience.

Malema was one of those who led Jacob Zuma’s presidential campaign, alongside former Cosatu president Zwelinzima Vavi and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.

Both Malema and Vavi have since apologised for their campaign, while Nzimande has said he felt betrayed by Zuma.

Mbeki was running for a third term as ANC president in 2007, but faced a bruising defeat to his then deputy, Zuma.

Mbeki had fired Zuma in 2006, after he was implicated during the fraud and corruption trial of his financial advisor, Schabir Shaik.

Malema, who was in the audience, backed Mbeki and said they had been “misled”.

‘Zuma was corrupt’

 He told the audience gathered in Sandton that they had been told two lies: that Mbeki wanted to amend the Constitution to remain president of the country forever, and that he was concocting charges against Zuma.
 “And thank God, we lived to see it for ourselves that no one was concocting charges. Zuma was corrupt. He still got new accusations in the absence of those concocting charges against him,” Malema said.

Zuma, at the time, faced 783 charges, stemming from the 1999 arms deal. The DA has been waging an eight-year battle to have the charges reinstated after then-National Prosecuting Authority boss Mokotedi Mpshe dropped the charges against Zuma.

Mbeki said the watershed conference had refused to discuss his political report that detailed the problems which were plaguing the ANC today.

He said the same problems were now contained in secretary general Gwede Mantashe’s diagnostic report delivered at the party’s policy conference last week.

Mantashe’s report talked about state capture by the Gupta family, factionalism and gatekeeping. Mbeki said that Mantashe had, however, failed to address the use of “lies to achieve particular objectives”.

Mbeki said he had warned in his 2007 political report that the ANC risked losing support.

“I say that in 2012, we going to celebrate centenary of ANC. We must be careful that we are not the only people who celebrate that centenary, and the rest of country stays away because of our misbehaviour.

“They didn’t want to discuss it because a lot of what happened at that conference was based on lies,” Mbeki said at the time.

*Source Allafrica/ News24

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Gambia Poised to Become 4th Country to Eliminate Malaria
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Photo: The Citizen A child under mosquito net to prevent malaria.

Photo: The Citizen
A child under mosquito net to prevent malaria.

The minister of Health and Social Welfare Saffie Lowe Ceesay has stated that The Gambia is poised to become the fourth country to eliminate malaria within its boarder, adding that more resources and collaboration is required to reach these monumental achievements.

The  minister of Health made these remarks at the Sheraton Hotel on behalf of President Adama Barrow at the celebration of the Progress Towards Eliminating Malaria in The Gambia.

She added that support from the private and institutional donors is critical to win this battle against malaria in The Gambia and West Africa as a whole, saying that malaria has historically being one of the leading causes of mortality among children under-5 in The Gambia.

“It is therefore critical that we continue to pay more attention by making services closer to the communities, promote and mobilize communities to utilise the services and also adopt behaviours and practises that prevent infection such as; consistent sleeping under insecticides nets. “My government will continue to create the enabling environment and facilities for Gambia free of malaria scope,” she added.

Minister Ceesay stated that in 2007, The Gambia has the highest record of ITN used by children under-5 and pregnant women in the whole of Africa. Studies conducted by MRC and NMCP revealed that there is a general decline in malaria incidence in the country by 50%. Admissions due to malaria at the hospitals and health facilities, dropped by 74% and deaths attributed to malaria have dropped by 90%, thus malaria parasite prevalence dropped from 4.0% in 2011 to 0.2% in 2014, according to the Malaria Indicator Survey.

 Minister Ceesay added that access to laboratory for malaria has also increased through expansion of high quality and consistent availability of laboratory services in the health centres and hospitals.
 She added that despite successes, there are still challenges facing the Gambia’s ability to eliminate malaria. Malaria transmission is still ongoing, more in the eastern than in the western part of The Gambia.

For her part, the United State ambassador to The Gambia Patricia Alsup said the U.S. government is committed to supporting the ideals of the New Gambian administration. “We are convinced that in a country like The Gambia, with a government like President Barrow’s, and with the right tools and strategies, malaria can be eliminated,” she said.

Ambassador Alsup added that the war against malaria has been waged for many years now. During the past decade, three major initiatives were launched to help control malaria, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2002, the World Bank Malaria Booster Programme in 2004, and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) in 2005.

According to her, malaria prevention and control is a major U.S. foreign assistance objective which fully aligns with the U.S. Government’s vision of ending preventable child and maternal deaths and ending extreme poverty. The U.S. Government has taken extraordinary steps to curb the spread of this preventable and curable disease, including partnerships with host country governments, the Global Fund, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank Booster Programme for Malaria Control, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and many others.

She revealed that the United States is the world’s largest donor to malaria control and elimination programmes, contributing over 50 percent of all donor funding. This funding, she said, is channelled through both international organisations such as the Global Fund, and local organisations involved in anti-malaria efforts.

*Daily Observer/Allafrica

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How a footballer became Africa’s first Cognac maker
July 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Piers Edwards*

Tebily produced his first brand of Cognac in 2013, five years after quitting football

Tebily produced his first brand of Cognac in 2013, five years after quitting football

Footballers have long relied on the terraces for inspiration but when Olivier Tebily does so these days, he is looking at rows of vines – not fans.

While many footballers’ post-playing plans involve staying in the game, the former Ivory Coast international has eschewed that to quietly focus on his second passion.

Footballers and alcohol have long gone together, often badly, but the former Birmingham City defender is unique in actually creating the product.

What’s more, the treble winner with Celtic is doing so in Cognac, home to some of France’s – and the world’s – most celebrated vineyards.

For similar to champagne, only the brandy made in the region can bear the prestigious name Cognac.

As for whether the 41-year-old is just another footballer flashing his cash on a pet project, consider this – he bought his first vineyard in his late teens.

“When I signed my first professional contract, I bought two hectares,” Tebily told the BBC, standing amidst his vines in the south-western French village of Salles-d’Angles.

“I said to myself: ‘If I get an injury and football stops, I will have something to carry on with.'”

Tebily scored few goals during his career but managed two with Celtic, with whom he won a Scottish treble in 2001

Tebily scored few goals during his career but managed two with Celtic, with whom he won a Scottish treble in 2001

“I did that because I used to work on this land to get a little bit of pocket money to go on holiday – to the seaside with my friends – before turning professional.”

“It’s really difficult to become a professional so I bought this straight away to insure myself.”

It was 1993 when Tebily signed for second-tier French side Niort, an hour’s drive from Poitiers, the south-western city on the edge of the Cognac region where his parents relocated from Abidjan when he was a toddler.

It was the start of a journey that took him, following brief spells with Chateauroux and Sheffield United, to the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations, a Scottish treble in 2001 and a four-year Premier League adventure with Birmingham.

After suffering a bad injury just weeks after joining Canada’s Toronto FC, Tebily cut short a four-and-a-half-year contract to return to the vineyards.

There was however a fundamental problem.

Land in Cognac is both expensive and seldom available – and Tebily didn’t have enough of it.

He ran two local restaurants while waiting for a solution, which was laced with tragedy when it came six years later.

Tebily owns 22 hectares after retiring farmer Jean-Michel Lepine chose to sell his business to the Ivorian, a friend of his late son

Tebily owns 22 hectares after retiring farmer Jean-Michel Lepine chose to sell his business to the Ivorian, a friend of his late son

After his neighbour’s only son died, the retiring Cognac farmer had to decide who to sell his business to last year.

“His son was my friend and we had the same name – it’s maybe because of that that he chose me,” says Tebily.

“Around here, all the winemakers are the same,” explains the now-retired Jean-Michel Lepine.

“Because I liked football and because Olivier was not unpleasant to me and helped me in tough times – because I’ve had tough times – I said why not a black man to take over my property? Why not a footballer?

“I never changed my mind, even though many people tried to stop me.”

Tebily is learning how to distil - a key element in creating Cognac since traditional methods require a double-distillation in copper stills

Tebily is learning how to distil – a key element in creating Cognac since traditional methods require a double-distillation in copper stills

Following the deal, the first African maker of Cognac – who says he was initially treated like “a Martian” – was the proud owner of 22 hectares in a prime location.

He also took control of a distillery and although he has yet to master this crucial element of the Cognac process, he is learning from Jean-Michel, now his mentor.

When we meet, Tebily is in his vineyard – wearing a Birmingham City fleece as he goes about his daily business, secateurs in hand, carefully tending to his grapes.

Such sensitivity may seem incongruous for those who remember the burly defender’s on-field reputation.

He once finished a match despite rupturing knee ligaments in the first half while he famously thundered into one challenge with an opponent despite having lost a boot seconds earlier.

“The local people were really, really surprised by an African footballer trying to do what they are doing,” says Tebily, who played for Ivory Coast between 1999-2004.

“But I work Monday to Sunday and people are really surprised – they didn’t think I would do this work because it’s really hard.

“But I don’t do this to impress people. I love this work and want to go as far as I can,” he adds, proclaiming a love of the outdoors.

Like many Cognac farmers, Tebily sells most of his produce – around 90% – to the region’s bigger companies but he keeps the rest for his own eponymous range.

He first produced a bottle in 2013 – smooth upon taste – and although he sells it to local restaurants, he ultimately wants to trade only with Africa.

“That’s my dream,” he says. “I am already selling to some restaurants in Africa, in Ivory Coast. It’s not as much as I want but I’m still happy because it’s the beginning and it’s working.”

After that, and much in the tradition of many of the Cognac farmers, he hopes to hand his business down to his children when he takes a second retirement.

Until then, this gentle giant is revelling in being the only African maker of the world’s most famous brandy.

JAMIE MCDONALD Image caption Tebily played over 80 matches for Birmingham City, many of them in the top-flight

JAMIE MCDONALD
Image caption
Tebily played over 80 matches for Birmingham City, many of them in the top-flight

“It makes me feel really, really happy and that’s why I am fighting to do my business correctly. I try because I am passionate. I love this like I loved football.”

