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We Hope To Spark A Movement Around Entrepreneurship In Africa-Zahra Baitie
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

We hope to spark a movement around entrepreneurship in Africa so that an entire ecosystem of stakeholders work hand in hand to create new opportunities together,says Zahra Baitie.
We hope to spark a movement around entrepreneurship in Africa so that an entire ecosystem of stakeholders work hand in hand to create new opportunities together,says Zahra Baitie.

“Our hope is that in 10 years, we will have identified, spotlighted and supported 100 entrepreneur heroes from Africa whose stories will inspire the continent and beyond,” says Zahra Baitie, Partnerships & Program Manager of Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) at Jack Ma Foundation.

Discussing the ABH Awards with PAV, Zahra says in two years the sum of $2.5 million has been disbursed in grant funds to 20 inspiring African entrepreneur heroes from 11 countries.

With plans underway for additional funds on training, to developing a platform to connect the circa 30000 entrepreneurs who have applied to the program with each other as well as with investors, service providers and mentors, the ABH awards are on course to make a profoundly consequential impact on the development and economic landscape in Africa.

“We hope to spark a movement around entrepreneurship in Africa so that an entire ecosystem of stakeholders work hand in hand to create new opportunities together,” says Zahra Baitie

Thanks for accepting to grant this interview, could you start by introducing Jack Ma Foundation and the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) Awards for us?

It’s a pleasure – thank you for providing us the opportunity to introduce the Africa’s Business Heroes prize competition. The prize is the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship program in Africa and was launched in 2018 with the mission to spotlight entrepreneurs from across Africa to showcase their talent and businesses.

Every year, the competition identifies and awards grant funding to 10 entrepreneur heroes. Their stories and pitches are given a global platform in the finale, which is televised as the “Africa’s Business Heroes” Show and distributed across Africa via local and pan-African broadcasters such as StarTimes and DSTV and across the globe via YouTube & Youku. We hope this Show can serve as a learning opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs as they watch our top 10 pitch to legendary business leaders like Strive Masiyiwa and Ibukun Awosika first-hand.

Over the course of 10 years, we will recognize 100 outstanding African entrepreneurs and allocate US$100 million in grant funding, training programs, and support for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem. We are committed to give entrepreneurs across Africa a platform to develop their business ideas and inspire others to pursue entrepreneurship.

The ABH is in its second year now, may we know how much has gone out in prize money since its inception?

To date, we have disbursed $2.5 million in grant funds to 20 inspiring African entrepreneur heroes from 11 countries.

In our inaugural year, we awarded $1 million to our Top 10 Heroes. Following the success of our 2019 Grand Finale and ABH Show, we pledged additional funds to the ABH program bringing the total size of our fund to $100 million and increased the yearly prize pool for the Top 10 from $1 million to $1.5 million. Now, the 1st Place Hero wins a $300,000 grant; the 2nd place Hero wins $250,000, the third place Hero wins a $150,000 all other 7 Heroes gain a $100,000 in grant funds.

In addition, we will be investing additional funds on training for entrepreneurs and developing a platform to connect the ~30,000 entrepreneurs who have applied to our program to each other as well as to investors, service providers and mentors. We hope to spark a movement around entrepreneurship in Africa so that an entire ecosystem of stakeholders work hand in hand to create new opportunities together.

Can you walk us through what a typical selection process looks like, Africa has 54 countries, and how is the process carried out in a way that it reaches the length and breadth of the continent in a manner that is equitable?

Our judging process is comprised of 4 stages and is deliberately rigorous to ensure both fairness and quality in our assessment process. Round 1 is an online assessment of the written applications, from which we select our Top 50 finalists. In Round 2, our Top 50 finalists undergo in-depth online video call interviews with our judges who then determine our Top 20 finalists. Our Top 20 finalists subsequently undergo a due diligence process by Pricewaterhouse Coopers before proceeding to our Semi-Finale pitches where they pitch a 7-person panel comprised of industry leaders, investors and renowned entrepreneurs. This panel then identifies our Top 10 Heroes who go on to the Grand Finale.

Importantly, at every stage we work with our network of over 150 judges from across the globe and a range of industries to assess applicants with a scoring rubric, which allows for a standardized assessment process. We also ensure that in the earlier stages of the judging process, we match candidates to judges based on industry alignment and geographical relevance to ensure that local contexts are factored into the assessment process.