*BBC

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China focuses on its military footprint in Africa, setting stage for new rivalry with West
July 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Fabio Scala*

While the United States is scaling back its international positions amid a significant reduction in State Department’s budget that will affect international aid, another superpower, China, is working to substantially increase its international engagement.

For years China has been spending enormous sums of money buying political influence, including in Africa. But China is now revving up its military engine, looking to step up where opportunities allow it amid an uncertain commitment from the West.

One of China’s top geographical priorities is Africa. This is because Beijing sees an opening, as Africa is being neglected by both Europe and the United States. For the West, the continent is always analyzed through the lenses of illegal migration, terrorism, and the extraction industry. The continent is largely seen first as a source of problems, and rarely an opportunity. China too has been focusing on natural resource acquisition, but it has also committed investments and manpower to build infrastructure and export its technical capabilities to its African partners. As these investments expand, Beijing is now seeking to protect the billions it already committed in the continent by flexing its military muscles.

The Chinese military has been on overdrive these past days. In the Mediterranean, on the northern tip of the African continent, the Chinese navy is conducted live-firing drills this week. It committed a destroyer, a frigate and a support ship in drills that took place on July 10. The group is headed next to Russia, where it will join its Russian counterpart in St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad to perform joint exercises.

This week also, China is inaugurating its military base in the strategically located Djibouti, a country transformed into an open military fortress for many foreign forces, include those of France, Italy, Japan, the Unite States, and soon Turkey and Saudi Arabia. China argues that its Djibouti presence will be for peacekeeping and humanitarian aid in Africa, but rivalry with the US and the protection of Chinese assets and investments in East Africa, and elsewhere in the continent are critical drivers to China’s military focus there. This week, several navy ships left the port city of Zhanjiang in China’s southern Guangdong province, headed to the small port of Obock, in the of the Gulf of Tadjoura, Djibouti. The port is linked to the Gulf of Aden, allowing it easy reach to the troubled Middle East.

China’s presence in Africa is pretty ubiquitous, and that includes the Southern Africa region too. Also this week, the Chinese military made a symbolic gesture to Mozambique when it pledged $18 million to build new Mozambican Armed Forces barracks in Maputo. The gesture is symbolic indeed, but there are major implications on the long run in the aftermath of the high-profile visit of Chang Wanquan, the Chinese Defense Minister to Maputo. During the visit, the two parties highlighted China’s commitment to training Mozambican soldiers, but they are also planning a Chinese involvement in military infrastructure and logistics.

This Chinese charm offensive in Mozambique is taking place as the Southern African country has witnessed a reduction of aid from Western donors amid a major financial scandal that has rocked Mozambique. But it is also happening as Mozambique prepares to produce a significant amount of gas from the northern Rovuma basin, off the coast of Cabo Delgado. Although symbolic for now, the Chinese investment in Mozambique is likely to accelerate in the near future, and that would include a growing military presence to protect such investments.

China’s interest in Africa is no secret. It begun years ago and in 2015, its leadership renewed their commitment to Africa with pledged investment of $60 billion going forward. China’s footprint can be found in many places across the continent, making it the continent’s biggest economic partner, surpassing by far the colonial powers, who have been neglecting the continent. The Chinese presence can be found in sectors like highways and railways, ports and housing. It is also in engineering and energy, in places like Djibouti, Ethiopia, Angola, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia and of course North Africa. The Chinese engagement is now expanding into the military world, and that could create the next area of conflict in the world, post-Daesh.
*The North Africa Journal

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Countdown to Next Einstein Forum Global Gathering 2018 Kigali begins
July 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

KIGALI,Rwanda, 10 July 2017 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- On the heels of a successful Africa Science Week, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) announces the NEF Global Gathering 2018 will be held 26-28 March 2018. An initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the NEF will hold its second global forum for science in Kigali, Rwanda, under the patronage of H.E. President Paul Kagame.

“We’ve started the countdown to the NEF Global Gathering 2018 where more than a thousand of Africa’s and the world’s brightest minds will gather to highlight the contributions of Africa’s scientists and innovators to the global scientific community, discuss good science policy and how to go from policy to implementation and see the impact of global scientific research on daily life. Our aim is to highlight a holistic approach to doing science and technology, one that encourages cutting edge research and development, and incubation and commercialization with a central focus on how science can help achieve sustainable development and reduce poverty and inequality,” said Mr. Thierry Zomahoun, AIMS President and CEO and NEF Chair.

The NEF Global Gathering 2018, in line with the NEF’s Dakar Declaration, will focus on four areas under the central theme of Connecting Science to Humanity: Connectivity, Ubiquity and Mobility; Precision Health; Climate, Energy, Food and Growth; and building Africa’s Scientific Capacity. Participants will hear from Nobel laureates and renowned scientists, early career researchers and budding innovators, policy and civil society leaders, and leaders of industry.

“The government of Rwanda is happy to co-host the NEF Global Gathering 2018 as it falls in line with our commitment to making Rwanda a knowledge based economy and a regional science and innovation hub. We have invested heavily in attracting scientific and technological talent as we build the country’s scientific base and the Next Einstein Forum is part of several initiatives that are helping do just that. We are planning exciting side events that will inspire young students and up and coming researchers,” said Hon. Dr. Papias Malimba Musafiri, Rwanda’s Minister of Education.

NEF Global Gatherings include exciting sessions such as NEF Fellow Spotlight Sessions, live online discussions with special guests, discovery sessions that unpack ground breaking discoveries and the NEF’s signature continental innovation competition.

“We’re excited to be an organization that is focused on building the pipeline of African researchers and innovators. More than 50% of the inaugural NEF Global Gathering 2016 held in Dakar, Senegal, were under the age of 42 and we expect nothing less for this edition. As well, beyond participation, we have committed to having women take up at least 40% of speaker spots. We believe this will enrich our discussions and conclusions,” said Mr. Zomahoun.

Side events will focus on bringing science to the public through tech events, public lectures and other cultural events. A preliminary program will be available in September 2017. For more information about how to support or exhibit at the NEF Global Gathering 2018 write to partner@nef.org.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Next Einstein Forum

About the Next Einstein Forum
Launched in 2013, the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) is an initiative of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in partnership with the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The NEF is a platform that connects science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world – with the goal to leverage science for human development globally. The NEF believes that Africa’s contributions to the global scientific community are critical for global progress. At the centre of NEF efforts are Africa’s young people, the driving force for Africa’s scientific renaissance. The NEF is a unique youth-driven forum. At our headline biennial scientific events, 50% of participants are 42 or younger. Far from being an ordinary science forum, the NEF Global Gatherings position science at the centre of global development efforts. The next NEF Global Gathering will be held on 26-28 March 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition, through our Communities of Scientists, we showcase the contributions of Africa’s brilliant youth to Africa’s scientific emergence through its class of NEF Fellows, who are Africa’s top scientists and technologists under the age of 42, and NEF Ambassadors, who are the NEF’s 54 science and technology ambassadors on the ground.The NEF is also working together with partners such as the African Academy of Sciences, Ministers’ of Education, Science and Research across Africa, foundations and other global scientific and private sector companies, to build an African scientific identity. By bringing together key stakeholders, the NEF hopes to drive the discussion from policy to implementation by leveraging buy in and best practice results from Africa and the world. Have a look at our benchmark Dakar Declaration.Finally, the NEF is telling untold stories of scientific research and innovation across the continent through our various platforms. We want to recalibrate what ‘innovation’ means in Africa. We want to make the link between science and technology, even basic sciences, to everyday life. We want the public involved in science and we have recently concluded the first coordinated Africa Science Week – an annual three to five day celebration of science and technology through coordinated science events across the continent. We believe the next Einstein will be African.

The NEF has been endorsed by the African Union Commission, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Governments of Rwanda, Senegal and South Africa, the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and a growing number of private sector and civil society partners from across the world who are passionate about positioning Africa’s scientific community as an influential member in the global scientific community, which will ensure sustainable human development in Africa and other parts of the world.

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Kenya Third Most Innovative Sub-Saharan Africa Country
July 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

Nairobi — Kenya has been ranked the third most innovative country in sub-Saharan Africa.

The United Nations’ Global Innovation Index 2017 places Kenya third after South Africa and Mauritius.

Photo: Daily Monitor An overview of the Central Business of Nairobi City.

Photo: Daily Monitor
An overview of the Central Business of Nairobi City.

The index which is in its 10th edition surveys some 130 economies using dozens of metrics, from patent filings to education spending providing decision makers a high-level look at the innovative activity that increasingly drives economic and social growth.

According to the report, sub-Saharan Africa draws its highest scores in institutions and market sophistication.

“Since 2012, sub-Saharan Africa has counted more “innovation achiever” countries than any other region. Kenya, Rwanda, Mozambique, Uganda, Malawi, Madagascar and Senegal stand out for being innovation achievers this year, and several times in the previous years,” the survey indicates.

 Globally, Switzerland leads the ranking for the seventh consecutive year, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK.

Kenya is ranked number 80 globally, outperforming her development- level peers.

China is the exception at 22, in 2016; China became the first-ever middle-income economy in the top 25.

Israel continues to cement its status as a leader of global innovation according to the index.

 For the seventh consecutive year, Israel topped the innovation index’s category for northern Africa and western Asia.

The Jewish state ranked 17th overall in the report’s group of high-income countries, improving its standing by four places from 2016.

The Global Innovation Index 2017 is co-published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, a specialized agency of the United Nations).

“Efforts to bridge the innovation divide have to start with helping emerging economies understand their innovation strengths and weaknesses and create appropriate policies and metrics,” said Soumitra Dutta, Dean, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, Cornell University.

The theme of the GII 2017, “Innovation Feeding the World,” looks at innovation carried out in agriculture and food systems.

Over the next decades, the agriculture and food sector will face an enormous rise in global demand and increased competition for limited natural resources.

In addition, it will need to adapt to and help mitigate climate change.

Innovation is key to sustaining the productivity growth required to meet this rising demand and to helping enhance the networks that integrate the sustainable food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste management known as food systems.

“We are already witnessing the rapid, worldwide emergence of ‘digital agriculture,’ which includes drones, satellite-based sensors, and field robotics,” said Bruno Lanvin, INSEAD Executive Director for Global Indices.

*Capital FM/Allafrica

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Planet Earth Institute launches the PEI exChange, the first online matching platform for African development
July 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

Based on user-identified criteria, including countries and regions of focus, industries, skills and experience, the PEI exChange provides personalised matches to help users make their ‘Big Ideas for Africa’ happen.

  • The Planet Earth Institute NGO will launch the PEI exChange as part of its #ScienceAfrica UnConference on 20th July
  • The PEI exChange is the first online matching platform for individuals passionate about African development
  • The website is also the world’s only online portal dedicated to projects in Africa

The Planet Earth Institute (PEI) , an international NGO and charity, will launch the ​PEI exchange  during its ​#ScienceAfrica UnConference on 20th July​, 2017 . The PEI exChange  is the first online matching platform for all individuals working and interested in Africa.

While Africa has long been the subject of fascination, there are few specialised websites for the sheer range of professionals working on the continent. The PEI exChange is a new website that aims to connect all people working in and passionate about Africa. Based on user-identified criteria, including countries and regions of focus, industries, skills and experience, the PEI exChange provides personalised matches to help users make their ‘Big Ideas for Africa’ happen. These could include charitable projects, a new technology, a business plan, an academic collaboration or more.

Users will be matched with like-minded people who have the skills, expertise, and experience to support their projects on and for the continent. Once connected, the PEI exChange real-time chat function facilitates collaboration, allowing users to share contacts and expertise, build  networks, and create interest-focused groups.

The PEI exChange also features a ‘Big Ideas Map’, which displays projects, initiatives, businesses, and collaborations happening in and for Africa. Users can post their own projects, follow and support others, and stay up-to-date with challenges and opportunities on the ground.

The PEI exChange will be unveiled during the PEI’s fifth #ScienceAfrica UnConference, which is hosted by the Rt Hon Lord Boateng. Held under the banner of ‘Big Ideas For Africa: Celebrating the Continent’s Science and Technology Pioneers’, the UnConference aims to recognise the individuals and groups creating scientific and technological innovations that not only benefit  the continent, but also the world. Participants come from diverse backgrounds, including business, academia, policy and civil society. The UnConference will also be live streamed and people are encouraged to use the #BigIdeasforAfrica hashtag on Twitter to engage in discussion about science, technology and innovation in Africa.

The Rt Hon Lord Paul Boateng, PEI Chairman and Trustee, commented, “The latest digital technologies are a powerful way of fostering collaboration among the many talented individuals working to further sustainable and inclusive development in Africa. As such, I believe that the PEI exChange will be an invaluable resource and community for people who are passionate about the continent. This online matching platform and project portal has the potential to revolutionise the way people do business and good in Africa.”

The Planet Earth Institute (PEI) is an international NGO and charity working for the scientific independence of Africa. While other emerging regions have invested heavily in science and technology, Africa is falling behind in the race for scientific development. And we want that to change, fast.

All of our work is built around the three pathways we believe will help lead Africa to scientific independence: Higher Education, Technological Innovation and Policy and Advocacy. In other words, we want to support and strengthen higher education institutions, help incubate technologies able to drive scientific advancement and campaign for a science-led development agenda for Africa.

Headquartered in London with a core executive team, the PEI also has a regional office in Luanda, Angola.

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Africa: Crafting an African Victory for the World
July 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Carl Manlan*

Photo: VOA News

Photo: VOA News
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking at a press conference in Geneva launching his candidacy to head the World Health Organization (WHO).

On May 25, 1963,  Africans gathered in Addis Ababa to create the Organisation of African Unity, the precursor to today’s African Union. It stood tall in the minds of Africans who decided to unite for a common cause. It demonstrated our ability to set aside differences in order to make the world a better place.

Now, on 1 July 2017, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of Ethiopia will stand at the helm of the the World Health Organisation with the ambition to reform, transform and make global health and agile partner of economic transformation for the world.

Dr. Tedros’ historical election marks a turning point in Africa’s ability to speak with one voice. Fourteen years ago, in 2003, Africa put forward four candidates for the same position. In disunity, we failed. But just like Washington, Brussels and New York, we turned Addis Ababa into the centre of African political and economic decision-making. The emergence of Dr. Tedros and his victory a WHO are telling tales of an Africa that is taking centre stage strategically by building consensus in Addis Ababa.

For example, Africans defined a strategy for the Sustainable Development Goals’ negotiation through  the Common African Position. We shifted the paradigm and the world took notice that Africa, in the midst of the challenges, has public sector leaders and diplomats that are harnessing data to inform policies.

 WHO

WHO
The new head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Furthermore, the African private sector is partnering in the transformation as it made clear during the Ebola outbreak. Ultimately, Africa is becoming a stronger partner to the world because it has developed an internally agreed framework for the negotiations with the world. It is in this context that I see Dr. Tedros’ victory as an African victory. The seeds of 1963 germinated,  but the first real bloom will appear on July 1 when Dr. Tedros formally assumes office at the WHO headquarters.

I feel confident that Dr. Tedros is the right person at the right time to lead the transformation of the WHO. He has experience beyond health leadership and understands that health permeates all levels and areas of governance in Africa and beyond. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan broke a glass ceiling  for Africans in international organizations. But Dr. Tedros is the first African politician to be succeed from outside UN the system. This is a big step forward.

 In crafting an African victory, Ethiopia learnt from the challenges of previous African ministers of health. As a former Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tedros wove his narrative into local, continental and global health diplomacy. Not only did he lead the transformation of community health delivery in Ethiopia, he was instrumental in leading public private partnerships as Chair of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. His victory with 133 votes, beyond his personal achievements is an expression of the changing nature of intra-African political relations. We are making progress and we should acknowledge the work of African public servants in spearheading transformation in Addis Ababa and in 55 African capitals.

Furthermore, given Dr. Tedros’ central role in key negotiations – such as the third international conference on financing for development (FfD) – he has the critical understanding of issues beyond health to draw new human and financial resources to make his mandate (better health for all) successful. He has the leverage to make health a priority in countries where diseases continue to arrest economic development or in places where viral threat create global issues as we saw with Ebola in 2014.

The achilles’ heel in this African victory is African’s ability to provide new resources for WHO under Dr. Tedros to show that we can solve African and global health problems with African resources. With his election, he just reached the beginning of the road, the farthest any African had ever reached, by embracing diversity and taking others along. Dr. Tedros will need cash and competency as member countries contribute less than third of its $2.2 billion budget. Dr. Tedros will require African resources to transform aspirations into tangible achievements so that we fund our unity and strengthen our forefathers’ foundation. Ultimately, it is the moment for Africa’s middle class to step forward and we cannot blink, even when our tax reforms are delayed, limiting our ability to contribute like those in the middle class in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.

In 1963, the search for unity prevailed. In 2017 an African backed by an entire continent convinced the world of a victory that appeared, at first, impossible. Dr. Tedros’ success is for the world. He neither went fast nor went alone. Once the dust settles, African’s ability to shift the burden of responsibility from Overseas Development Assistance will be what makes Dr. Tedros’ victory a historic moment.

*Aspen Instutute/Allafrica.Carl Manlan is an economist and Chief Operating Officer of the Ecobank Foundation. He is a 2016 Aspen New Voices Fellow.

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Bushra al-Fadil wins 18th Caine Prize for African Writing
July 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
Bushra al-Fadil

Bushra al-Fadil

Bushra al-Fadil has won the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing, described as Africa’s leading literary award, for his short story entitled “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away”, translated by Max Shmookkler, published in The Book of Khartoum – A City in Short Fiction(Comma Press, UK. 2016). The Chair of Judges, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, announced Bushra al-Fadil as the winner of the £10,000 prize at an award dinner this evening (Monday, 3 July) held for the first time in Senate House, London, in partnership with SOAS as part of their centenary celebrations. As a translated story, the prize money will be split – with £7,000 going to Bushra and £3,000 to the translator, Max Shmookler.

“The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away” vividly describes life in a bustling market through the eyes of the narrator, who becomes entranced by a beautiful woman he sees there one day. After a series of brief encounters, tragedy unexpectedly befalls the woman and her young female companion.

Nii Ayikwei Parkes praised the story, saying, “the winning story is one that explores through metaphor and an altered, inventive mode of perception – including, for the first time in the Caine Prize, illustration – the allure of, and relentless threats to freedom. Rooted in a mix of classical traditions as well as the vernacular contexts of its location, Bushra al-Fadil’s “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away”, is at once a very modern exploration of how assaulted from all sides and unsupported by those we would turn to for solace we can became mentally exiled in our own lands, edging in to a fantasy existence where we seek to cling to a sort of freedom until ultimately we slip into physical exile.”

Bushra al-Fadil is a Sudanese writer living in Saudi Arabia. His most recent collection Above a City’s Sky was published in 2012, the same year Bushra won the al-Tayeb Salih Short Story Award. Bushra holds a PhD in Russian language and literature.

Bushra was joined on the 2017 shortlist by:

  • Chikodili Emelumadu (Nigeria) for ‘Bush Baby’ published in African Monsters, eds. Margarét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas (Fox Spirit Books, UK. 2015)
  • Arinze Ifeakandu (Nigeria) for ‘God’s Children Are Little Broken Things’ published in A Public Space 24 (A Public Space Literary Projects Inc., USA. 2016)
  • Magogodi oaMphela Makhene (South Africa) for ‘The Virus’  published in The Harvard Review 49 (Houghton Library Harvard University, USA. 2016)

The panel of judges was chaired by Nii Ayikwei Parkes – member of the Caine Prize Council and Director of the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing at the African University College of Communications in Accra, the first of its kind in West Africa. He is the author of the novel Tail of the Blue Bird (Jonathan Cape, UK. 2009) which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2010.