May we know the judges who made the final selection for this and are they the same each year or the Foundation appoints different members of the panel?

Our Grand Finale judging panel consists of global business legends who provide our finalists insightful feedback and ask them provoking questions. While the line-up may alternate throughout the years, the panel will always be comprised of renowned business leaders. In our 2020 edition, our Grand Finale judging panel consisted of:

  • Strive Masiyiwa – Founder & Chairman of Econet Group
  • Madam Ibukun Awosika – Chairwoman of the First Bank of Nigeria Limited & CEO of the Chair Centre group.
  • Joe Tsai – Executive Vice Chairman, Alibaba Group
  • Lucy Peng – Co-Founder & Partner of Alibaba Group and Executive Chairwoman of Lazada Group

What other follow up is done by the Foundation to support winners of the ABH awards in their entrepreneurial growth?

The ABH journey does not end at the Grand Finale or the moment we hand over the cheques. We work closely with the winners as they continue to grow and find success, and the program continues to run training, education and networking opportunities beyond the finale.

 Part of this means hosting regular community check-ins with our finalists to facilitate greater collaboration. As a result of the prize, we’ve already seen our heroes build partnerships and cooperation with each other across different markets. For example, two heroes from 2019, Kevine Kagrimpindu of Uzuri K&Y and Moulaye Taboure of Afrikrea worked together to launch an online store for Uzuri K&Y on Afrikrea, expanding her reach across the globe.

The program also provides learning opportunities via the Alibaba e-founders fellowship course, which several of our Heroes have indicated has been pivotal to their business development. Beyond this, we also look to provide our finalists with a spotlight to ensure their stories are spotlighted and shared with global audiences. Lastly, we also aim to connect our finalists with investors where possible and have already made promising introductions between our finalists and Venture Capital firms. We look to do more of this in the years to come especially as we develop an online platform to bring different stakeholders together.

The second year of the awards coincided as well with the shock of COVID 19, how did this affect the smooth functioning of the ABH?

The COVID-19 pandemic threw us some challenges but also presented novel opportunities to us. It forced us to go fully digital. For example, we had to pivot from a physical roadshow across a few African countries to a completely online launch.

With this online launch we were able to engage with over 4,000 entrepreneurs from across Africa. We also had to transition from an in-person Semi-Finale and Grand Finale to create online experiences that were rich and dynamic. Our Grand Finale connected 13 locations from around the world. We also created in-country studios and leveraged a custom-built platform on DingTalk to ensure that the experience went beyond your regular online event.

What kind of change does the Jack Ma Foundation hope to see in Africa after ten years that the Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) is designed for?

Our hope is that in 10 years, we will have identified, spotlighted and supported 100 entrepreneur heroes from Africa – heroes whose stories will inspire the continent and beyond. We hope to create a network of changemakers who can inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs to make a difference in their local communities and are working to solve the most pressing problems, as well as building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. Ultimately, we hope to see these Heroes working together to create pan-African solutions and digital ecosystems that help Africa to chart a new path and circumvent some of the development challenges it faces.

In two years the sum of $2.5 million has been disbursed in grant funds to 20 inspiring African entrepreneur heroes from 11 countries, says Zahra
In two years the sum of $2.5 million has been disbursed in grant funds to 20 inspiring African entrepreneur heroes from 11 countries, says Zahra

May we know the kind of feedback the Foundation has received and cooperation it is getting from African countries?

We are encouraged to have received widespread support from across Africa. Firstly, we received applications from all 54 African countries. Secondly, we are very grateful to have received support from various heads of state and governments from across Africa from our inception to now including Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Senegal, and the Ivory Coast.

For those who read this interview and hear about the ABH for the first time, how can they try their luck, any information available on the third edition?

We welcome African entrepreneurs from all sectors that have businesses that are at least 3 years old and legally registered to try their luck! As one our Semi-Finale judges said at our 2020 Launch, “fortune favors the bold.”

We want to make sure the prize is as inclusive as possible, and applications will be open in English as well as French to African entrepreneurs regardless of sector, age or gender. Aspiring applicants can visit our website: africabusinessheroes.org and our social media accounts: @africa_heroes (Twitter) & @africabusinessheroes (Instagram, Facebook & LinkedIn) for information and to sign up to receive updates.