Alongside Nii on the panel of judges are: Chair of the English Department at Georgetown University, Professor Ricardo Ortiz; Libyan author and human rights campaigner, Ghazi Gheblawi; distinguished African literary scholar, Dr Ranka Primorac; and 2007 Caine Prize winner, Monica Arac de Nyeko.

As in previous years, the winner of the Caine Prize will be given an opportunity to take up residence at Georgetown University at the Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice. The winner will also be invited to speak at the Library of Congress. Each shortlisted writer receives £500, and Max Shmookler, translator of Bushra al-Fadil’s shortlisted story (originally written in Arabic) receives £250. The winner is invited to take part in the Open Book Festival in Cape Town, Storymoja in Nairobi and Ake Festival in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Last year the Caine Prize was won by South African writer Lidudumalingani for his story “Memories We Lost” from Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You (Burnet Media, South Africa. 2015). Lidudumalingani has since gone on to win a Miles Morland Scholarship and is currently writing his debut novel, Let Your Children Name Themselves.

The New Internationalist 2017 anthology, The Goddess of Mtwara and other stories, is now published and it includes all of the shortlisted stories along with 11 other short stories written at the Caine Prize 2017 workshop in Tanzania. You can buy the anthology at https://newint.org/books/fiction/caine-prize-2017/. The anthology is also available from 11 African co-publishers who receive the print ready PDF free of charge.

The Caine Prize, awarded annually for African creative writing, is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Chairman of Booker plc and Chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for nearly 25 years.

The Prize is awarded for a short story by an African writer published in English (indicative length 3,000 to 10,000 words). An African writer is taken to mean someone who was born in Africa, or who is a national of an African country, or who has a parent who is African by birth or nationality.

The African winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Wole Soyinka and J M Coetzee, are Patrons of The Caine Prize. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne is President of the Council, Ben Okri OBE is Vice President, Dr Delia Jarrett-Macauley is the Chair, Adam Freudenheim is the Deputy Chairperson and Dr Lizzy Attree is the Director.

Full biographies of the shortlistees are available at http://caineprize.com/2017-shortlist/.

Full biographies of the 2017 judges are available at http://caineprize.com/2017-judges/.

This year 148 short stories from writers representing 22 African countries were received and entered into the 2017 Caine Prize before they were whittled down to the final 5. The judges made their final decision on the winner today.

Previous winners are Sudan’s Leila Aboulela (2000), Nigerian Helon Habila (2001), Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina (2002), Kenyan Yvonne Owuor (2003), Zimbabwean Brian Chikwava (2004), Nigerian Segun Afolabi (2005), South African Mary Watson (2006), Ugandan Monica Arac de Nyeko (2007), South African Henrietta Rose-Innes (2008), Nigerian EC Osondu (2009), Sierra Leonean Olufemi Terry (2010), Zimbabwean NoViolet Bulawayo (2011), Nigerian Tope Folarin (2013), Kenyan Okwiri Oduor (2014), Zambian Namwali Serpell (2015), and South African Lidudumalingani (2016).

The five shortlisted stories, alongside stories written at Caine Prize workshop held in Tanzania in March 2017, are published annually by New Internationalist (UK), Interlink Publishing (USA), Jacana Media (South Africa), LanternBooks (United States), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), Mkuki na Nyota (Tanzania), Redsea Cultural Foundation (Somalia and Somaliland), Gadsen Publishers (Zambia), Huza Press (Rwanda),  Books are available from the publishers or from the Africa Book Centre, African Books Collective or Amazon.

The Caine Prize is principally supported by The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, The Miles Morland Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation, the Booker Prize Foundation, Sigrid Rausing & Eric Abraham, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, the Royal Over-Seas League and John and Judy Niepold.  Other funders and partners include, The British Council, Georgetown University (USA), The Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice, The van Agtmael Family Charitable Fund, Rupert and Clare McCammon, Adam and Victoria Freudenheim, Arindam Bhattacherjee, Phillip Ihenacho and other generous donors.

Special thanks also go to the Centre of African Studies and SOAS, University of London, for supporting this year’s award dinner, held for the first time in London.

*The Caine Prize

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Continental Free Trade Area Is Africa’s Path To Self-Reliance & Prosperity” – President Akufo-Addo
June 29, 2017 | 0 Comments
President Akufo-Addo was speaking at a State Banquet held in his honour by the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Edgar Lungu, on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

President Akufo-Addo was speaking at a State Banquet held in his honour by the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Edgar Lungu, on Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged African leaders to hasten the coming into being of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).

According to President Akufo-Addo, “if we remain resolute and see to its realisation, we will obtain a major boost to the development of our economies, and a considerable reduction on our dependence on foreign goods and services. It is the path to collective self-reliance and prosperity.”

It will be recalled that Heads of State and Governments who attended the 28th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, in January this year, signed up to the implementation of the CFTA.

The purpose of the free-trade area is to ensure significant growth of Intra-Africa trade, as well as assisting countries on the continent use trade more effectively as an engine of growth and for sustainable development.

The CFTA will also reduce the vulnerability of the continent to external shocks, and will also enhance the participation of Africa in global trade as a respectable partner, thereby reducing the continent’s dependence on foreign aid and external borrowing.

President Akufo-Addo was speaking at a State Banquet held in his honour by the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Edgar Lungu, on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, when he made this known.

He noted that for a continent that has made the choice of pursuing integration, Africa has not done much in liberalizing and promoting trade amongst member countries.

“Research has shown that countries or groups of countries with the largest share of world trade are located within regions with the highest share of intra-regional trade. Trade between African nations remains low compared to other parts of the world,” he lamented.

In 2000, intra-continental trade accounted for 10% of Africa’s total trade, and increased marginally to 11% in 2015. Trading amongst members of the European Union, for example, amounted to 70% in 2015. Intra-African trade is still estimated at less than two percent (2%) of global trade.

“With these very low levels of trade and investment co-operation in Africa, we must put in place deliberate measures aimed at expanding trade and business collaborations to improve the prospects for prosperity of our peoples,” he added.

The coming into effect of the CFTA, the President was confident, would bring progress and prosperity to the African peoples.

With Africa’s population of 1.2 billion set to expand to 2 billion people in 20 years, the President stressed that “this means that a genuine continental market in Africa should be in our economic interest, for it will present immense opportunities to bring prosperity to the peoples in our continent with hard work, creativity and enterprise.”

It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo noted that “we should no longer delay the process of African integration. A functioning, common continental market has to be a very fundamental objective of all the peoples and governments on the continent, an objective that will consolidate the process of structural transformation of our national economies on which we must be engaged.”

Intensify Ghana & Zambia links

President Akufo-Addo, in his remarks, also called for the intensification of the links between Ghanaian and Zambian enterprises.

With Zambia and Ghana recording similar GDP growth rates in 2016, i.e., 3.3% and 3.6% respectively, as a result of high fiscal deficits, low investor confidence, falling commodity prices and low agricultural productivity, President Akufo-Addo explained that the time has come for the two countries to move away from being mere producers and exporters of raw materials.

“There can be no future prosperity for our peoples in the short, medium or long term, if we continue to maintain economic structures dependent on the production and export of raw materials. Unless we industrialise, with the goal of adding significant value to our primary products, we cannot create the necessary numbers of good-paying jobs that will enhance the living standards of the masses of our country,” he said.

To this end, President Akufo-Addo outlined a number of policies he has initiated since assuming office in January 2017, which has shifted the focus of Ghana’s economy from taxation to production.

He also applauded his Zambian counterpart for his recently approved National Development Plan, on the theme “Accelerating development efforts towards vision 2030 without leaving anyone behind”.

The Zambian programme is hinged on the pillars of economic diversification and job creation, reduced poverty and vulnerability, reduced developmental inequalities, enhancing human development, and conducive governance environment for economic diversification, to create a diversified economy for sustained growth and economic development is highly commendable.

“The transformation of our two economies we seek through these measures should make our enterprises and businesses very competitive in Africa, and beyond,” he added.

*Presidency Ghana

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Quett Masire (1925-2017), the great African leader you’ve never heard of
June 29, 2017 | 0 Comments
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INNOVATIVE AND EFFICIENT LAND AND SOIL DEGRADATION CURBING MECHANISMS IN WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA: LESSONS FOR OTHER AFRICAN COUNTRIES
June 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

By   Moses Hategeka*

“A combination of conservation agriculture production practices, that involve no-till, cover cropping, and crop rotation, encompassing, rotating of wheat and legume pasture on my more than 1900 hectares farm, has significantly increased my wheat yields, right from mid-1990’s, on average from, 2854kg/ha to 4072kg/ha, to, 5850kg/ha to7520kg/ha currently. Thus, I am now enjoying both financial profitability and farming sustainability, as the practice, has increased, organic matter on my farm soils, and so is, to other thousands of farmers, in Western Cape Province, who are doing the same”. Says, Francois Rossouw, a Western Cape Province farmer, who besides, wheat and legume farming, is also engaged in animal husbandry.

Indeed, during, my farming tour of his farm and other farms too recently, in Western Cape province, on a fact finding mission, on what farmers, in this province, have done, to curb land and soil degradation, which is on skyrocketing levels globally, I was amazed, by the clearly and strategically innovative and efficient phased strategies, that the provincial administration of Western Cape and farmers, adopted right from 1984 to date, and the capacity, the farmers in this province, have attained to conserve and improve soil fertility in a sustainable way.

It is important to note that, land and soil are the basis of life on earth, but a closer look, at an alarming soil nutrients depletion, and destruction of crop, grass, and forests lands, going on, in different regions of the world, reveals that, effort to ensure sustainable land use and protection of soils, is still insufficient, with Sub Saharan Africa Region, being the hardest hit, with land and soil degradation problems.

Globally, 33 percent of grasslands, 25 percent of croplands, and 23 percent of forests lands, have, for the over past three decades, experienced degradation. Land degradation, is on rise globally, and negatively affecting the livelihood of millions of people globally, and yet, every US dollar invested, in saving land and soils today, will save us five USA dollars in the future.

According to Professor Joachim Von Braun, ZEF Director and co-editor of the book, “Economics of land degradation and improvement- A Global Assessment for Sustainable Development”, soil is the most neglected natural resource, yet investments in land and soil are crucial for food supply, climate, and human security.

It is thus, very paramount, for, countries, regional, and global agricultural organizations, to work together, in a cohesive and collaborative manner, in the area of knowledge transfer, research, and development, and put in place and implement agricultural policies, that makes their farmers, to build capacity, to engage in production practices, that result in soil health attainment.

The provincial administration of Western Cape, has for the over past three decades to date, produced agricultural innovations, built efficient  agricultural scientific human resource, and massively trained the provincial farmers, to engage in agricultural production practices, that, promote soil health, which can be replicated in other African countries.

 Dr. Johann Strauss, a scientist in sustainable cropping systems, Directorate plant sciences, Western Cape Department of Agriculture, says, that land and soil degradation curbing measures, in Western Cape Province, were systematically and periodically done in phases.

From 1984 onwards, slow adoption of minimum tillage, this involved, massive training of the provincial farmers, on proper residue retention techniques, on their farmers. This improved organic matter in their farm soils, and in the six years, that followed, all the farmers recorded, improved yields.

In the mid 1990’s, Western Cape department of agriculture, massively, introduced no- till and crop rotation farming techniques, which in essence meant, and means, minimum soil disturbance and periodical rotating of crops on the farms. This was accompanied, with progressive introduction, of locally produced no- till planters, suitable for Western Cape local conditions.

Currently, about 90 per cent, of the farmers in Western Cape Province, have fully adopted, no-till, and crop rotation farming techniques, and presently, no- till planters, are available in abundance to farmers, at fair prices, at locally production centers, while others, are imported.

Besides cover cropping, and permanent soil cover, that is done by, many farmers in Western Cape area, to conserve and attain soil health, farmers in the province, also do regular soil monitoring and testing, and according to obtained outcome, fine-tune soil compounds, by adding or reducing specific inputs. Currently in Western Cape Province, there is a movement, to move away, from testing for macro elements (N,P,K), to microbial activity, as an indication of soil health.

Many farmers in the province, have and are embracing organic farming, preferring to use, more of organic inputs on their farms. Globally, demand for organically produced products, are on high demand, and this demand is projected, to continue skyrocketing, due to health benefits associated with consuming organic products, and luckily for Western Cape farmers, their department of agriculture, introduced sustainable certification initiatives, for their farmers, which have enabled them to access export markets.

How has these land and soil degradation curbing innovative approaches transformed the provincial agriculture?

 

Moses Hategeka

Dr. Johann Strauss, a scientist in sustainable cropping systems, Directorate plant sciences, Western Cape Department of Agriculture, confidently articulates that, these innovative approaches, have led, to increased organic matter in Western Cape soils, emphasizing that, in some scenarios, soil carbon has increased from less than 0.5% to about 2% and in some situations even 4%.

Water retention, has tremendously increased, to the extent that, many producers, have started to do away, with contour banks, to prevent erosion and water runoff.

Many farmers in Western Cape Province, are now more resilient, to the effect of climate change especially droughts, as their health soils, is no able to retain water for longer, and their soil cover practice, has decreased evaporation process.

The adoption of these innovative measures, have also made agricultural producers, in the Western Cape Province, more sustainable, as well as increasing their crop yields and farming profitability.

In sum, given that globally, one third of farming land is degraded mostly due to conventional tillage practices, with sub- Saharan Africa region, being the hardest hit region, African countries, together with, other key private and civil society players in Africa’s agricultural sector, must work hand in hand, through knowledge transfer, research and development, and proper training, to build the capacity of African farmers, to conserve and improve soil fertility in a sustainable way, like what the farmers in Western Cape Province in South Africa are doing. Innovations that are soil moisture and soil fertility improvement inducing, are key, to reducing hunger, attaining food security, and decreasing poverty.

Moses Hategeka, is a Ugandan based Independent Governance Researcher, Public Affairs Analyst, and Writer

Email: moseswiseman2000@gmail.com

 

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Prophet Bushiri shares weekend with Malawi children: Donates K10 million to two orphanages.
June 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

South Africa based billionaire preacher Prophet Shepherd Bushiri jetted in his home country Malawi on Thursday and took time off his busy schedule on Friday to mingle with underprivileged children in capital Lilongwe.

The Man of God, popularly known as Major One, visited two child care centres—SOS Village and Tilinanu Orphanage—where he donated K5 million too each centre.

SOS Village, since its establishment in 1997, keeps an average of 130 children per year while Tilinanu, since its inception in 2005, keeps at least 35 orphaned girls.

Visibly jovial and in high spirits, the Prophet mingled with the children through, among others, engaging them in sports activities, sharing childhood fairytales, doing a Bible Study, singing choruses and, interestingly, being taught how to dance by these ecstatic children.

It was all smiles for the children who, from public confessions, could not believe they were sharing a moment with Prophet Bushiri, a global celebrity preacher leading one of the world’s fastest growing ministry.

The Man of God could not hide his joy with the gesture saying reaching out to the children in need is the greatest pillar not just of his ministry, but also his personal life.

“Every child is special to me—just as my biological children. However, these ones [in child centres] suffers rejection sometimes because they feel they don’t have parents to look into. Some of us come in to fill that gap, to show them fatherly love so that they grow up with the love that every child needs,” he said.

He dismissed media reports that his donations are motivated by political motives.

“I don’t just make donations in Malawi. Recently I was in Nicaragua in Central America where we made so many donations. Are we saying I am also having political ambitions there? What I am doing is just who I am. My joy comes from reaching to those not privileged than some of us. I hope the gesture will be echoed by others too,” he said.

The Prophet hailed SOS Village and Tilinanu for braving the time, ensuring that the children are safe and healthy.

SOS and Tilinanu directors Paul Nyirongo and Gift Mkandawire hailed Prophet Bushiri, marveling his gesture as a point of national retrospection and reflection in matters of children in the country.

On his part, Mkandawire—who is running Tilinanu which her departed mothers started in 2005 as part of her selfless cause to help an orphaned girl child—appealed to the Prophet to soldier on the spirit, arguing it symbolizes God’s love of humanity.

*Maravi Post

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Zimbabwe: Govt Says Signs ‘Disneyland in Africa’ Agreement With Chinese Funders
June 25, 2017 | 0 Comments
Photo: ebel Victoria Falls.

Photo: ebel
Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls — The government has signed a comprehensive agreement with unnamed Chinese investors for the construction of its ‘Disneyland in Africa’, a tourism and conference theme park in the resort town of Victoria Falls, the tourism minister said on Wednesday.

In 2013, the impoverished southern African nation said it had set aside 300 hectares of land to build a state-of-the-art conference centre to house hotels, businesses, shopping malls, banks, exhibition and entertainment facilities such as casinos near the Victoria Falls International Airport.

The theme park, whose costs have been put at $460 million, is seen as crucial to rebranding the country dogged by perceptions of political volatility and human rights abuses, using the formula that has worked in California, Florida in the United States and Paris in France.

 “We have signed an overarching agreement with some Chinese developers for a master plan to develop 300ha of land between the (Victoria Falls) airport and Masue River. We need to drive the convention business and direct traffic to ourselves,” Mzembi told journalists at a press conference.

“Already we are looking at 2020 where we are dreaming of a $5 billion tourism sector in Victoria Falls alone.” said Minister Mzembi.

*New Zimbabwe/Allafrica

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Botswana’s former President Ketumile Masire dies aged 91
June 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
Sir Ketumile Masire - the "architect" of Botswana's stability

Sir Ketumile Masire – the “architect” of Botswana’s stability

Botswana has declared three days of national mourning after the death of former President Sir Ketumile Masire, aged 91.

Sir Ketumile, who led the country from 1980 to 1998, is credited with being the architect of the country’s famed stability, reports the AFP news agency.

He was also involved in peace initiatives across Africa, including ending Mozambique’s long civil war.

Botswana is one of Africa’s richest and most stable countries.

Sir Ketumile became president after the death of Botswana’s first post-independence leader Sir Seretse Khama in 1980.

He had served as the country’s first minister of finance and vice-president before becoming president, the Botswana government states.

Sir Ketumile stepped down in 1998 after overseeing a period of strong economic growth based on the effective management of the Botswana’s vast diamond wealth.

He was also involved in backing South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement and other independence struggles in the region.

As an elder statesman he was involved in mediation efforts across Africa, including Kenya, Lesotho, Swaziland and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Sir Ketumile was also chair of the International Panel of Eminent Personalities which investigated the 1994 Rwanda genocide.

*BBC

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Sudan: China’s Original Foothold in Africa
June 22, 2017 | 0 Comments

Thanks in part to U.S. neglect, China’s footprint in Sudan has grown exponentially over the past 20 years.

By Joseph Hammond*

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) attends a signing ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinxing at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China (September 1, 2015). Image Credit: REUTERS/ Parker Song

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (L) attends a signing ceremony with Chinese President Xi Jinxing at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China (September 1, 2015).
Image Credit: REUTERS/ Parker Song

China’s legacy in Sudan is immediately visible in downtown Khartoum. Near where the Blue and White Nile join to form the world’s longest river sits the People’s Friendship Cooperation Hall, a gift from China to the People’s Republic to Sudan that dates to 1976.

The complex, which includes a conference hall, meeting rooms, a theater, and banquet hall, stretches for nearly a kilometer along the Nile. The building has aged well and remains one of Africa’s modernist architectural gems; a Chinese extension in 2003 expanded and refurbished the building without impacting its charm In 2014, the People’s Friendship Cooperation Hall hosted the third China-Africa People’s Forum while Chinese sources hailed Sudan as an important country in Africa.