We will launch our 2021 applications in March, and we’ll notify all subscribers to our newsletter and our social media accounts once it opens. In the meantime, I encourage all interested applicants to learn about our past Heroes on our website and social media accounts to gain inspiration.

*Culled From February Issue of PAV Magazine

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A Lifeline for African Entrepreneurs from the Jack Ma Foundation ABH Awards
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

For a continent full of potentials but limited in opportunities, the African Business Heroes -ABH prize competition and show organized by the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), the Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa, is proving to be a veritable lifeline for many Africans.

With the aim of identifying, supporting and inspiring the next generation of African entrepreneurs making a difference in their community, the ABH awards have generated tremendous excitement across the continent.  From $1 million in the inaugural edition in 2019, the laureates of the second edition in 2020 shared a total of $1.5 million in prize money.

Open to entrepreneurs across all sectors and African countries, the ABH awards have a special focus on those building up their local communities and working to solve the most pressing problems.

From three different countries, in three different regions, two females and one male, with projects ranging from renewable energy, health and micro finances, the top three laureates of the second edition sum up the challenges and hopes of a continent on the move.

PAV revisits the 2020 edition with exclusive interviews of Zahra Baitie Partnerships & Program Manager, Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) at the Jack Ma Foundation, winner of the Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) 2020 Awards  Chebet Lesan from Kenya, 1st Runner Up Oluwasoga Oni from Nigeria, and Ethel Mupambwa 2nd Runner up from Zimbabwe..

*Culled From February Issue of PAV Magazine

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British journalist Tom Bowker expelled from Mozambique, CPJ condemns
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

British journalist Tom Bowker, who edits the Zitamar portal, was this Tuesday expelled from Mozambique, following an order issued by the interior minister, after Zitamar News was deemed “non-existent” by Mozambican authorities, he announced.

Tom Bowker, his wife and their two children left Maputo for London, after being taken to Maputo International Airport by two agents from the National Migration Service (SENAMI).

” I am, yes, complying  with the expulsion order and I cannot return [to Mozambique] before 10 years,” Bowker told reporters at the entrance of Maputo International Airport.

The journalist said that he will try, through legal means, to change the decision to expel him from Mozambique.

Bowker’s first expulsion order was made orally at a meeting to which he was summoned at SENAMI’s Maputo office at the end of last month, but the official decision followed. It  came through an order signed by Interior Minister Amade Miquidade, declared the journalist.

The Zitamar editor added that the interior minister used the arguments presented in a “clarification note” by the Information Office (GABINFO), a Mozambican state entity that regulates the media in the country.

In the note, GABINFO described “irregularities” that led it to request Bowker for “the return of the accreditation card as a foreign journalist,” a decision “with the due legal consequences”.

GABINFO considered that, from the point of view of documentary records, the Zitamar portal “is non-existent, both in England and in Mozambique”, adding that the link between the latter and the firm with the same name on British soil remains to be proved.

“Zitamar News is an online publication based in Maputo, specialising in information services about Mozambique, whose contents are managed and broadcast by Thomas Andrew Bowker, from Maputo”, but without “elements of legality” that frame it either ” as a national media outlet “or as” an international news agency, “GABINFO concluded.

The subscription portal Zitamar News, written in English, follows Mozambican news, especially in the economic area, and in the last year has gained notoriety for covering the armed insurgency in Cabo Delgado, in the north of the country.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said yesterday that Mozambican authorities should reverse their decision to expel journalist Tom Bowker and allow him to work freely in the country.

“Mozambique’s expulsion and banning of journalist Tom Bowker sends a chilling message to the media community in the country,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator. “Journalists in Mozambique, especially those covering the conflict in Cabo Delgado, have been arrested, harassed, or have gone missing. Bowker’s expulsion is another example of the lengths the government will go to control reporting in Mozambique.”

In April 2020, CPJ and 16 other civil society groups wrote to Mozambique’s President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi to express concern about the human rights situation in the country, including the enforced disappearance of radio journalist Ibraimo Abú Mbaruco. Mbaruco was last heard from earlier that month when he sent a text message to a colleague saying he was “surrounded by soldiers,” CPJ documented at the time.