The building is not far from where the British Empire suffered one of its greatest defeats in 1885. That year General Charles George “Chinese” Gordon was killed when the besieged Imperial garrison at Khartoum was overrun by Mahdist forces. A British-led force sent to relieve him arrived just hours too late to lift the months long siege. Before his death in Sudan, Gordon was heavily decorated by the British Empire for his role in suppressing the Taiping Rebellion in China, which the Communist Party of China in recent years has come to see as an anti-imperialist uprising. As such “Chinese” Gordon provides a compelling historical link in Sudanese-Chinese relations, as both countries can claim to have suffered under the same colonial oppressor.

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Chinese-Sudanese relations date to 1959, when Sudan became the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to recognize China. Today, China is the largest investor in Sudan, as it is in the continent as a whole. But China’s relation with Sudan is exceptional because of the absence of competition from the United States. Other than Coca-Cola, very few American products are readily available to Sudanese consumers.

Sudan has been under U.S. sanctions since 1995 in part due to the country’s past ties to terrorists like Osama bin Laden. That same year President Omar al-Bashir signed Sudan’s first oil deal with China.

“It is surprising, the coincidence that U.S. sanctions began around the same time China invested in our oil industry,” a Sudanese government official offers sarcastically.

Yet China’s oil empire in Sudan began rather reluctantly. When first approached by Bashir’s government to invest in oil concessions, the Chinese officials suggested Sudan look to Chevron instead.

In June 1997, the Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company was established with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) taking 40 percent ownership and Malaysia’s Petronas taking 30 percent. India’s ONGC Videsh acquired 25 percent when a forerunner of Canada’s Talisman Energy had to leave due to sanctions.

China has invested in other aspects of the industry until it controls as much as 75 percent of the Sudanese oil industry. Sudan currently produces 133,000 barrels of oil per day — a fraction of what it produced before the south of the country seceded in 2011, taking most of the country’s proven oil reserves with it. Today, Chinese companies are looking for new oil deposits in Sudan as increasing oil production is one of the government’s priorities.

“China’s first experience in investing in Africa was in Sudan,” says Ibrahim Ghandour, Sudan’s foreign minister. “They started in oil but, now have other interests in trade, mining, and construction.”

However, in one area Chinese involvement in Sudan is exaggerated: China has been falsely accused of being an major source of armaments for Sudan. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s arms transfer database, arms from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine made up the majority — 77 percent — of imports into the Sudanese arsenal from 2007-2016. China was responsible for a modest 19 percent of all military exports to Sudan over the same period.

China’s presence in Sudan is not without controversy. For example, Sudanese labor law requires that international companies consist of staff which is 80 percent Sudanese, but the foreign minister admits that Chinese companies have failed to comply with this. However, he insists that the Sudanese benefit more than locals in many other African countries from Chinese companies.

“Yes, Chinese companies are in violation of this but, it is the smallest possible violation. Within the oil industry today most of the engineers and technical experts in Sudan and South Sudan are Sudanese. They were trained in China, and we see more and more of them… Sudan is the only country in Africa where over time more locals have gotten jobs from Chinese companies,” says Ghandour.

Though not typically seen as a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Sudan sees itself as playing a critical role in the development of China’s plan to link East Asia with western Europe. The Sudanese government believes Port Sudan on the Red Sea will be an important loop on that belt.

“We are in discussions with China to work with them on developing a new free-trade area near Port Sudan, which will focus on attracting Chinese companies and of course support the One Belt, One Road Initiative,” says Sudan’s state minister for investment, Osama Faysal. “However in the long term American companies may have a competitive advantage in Sudan due to their spending on R&D.”

If the United States was reluctant to engage in transaction diplomacy back in 1996, when Sudan offered to turn over Osama bin Ladenfor sanctions relief, China has proved a willing partner. Now the Trump administration is poised to lift economic sanctions on Sudan later this year, but it will be a while before the knockoff “Starbox” coffee shops and Khartoum fried chicken eateries disappear.

Khartoum is talking about new business opportunities with American companies and the wider world. That said, despite some resentment among the local Sudanese toward the Chinese, China’s influence will likely continue unabated.

Elsewhere in Africa, China has thrived by under-cutting the competition and accepting higher risks than American companies. However, China’s influence will survive for political reasons as well.

Bashir, who has ruled Sudan since 1989, has pledged to step down in 2020. However, Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party has no intention of yielding power, and in this regard is consciously emulating China. China was the only non-Muslim country outside Africa invited to the fourth national congress of the NCP held this year. Communist Party of China officials — fluent in Arabic — furiously scribbled notes during Bashir’s speech. A few rows away an NCP party member wore a lapel pin from the China Executive Leadership Academy in Pudong, known in Sudan as CELAP, where some NCP leaders have undergone leadership training. As the party has reformed itself as part of a national dialogue initiated in 2014, China has presented an explicit model where competition takes place within parties, not between them.

“China offered a completely different model of human development a model very different than Europe and Britain,” says Ibrahim Mahmoud, the vice president of the NCP who led the reform. “That is an example we are closely following.”

*Culled from The DiplomatJoseph Hammond is a fellow with the American Media Institute and former Cairo Correspondent for Radio Free Europe. He has been contributing as a freelancer to The Diplomat since 2010.

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African Solutions Are Needed For African Problems-Prophet Shepherd Bushiri on his Corporate Side
June 21, 2017 | 17 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

We need to sit down as a continent and build reasoned, African based solutions to our problems, says Prophet Bushiri

We need to sit down as a continent and build reasoned, African based solutions to our problems, says Prophet Bushiri

In just two years, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri Founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG), says his Ministry has registered over 300,000 new members. But why is the ECG such a crowd puller in so short a time? Blending the spiritual needs of his followers, with skills to navigate daily challenges  with success seems to be the winning recipe.

“We do not just preach, in words and deeds, the gospel of the living Jesus Christ. We also teach and empower people on how to face daily economic challenges of their lives through entrepreneurship programmes and also skills development,” says Prophet Bushiri.

With headquarters in Pretoria, South Africa, Prophet Bushiri says in addition to his spiritual work, he has the vision to seek African solutions to African problems.

While many may be familiar with the religious side of Prophet Bushiri, the man of God has a rapidly growing business empire with the Shepherd Bushiri Investments. From aviation to real estate, farming, financial, education and IT services, Prophet Bushiri is slowly but steadily carving a niche for himself in the African business landscape.

‘At the ECG, We Don’t Attract Billionaires, We Produce Billionaires,’ says Prophet Bushiri of the sustained efforts to also boost the  entrepreneurial skills of his followers.

Mr Shepherd Bushiri, thanks for accepting to grant this interview could you start by introducing yourself, who is Prophet Shepherd Bushiri the man of God, and Entrepreneur?

Thank you for affording me this opportunity to speak with you. I truly appreciate you taking time out of your schedule for this.

I am a Malawian born Man of God currently based in Pretoria, South Africa. I am married to Prophetess Mary Bushiri and we have two beautiful daughters.

I am the founder of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) and its headquarters is in Pretoria South Africa.

In just two years in South Africa, the church has achieved over 300 000 registered members just in South Africa.

Further, we have branches in Africa, Europe, Australia and North and South America.

Prophet Bushiri with his family, his wife plays a leading role in running SBI

Prophet Bushiri with his family, his wife plays a leading role in running SBI

I often get asked: Why is your ministry growing fast? Simply put, it is because we do not just preach, in words and deeds, the gospel of the living Jesus Christ. We also teach and empower people on how to face daily economic challenges of their lives through entrepreneurship programmes and also skills development. People are able not just to read and hear about the word of God; they also see, live and experience it.

You are President of Shepherd Bushiri Investments (SBI), can you tell us about your group, and how it has evolved over the years to what it is today?

We started with a vision of creating structures and systems that could empower young Africans with skills development and employment. This vision has turned into a reality.

Today, we own and manage a number of business entities under Shepherd Bushiri Investments (SBI). We are in Travel and Aviation for VIP’s and Presidents, through SBI Airways, where we have four jets that allow for comfortable air travel at affordable rates. We are in financial services where our Trading and Stock Exchange Services industry specialists provide comprehensive, integrated solutions to the Banking & Securities, Insurance, and Investment Management sectors.

We are also in Real estate where our industry practice providing world-class standards of differentiated residential and commercial property services and delivery. Hospitality Services. Currently, we own Sparkling Waters Hotel and Spa, situated in the heart of South Africa’s Magaliesburg Mountains, it is a luxurious three-star hotel, the ideal holiday or conference venue. Further, we are also in Mobile Telecommunications Services through one of SBI’s largest group of specialists providing cutting-edge mobile services specifically designed for PSB Network members.

SBI Airways, has four jets that allow for comfortable air travel at affordable rates

SBI Airways, has four jets that allow for comfortable air travel at affordable rates

Other entities include: SB University, SB Mining, SB Mobile Network, SB Trading Exchange Platform, SB Media, SB Real Estates and SB Agriculture.

How did you get the seed money or capital and at what point did the big break come for the SBI Group?

After I began my ministry in Malawi, I realised that for a ministry to go far, I needed more money. Besides that, I am a father, a husband and a family man. I needed money to take care of my family. Using my small savings from personal endeavours, family assistance and well-wishers I ventured into farming. I was growing and selling maize on a family land—by the way, maize is Malawi’s staple food. I started saving and investing every fortune I got from my maize sales. With days, my investments began to grow. These profits afforded me the opportunity to be where I am today.

The key word is ‘saving’ and ‘investing wisely.’

There are definitely other business ventures of yours that we are not aware, is Prophet Shepherd Bushiri willing to share them with us?

SBI businesses are the ones stated above.

What ties do you have with your home country of Malawi and any projects you have carried out there?

I am a proud and patriotic Malawian. I go to Malawi often on philanthropic work. We distribute relief maize to the poor, we go to prisons, we reach out to the sick, the orphans and the elderly.

Malawi is a beautiful and friendly nation. It is my home.