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Sofapaka to sign one player before the transfer window deadline
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa
Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa

Kenyan Premier League side Sofapaka FC will sign one local player before the transfer window shuts, announced the club.

The 2009 champions are bolstering their squad following the poor start to the season.

Sofapaka President Elly Kalekwa said they have wrapped-up their transfer business for foreign players after attaining the set quota of five.

Batoto Ba Mungu recently completed the signing of Burundian midfielder Bizimana Amissi and goalkeeper Abdoul-Moubarak Aigba.

Amisi turned out for Rukinzu FC, and Moubarak joined from AS OTR Football Club in Togo. They signed a two-year deal each.

Burundian David Nshimirimana had also joined Ken Odhiambo charges.

“We have now closed our business to sign foreign players because we have reached the required quota, we already had two in our squad, and since none of them is going out, we are done with the business,” said Kalekwa.

At the beginning of this month, Sofapaka released seven players deemed surplus to the requirements.

Those axed included Nigerian duo Promise Chinonso and Michael Karamor, Ghanian import Jedinak Nana, goalkeeper Isaiah Wakasala, defender Faina Jacobs, midfielder David Simiyu and Bryson Juma.

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Safaricom in bid to enter the Ethiopian market
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Safaricom has stepped up its effort to join Ethiopia’s market as the Ethiopian government tries to end monopoly in the communication sector and liberalize the country’s economy.

Ethiopia’s telecom sector transformation has Ethio Telecom, the leading supplier of telecom services in the country, and the Ethiopian Communication Authority (ECA).

The firm is among the six companies that have been shortlisted from the 12 that had expressed interest in entering the Ethiopian market by the authority.

The companies were invited to buy a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom as part of Ethiopia’s homegrown economic reform agenda launched in 2019.

ECA is seeking to award two foreign companies telecommunication licenses to operate within the country.

In partnership with Vodafone Group Plc and Vodacom Group Limited, the telco expressed its interest to join Ethiopia’s vast market. The three firms signed a deal to borrow up to Sh500 million (US$55.7 billion) from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) for the project, which is expected to top the Sh111 billion mark.

“There are about five to six consortia who are qualified to bid. Bids are due to be submitted in April. We are working towards the final submission around March/April,” said Safaricom Chairman Michael Joseph.

Safaricom stated that they are ready to adhere to the Ethiopian government’s conditions to have access to Ethiopia’s huge population, which is about 110 million.

Other firms that had expressed interest are Etisalat, Axian, MTN, Orange, Saudi Telecom Company, Telkom SA, Liquid Telecom, Snail Mobile, and the two non-telecom operators, Kandu Global Telecommunications and Electromecha International Projects.

The Ethiopian Communications Authority has not disclosed the names of the shortlisted companies.

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Ten shortlisted for Kenya’s Chief Justice post
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Justice William Ouko is one of the shortlisted candidates
Justice William Ouko is one of the shortlisted candidates

Kenya’s Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has invited the public to give their views on ten candidates shortlisted for Chief Justice (CJ).

The commission, which is mandated to recruit a CJ and all judicial officials, said Kenyans have, up to March 3, 2021, to submit their views ahead of the candidates’ interviews in April.

Those shortlisted are Justice Said Chitembwe, Prof Patricia Mbote, Justice Martha Koome, Justice Marete Njagi, Philip Murgor, Justice Nduma Nderi, Fred Ngatia, Justice William Ouko, Dr. Wekesa Moni, and Alice Yano.

According to the JSC, nine others will also be interviewed for the position.

Thirteen applicants had sent their applications, and only ten were shortlisted for the Supreme Court judge’s position.

The post fell vacant following the retirement of the former officeholder Justice David Maraga.

Maraga retired early this year after turning 70 under Article 167(1) and 167(2) of the Constitution of Kenya.

The act states that an individual shall retire from the Office of the Chief Justice after serving for ten years or reaching 70, whichever comes first.

He was appointed Kenya’s 16th Chief Justice following the voluntary early retirement by his predecessor Dr. Willy Mutunga in 2016.

JSC is also seeking to fill the Supreme Court of Kenya (SCOK) left by Justice Jackton Ojwang.

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Safaricom’s network is the best for data and calls
February 18, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa
Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa

Umlaut has ranked the Safaricom’s network the best for Data and Calls in Kenya.