What are some of the challenges you faced growing the group, and how will you describe the business climate in Africa, atleast in countries where you currently do business in?

Well, challenges of doing business—ranging from corruption, dwindling consumer buying power and soaring taxes—will always be there. SBI, however, is turning them into success by advancing a business and investment culture that puts the clients first. Africa is a great continent with great potential. Opportunities are many and I think they will always be there.

What I envision, of course, is an Africa with African solutions—be it politics, economics and social life. We need to sit down as a continent and build reasoned, African based solutions to our problems.

How does Prophet Bushiri balance his pastoral duties with the corporal responsibilities he has at the SBI?

Time management is essential for all works that one does but most importantly is having a strong team. Fortunately, our team is excellent.

Any biblical precedent for this blend of spiritual duties and corporate interests which seems to be working for you?

If you read the Bible, you will note that men of God were rich including Abraham says Prophet Bushiri in response to the vilification of men of God "blessed with fortune"

If you read the Bible, you will note that men of God were rich including Abraham says Prophet Bushiri in response to the vilification of men of God “blessed with fortune”

I need to emphasise here that there is a tradition of vilifying Men of God whom have been blessed them with a fortune. There is this perception that Men of God are not supposed to be involved in business, to get rich, for instance. I don’t know where this perception comes from, but, if you read the Bible, you will note that men of God were rich including Abraham. It really sets a good example but then you do not just get rich. You must be a great worker—something which I am.

What is the reaction of your Church members to the business successes of their leader and for those who will want to register the same what message do you have for them?

My congregants are heavily encouraged with my success in business. They see me as a source of hope and also the definition of succeeding in doing business even when you are a Christian.

With the motto ‘At ECG, We Don’t Attract Billionaires, We Produce Billionaires’, I aim to transfer knowledge and skills of doing business in my congregants through the Monday Evening Service called the Diplomatic Service. During this weekly service, I train my congregant on how to begin, grow and manage a business using Godly ways.

I am telling you we are making unprecedented progress!

Africa has witnessed a proliferation of churches, and the opulence in which the Pastors or owners of some of the mega churches live is at odds with the everyday toil and pain of their follows, how do your own followers feel about your wealth, how do you feel when in all the wealth you have followers who live in misery, and what is your response to criticisms that religious leaders like you exploit followers for selfish ends?

At ECG, We Don’t Attract Billionaires, We Produce Billionaires,’ says Bushiri

At ECG, We Don’t Attract Billionaires, We Produce Billionaires,’ says Bushiri

Wealth comes from God—it’s a blessing, a gift that we are all born with. What matters is to listen to God for He is the one who has the keys to unlock it for us. The key thing is PRAYER and hard work.

I have never been involved in exploiting my church members. What they contribute to ECG is for the growth of the ministry—not my personal life. This is the reason I started venturing in business so that I do not meet my needs using money from church.

From your take Prophet Bushiri, how can Africans make the distinction between real and fake prophets, genuine men of God and adventurers?

I am a Man of God, heavenly ordained. I cannot speak for others. I feel it’s the sole responsibility of God to make that distinction.

We end with business which was the main thrust of the interview, what projects will the SBI Group be working on  in the years ahead?

We are interested in growing our entities and expanding to almost every country in Africa. We also want to support more especially—the elderly, orphans and youth.

 

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Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s wife shot dead
June 15, 2017 | 0 Comments
Lipolelo Thabane was going through a prolonged divorce

Lipolelo Thabane was going through a prolonged divorce

The estranged wife of incoming Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has been shot dead two days before his inauguration.

Lipolelo Thabane, 58, was travelling home with a friend when both women were shot by an unknown assailant, the police say.

The police add the motive is unknown and an investigation is continuing.

The couple had been living separately since 2012 and filed for divorce which hasn’t been granted yet.

BBC southern Africa correspondent Karen Allen reports that neighbours claim there had been an incident earlier in the week when a group of unidentified men were spotted hammering on the First Lady’s door.

She won a high court battle against her husband to secure the privileges of a First Lady, instead of Mr Thabane’s youngest wife, Liabiloe, reports the AFP news agency.

Mr Thabane is now living with a third wife.

Samonyane Ntsekele, the secretary general of Mr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention party, told AFP that the prime minister was devastated by the shooting.

“Everyone is traumatised by these developments,” he said.

The election took place earlier this month and was the third election in three years.

There is a bitter power-struggle in the country and Mr Thabane still has enemies in the military, our correspondent adds.

His inauguration is still expected to take place on Friday.

*BBC

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Multinationals Leading Quest To Adopt Continent’s web address Dot Africa
June 14, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Jean –Pierre Afadhali

Lucky Masilela

Lucky Masilela

Multinationals are leading the quest to adopt Dot Africa, the continent’s web address that was recently delegated to a South African company.

Africa’s web address was unveiled early this year to give the continent an online identity, following the delegation by the worldwide web administrator, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names & Numbers (ICANN).

In an exclusive interview with PanafricanVisions at Africa Internet Summit held recently in Nairobi,Kenya ;Mr. Lucky Masilela ,CEO of ZA Central Registry NPC (ZACR), the company that manages the web address; revealed over 760 multinationals have applied for Africa’s cyberspace name as of 29 May.

“We are quite happy, this is the highest of domain names sold during sunrise in the world,” said Mr. Masilela

The “record” was not independently verified, but the launch phase of domain registration known as’ sunrise’ allows companies that hold intellectual properties of their brand names to pre-register names that are the same to their trademark in order to avoid Internet names’ theft.

The period that ended on the 2nd June saw international brands including names such as BMW and Apple register the Africa’s web name to show their presence on the continent market.

According to Masilela, South African companies followed in acquiring DotAfrica.

The current phase known as ‘Landrush’ is meant for premium high value names, meaning names that can be commercialized.

“For instance ‘Banks.Africa’ can be applied to get all banks under that domain names,” explained the CEO of ZACR ,the company that runs Africa’s web address through its subsidiary called Registry Africa Ltd, adding that other high value names includes domain names with short characters.

ZACR said the price for a domain name for a year will be less than 20 dollars the wholesale.

“Your registrar will put some other services like hosting and it goes to 25-30 dollars but for us we are selling to registrars at a wholesale price,” he noted

While getting more organizations to register their brand under the recently launched Africa’s web name is a milestone; it appears there is still a long way to go to convince more African companies and others organizations that operate on the continent to adopt the internet name.

“For us it is a journey,” said Masilela “It is going to take a lot to convince them (businesses)”

“We need to provision this name to the African community that they need to trust this name,”

According to internet marketing experts, the Africa’s domain name will help companies operating in Africa to market their business online, allowing them to brand their pan African market presence.

“We are going to be visiting different countries and work with local registrars to ensure that there is uptake of the name,” revealed the CEO who was attending Africa Internet Summit.

General Availability will commence on 4 July 2017, and this is when the general public can apply for their .Africa domain names.

During this phase any organization or business can apply Africa’s Internet name.

“It is the market open for anybody including myself, I can go and apply the name,” Mr Masilela explained, adding it is first come and first served stage!

According to the South African Internet Company, all these phases are meant to avoid Intellectual properties rights conflicts, amid increasing domain names theft in the cyberspace.

The South Africa Company has signed an agreement with African Union to use undisclosed amount of revenues generated from the commercialization of DotAfrica, in financing the continent ICT development projects.

 

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Sweden collaborates with Zimbabwe to promote green economy
June 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Sweden through the Swedish Embassy in Harare is collaborating with a number of partners to create a green economy and transition Zimbabwe to a society built on sustainable environmental solutions.

A green economy is defined as an economy that aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment.

According to a publication titled:Innovation-the Swedish way by Eva Krutmeijer, some of the world’s most successful innovators are from Sweden.

The same publication says that Sweden excels at environmental technology and sustainable solutions, as international rankings show.It is reported that many Swedish innovations have become highly successful exports.It is also reported that often, they address complex global challenges such as poverty alleviation and climate change.

For a country like Zimbabwe faced with economic challenges including numerous environmental problems such as land degradation, excessive littering, urban streambank agriculture, massive pollution and wetlands destruction, just to mention a few and which impact on a green economy, the Swedish interventions could not have come at a better time.

Sofia Calltorp, Ambassador for the Embassy of Sweden in Harare said that her government had just signed a new five year strategy for development cooperation with Zimbabwe.

“We are seeking new partnerships in Zimbabwe, especially in the area of climate change and environment,” she said.

Also recently, Calltorp signed on behalf of her government a $1,35 million agreement to support Zimbabwe’s Culture Fund three year programme named Culture Actions to reduce gender based violence, combat child marriages and promote environmental awareness through transformative arts.

The agreement aims to promote environmental awareness by harnessing the power of the transformative arts.

“We want to start a discussion around environmental issues and climate change,” Calltorp said.

Also at the Culture Fund, Culture Actions agreement signing ceremony, Maria Selin, Swedish Embassy in Harare, Head of Development Cooperation said that the Swedish Embassy was seeking local partnerships with organisations in Zimbabwe to create a new green society.

Selin said particular areas of focus include environment, climate and Renewable Energy.

She said that these partnerships seek to create new jobs and business opportunities.

Selin added that particular focus will be on women and children who mostly bear the brunt of climate change impacts.

Also the Swedish embassy in Harare has introduced its Swedish Open Forum 3 series focusing on the green society.

 

According to MartinBuch Larsen, Communication and Promotion Officer for the Embassy of Sweden in Harare, the recent forum was the first in 2017.The 2015 one was called the open society, the 2016 one was the innovative society and this year it was called the green society.

 

The recent open forum attended by various stakeholders in Harare sought to unpack what it would take to green Zimbabwe through open and interactive dialogue.

The forum also explored challenges, benefits and risks in transitioning to a society built on sustainable environmental solutions. Other issues focused on how the public and private sector can join hands to create green jobs for the youths.

Green jobs are decent jobs that contribute to preserve or restore the environment, be they in traditional sectors such as manufacturing and construction, or in new, emerging green sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency.