The East African telecommunication giant beat Telkom and Airtel for the fourth year in a row in “Drive Tests” conducted by umlaut across different country locations to assess the various mobile networks for call and data performance.

Through the “Drive Tests”, umlaut discovered Safaricom is the only mobile operator that has deployed Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services across the East African nation.

In the tests, the telco attained average download speeds up to 58.5 Megabits per second (Mbps) and average upload speeds up to 36.4 Mbps.

Safaricom got High Definition voice quality calls across its network with call set up of less than 2 seconds for calls.

“Congratulations to Safaricom for achieving the best user experience in Kenya. On top Safaricom shows the best data and voice user quality and performance. This is remarkable in these challenging COVID-19 times!” said Hakan Ekmen, CEO Telecommunication at umlaut.

The tests further indicated that VoLTE deployment, which accounts for more than 90% of Safaricom’s network, helps customers make calls and enjoy 4G data speeds simultaneously.

Safaricom’s top performance in mobile data is attributed to its deployment of 4G Carrier Aggregation which enables it to combine its 4G bandwidth on both the 1800 and 800 frequency bands.

Ecstatic Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said they are committed to providing the best services to their customers.

“It is an honour to yet again be ranked ‘Best in Test’ for the fourth year in umlaut’s independent network tests. Our exceptional network performance is proof of our commitment to provide our customers with the best technology and connectivity wherever they are in the country, empowering them to access life-changing opportunities,” reiterated Ndegwa. 

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Access to Information and Freedom of Information in Sierra Leone
February 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By: Ishmael Salieu Koroma*

Chairman of the Independent Media Commission, George S. Khoryama
Chairman of the Independent Media Commission, George S. Khoryama

Recommendation 226 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (Freedom of Information) observed that ‘’Access to information is an important tool for public oversight. If citizens are able to scrutinize government information, they can discipline public officials at the ballot box. They can also use the use the information for legal challenges and the lobbying of decision makers.’’ 

To demonstrate its commitment to the democratization agenda, Sierra Leone passed the Right to Access Information (RAI) Act in 2013. The Act guarantees access to government information and also imposes a penalty on failure to make information available.

Sierra Leone was engulfed in a destructive civil war between 1991 and 2002. The civil war was partly caused by the non-accountability of the government, endemic corruption, misrule and the mismanagement of the country’s resources. Efforts have been made by the country, with the help of the international community, to embrace a democratic dispensation. To demonstrate its commitment to the democratization agenda, Sierra Leone passed the Right to Access Information (RAI) Act in 2013. The Act guarantees access to government information and also imposes a penalty on failure to make information available. However, Sierra Leone’s state institutions are still weak due to mismanagement and lack of transparency and accountability.

Freedom of expression and access to information are cornerstones of modern democracies. Public information/records are a means of power that governments and other political institutions use to exercise control over citizens, but are also a means of citizens’ empowerment. Through access to government information/records, media can play their watchdog role and people can assess the performance of governments and hold them accountable. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate the fact that it is not enough to enact freedom of information laws (FOIs) if there is no political will to make government information accessible, an information management infrastructure to facilitate the creation, capture, management, dissemination, preservation and re-use of government information and investments in civil education to promote an information culture that appreciates information as a resource that underpins accountability and transparency.

The Government of Sierra Leone understands that freedom of information is an indispensable part of democratic societies. With the passing of this law, access to information and open data offers its citizenry the opportunity to critically evaluate authorities appointed and elected to account for their stewardship.

The establishment of the Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC) in 2014 generated a lot of interest from the demand side of the process, namely, citizens (disabled, women, and youth, as well as civil society organizations) and development partners who remain concerned about getting access to vital information as a way to effectively manage corruption and promote service delivery.

Chairman of the Right to Access Information Commission (RAIC), Dr. Ibrahim Seaga Shaw disclosed that the RAIC Act came into existence in 2013, being an Act to provide for the disclosure of information held by public authorities or by persons providing services for them and to provide for other related matters. He added that the Commission has a clear mandate to make information available to the masses by increasing the supply of open data to a possible extent.