 

At the Swedish Open Forum three recently held at the Ambassador’s residency, Ms Lova Nilsson representing SWECO, a Swedish organisation made remarks on the Swedish green economy experience.

Nilsson has experience in strategic planning, environmental assessment and environmental management. Her green experience covers environmental management systems, procurement, green house gas emission reduction and sustainable transport and city planning.

Nilsson said to create a green economy, it is necessary to have an enabling environment. She said that there is need introduce lower   taxation systems for renewable energy initiatives and come up with innovative ideas.

She also said that there is need to take business on board and commercialise opportunities. She emphasised the need for public awareness on the issues and engagement of communities to spearhead change.

“We also need conscious consumers who are aware of the needs of buying green to create a green economy,” Nilsson said.

She said that the public or citizens should be able to put pressure on the leadership to push for green economies. Nilsson also emphasised the need for sustained dialogue on the green economy.

She added that in Sweden, there was ongoing dialogue between suppliers and procurers of commodities for a 50% procurement threshold focusing on organic foods.

TawandaMuzamwese, Executive Director of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Zimbabwe (BCSDZ)said at the same forum that private sector in Zimbabwe was still facing challenges on greening initiatives but there were promising initiatives the organisation was working on.

Working with at least 60 companies in the private sector in Zimbabwe, BCSDZ is promoting the mainstreaming of sustainable development initiatives for local business.

“We are encouraging our member organisations and companies to adopt renewable energy for productive use for example through solar lighting and solar irrigation initiatives,” Muzamwese said.

He added that his organisation is also promoting industrial energy efficiency and environmental sound management of chemicals.Other initiatives include promoting the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) environmental management systems for companies to adopt. The organisation has also working on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiative supported by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) called the Green Industry Initiative to replace absolete technology of the 1950s in some of Zimbabwe’s companies. The idea is to establish new green industries also focusing on recycling initiatives.

Ronny Mbaisa, Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Sunshine Group which collaborates with environmentally conscious youths and has pioneered a number of community projects in the area of waste management said that his organisation was working on lobbying the government of Zimbabwe to formalise the recycling industry. They also plan to replicate the Swedish model of recycling drop-off centres and the Malmor waste to energy transfer centre following his recent exchange sharing visit to the country.

Ashok Chakravarti, Zimbabwe Country Coach, Ease of Doing Business programme, Office of the President and Cabinet said that there was a strong need for a favourable, enabling policy environment with proper regulations, taxes and incentives to create a green economy in Zimbabwe. He said that there was need to change some laws and regulations in the country to promote a green economy.Chakravarti said that the current economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, (ZIMASSET) being pursued by government and is coming to an end lacks green economy and sustainable development aspects and needs to be revisited.

 

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Former winners Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia lose at home
June 10, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Oluwashina Okeleji*

Tokelo Rantie put South Africa 1-0 up against Nigeria in Uyo

Tokelo Rantie put South Africa 1-0 up against Nigeria in Uyo

Former African champions Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Zambia all suffered home defeats on Saturday in their first group qualifiers for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Nigeria, who failed to qualify for the last two editions of the tournament, fell to their first competitive defeat to South Africa, losing 2-0 in Uyo in the Group E match.

Second-half goals from Tokelo Rantie and Percy Tau sealed a deserved win for Bafana Bafana against three-time African champions Nigeria.

Rantie opened the scoring with a brilliant close-range header in the 54th minute.

Tau broke free in a swift counter-attack, putting the ball around goalkeeper Daniel Akpeyi before slotting home in the 81st minute.

Nigeria fluffed chances in the first half as Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Simon Moses failed to score.

It was second time lucky for coach Stuart Baxter who was in charge when Bafana beat Nigeria 2-1 in the 2004 Nelson Mandela challenge at home.

Friday: Grp L: Cape Verde v Uganda (postponed to Sunday)
Grp A: Sudan 1-3 Madagascar Grp G: DR Congo 3-1 Congo
Grp E: Libya 5-1 Seychelles Grp I: Burkina Faso v Angola (1800)
Saturday: Grp C: Mali v Gabon (1900)
Grp B: Malawi 1-0 Comoros Grp A: Senegal v Equatorial Guinea (2000)
Grp C: Burundi 3-0 South Sudan Grp H: Ivory Coast 2-3 Guinea
Grp K: Zambia 0-1 Mozambique Sunday:
Grp I: Botswana 0-1 Mauritania Grp G: Zimbabwe v Liberia (1300)
Grp B: Cameroon 1-0 Morocco Grp H: CAR v Rwanda (1400)
Grp J: Niger 0-0 Swaziland Grp D: Benin v The Gambia (1500)
Grp K: Guinea-Bissau 1-0 Namibia Grp F: Ghana v Ethiopia (1530)
Grp E: Nigeria 0-2 South Africa Grp D: Algeria v Togo (2100)
Grp F: Sierra Leone 2-1 Kenya Grp J: Tunisia v Egypt (2200)
Grp L: Tanzania 1-1 Lesotho

The twelve group winners plus the best three group runners-up will qualify for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations along with the hosts Cameroon.

Seydou Doumbia’s brace was not enough for Ivory Coast as the Elephants were beaten 3-2 at home by Guinea in Group H.

Doumbia gave the home side a 15th minute lead, before Guinea equalised in the 32nd minute.

Naby Keita’s shot was spilled by goalkeeper Sylvain Gbohouo and Abdoulaye Sadio Diallo pounced on the rebound to put the visitors level.

Doumbia grabbed his second goal in the 62nd minute, but four minutes later France-based Francois Kamano made it 2-2.

However, the impressive Naby Keita sealed the stunning win for Guinea in the 79th minute to complete a bad start for new Ivory Coast manager Marc Wilmots.

The defeat for Ivory Coast in Bouake came just five days after the death of former Ivorian international Cheick Tiote.

In Ndola, former winners Zambia were left stunned by a late goal as they lost 1-0 to Mozambique at home in Group K.

Mozambique left it until the 89th minute to earn their first ever win over Chipolopolo with Germany-based Stanley Ratifo scoring the goal.

2012 African champions Zambia dominated the encounter for long spells but failed to turn their superiority into goals.

The Mambas made them pay for their profligacy when Ratifo finished brilliantly from a cut-back to stun the home side.

Elias Pelembe should have doubled the lead in added time but goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene rushed out of his box to stop the Bidvest Wits winger.

Coach Abel Xavier and the Mambas held on to celebrate a first triumph over Zambia in 18 attempts.

In the other Group K game, Guinea-Bissau beat visitors Namibia 1-0 thanks to a powerful header from Jerson in the 24th minute.

Veteran striker Aristide Bance scored twice as Burkina Faso beat Angola 3-1 in Group I.

 

Aristide Bance
Aristide Bance struck twice for Burkina Faso in their win over Angola.

Bance’s opening goal in the 22nd minute was quickly cancelled out by Gelson Dala a minute later.

Bance then restored the lead from the penalty spot just before half-time with Chelsea winger Betrand Traore scoring the third in the 79th minute.

Also in Group I, Mohamed Abdellahi Soudani’s second-half strike sealed a famous 1-0 win for Mauritania away to Botswana.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Gerald Phiri Junior scored the only goal as Malawi began their Group B campaign with a 1-0 home win over Comoros in Blantyre.

The South Africa-based winger hit a free-kick from outside the 18 yard box which flew over the wall and into the right corner on 31 minutes .

The flames had several chances but failed to punish a resolute Comoros.

It is a first competitive win for Malawi’s coach Ronny Van Geneugden who took over in April.

Malawi have taken an early advantage in the group after hosts Cameroon beat Herve Renard’s Morocco 1-0 in Yaounde.

Vincent Aboubakar
Vincent Aboubakar scored Cameroon’s only goal in their 1-0 win over Morocco

A 29th minute goal from Vincent Aboubakar gave the Indomitable Lions the victory which puts Morocco bottom of Group B after the opening round of matches.

Cameroon qualify automatically as hosts for the 2019 Nations Cup, but their group matches still count as qualifiers for their opponents.

After the victory, Cameroon’s coach Hugo Broos confirmed that defender Oyongo Bitolo would definitely miss the Fifa Confederations Cup later this month.

The player was stretchered off the pitch after suffering a knee ligament injury which Broos said would keep him out of the game for seven months.

Burundi began their 2019 Nations Cup campaign in triumphant fashion by beating South Sudan 3-0 in Group C on Saturday.

The Swallows secured all three points with first half goals.

Cedric Amissi set the tone with the opening goal in the 15th minute.

Gael Duhayinnavyi added the second ten minutes later before Fiston Abdul Razak made it three in the 30th minute.

Mali face Gabon later on Saturday in the other Group C match.

In Freetown, goals from Julius Woobay and and Umaru Bangura penalty helped Sierra Leone make a winning start to their Group F campaign as they beat Kenya 2-1.

Kenya had Brian Mandela sent off but they did get a consolation goal through Michael Olunga. Ghana take on Ethiopia in that group on Sunday.

Spain-based Cedric Bakambu grabbed a brace as DR Congo beat neighbours Congo Brazzaville 3-1 in Group G.

Bakambu scored opened the scoring in the 20th minute.

Thievy Bifouma equalised for the visitors on the stroke of half-time.

Bakambu grabbed his second after 56th minute before Newcastle defender Chancel Mbemba ensured victory in the 90th minute.

The Group L match between Cape Verde and Uganda – scheduled for Saturday – had to be postponed to Sunday after some members of Uganda’s squad were delayed in Dakar en route to Praia.

In the other Group L game Tanzania drew 1-1 with Lesotho in Dar es Salaam.

Mbwana Samata put Tanzania ahead with Thapelo Tale hitting the equaliser for the visitors.

On Friday, Libya and Madagascar opened the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with impressive victories.

Libya beat Seychelles 5-1 in Group A and in the first qualifier for Cameroon 2019, Madagascar were 3-1 winners away to Sudan in Al-Obeid in Group E.

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