The Chairman furthered that in a similar manner RAIC is poised to improve on data accessibility by the masses and to make them aware of what rights they have in gaining such access to information stating that it is against such a backdrop that they decided to organize such a workshop for journalists as they are very key in terms of proactive disclosure of information by public authorities.

Chairman of the Independent Media Commission, George S. Khoryama, said that the training was timely as it came in the wake of the Repeal of Part V of the Criminal Libel Law and the enactment into law of the new IMC Act 2020, adding that the IMC, as the regulator of the Media, is now more pre-occupied with the prospect of a responsible Press.

George S. Khoryama pointed out that the training of such a nature is very important in fulfilling the expectations of the new IMC Act 2020 and the Media Code of Practice.

“Until you travel that is when you could realize that media institutions in this country are poor. The media is poor financially, professionally, technically and ethically and only a training of this sort could help to mitigate the militating effects on media growth,” he opined.

There are mixed feelings from among members of the journalism community as to whether there is freedom of information in Sierra Leone. President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla believes that ‘’we have been given the opportunity to practice our trade, but we must do so responsibly and professionally too.’’ Musa S. Kamara is a journalist that works with Radio Democracy, 98.FM in Freetown. To him, ‘’freedom of information is not absolute because there are top state officials that will just not talk to journalists.’’

In all of this, it will depend on who one talks to, but the fact that there is need for freedom of information and the press in the 21st century should not be overstated.

*This article is produced with support from MRCG through the ATJLF project on “Engaging the media to change the narrative on Transitional Justice (TJ) issues in Sierra Leone.

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Misa-Zimbabwe calls for inclusion of Journalists in COVID-19 vaccination priority roll-out
February 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Harare,Zimbabwe-MISA Zimbabwe has called upon the government to prioritise and also include journalists among the first priority groups listed for the COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme.

“Our request is informed by the fact that the media was declared an essential service in terms of Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 regulations,” MISA-Zimbabwe said.

 The media watchdog organization said that Journalists, together with other essential priority groups, are frontline workers that need to be prioritised as well given the critical role they play in keeping the nation informed on developments and measures the government is taking to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

 “In any case, the media, by virtue of its fundamental and normative role of informing and educating, is key to the coverage of the immunisation rollout,” MISA-Zimbabwe said.

 It added that the media can, therefore, not be left out for later consideration as journalists will be reporting from the frontline as the country rolls out immunisation of the essential groups identified to receive the first jabs.

 The organization added that the government can work closely with the Zimbabwe Media Commission, media houses and media representative organisations on how best to implement the immunisation for journalists as they are a critical component of the sectors and groups that have been declared essential services.

 They said that Journalists are frontline workers that risk their lives as they collect and disseminate information hence the need to prioritise their health and safety.

 MISA-Zimbabwe added that lessons can be drawn from Zambia, which through its Ministry of Health, recently announced that journalists would be among the first recipients of the COVID-19 vaccines when they arrive in that country.

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Zambians Take Heed to Responsible Drinking Pledge
February 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

Lusaka Zambia   -In an orchestrated move to call for responsible behavior, Zambian Breweries has intensified # Responsible Together Campaign which was launched in September 2020. The # Responsible Together Pledge has so far reached 60,000 people of which 12,524 have responded through social media ‘

The campaign according to Zambian Breweries Country Director Jose Moran as posted by Langmead and Baker a Communication to this media house is meant to stem out un-responsible drinking and bring sanity and order, thereby promoting and supporting smart drinking habits.

The campaign is a full package of awareness and information to educate consumers about the need to be responsible with beer drinking especially during this covid-19- era. This stamps out ills of drinking which exacerbates and fuel gender-based violence and violence among youth which is said to be rife in Zambia.

The campaign launch is cultivating a culture of responsible drinking and avoiding excessive drinking habits which cause sundry abuses in public places. The pledge brings sanity to communities, creating a peaceful and environment of order and tranquility. In the posted news release Jose Moran notes that the campaign is changing the way consumers think by cultivating positive responsible drinking culture and behavior especially during covid-19 time.

‘’Responsible Together Campaign is changing way consumers think by cultivating positive responsible drinking culture and behavior especially in covid-19 times that avoids excess drinking and abuse.

‘’We are thrilled to see how people are coming out to pledge for smart drinking community. Zambia Breweries is committed to making communities safe for everyone and free of vices such as underage drinking, binge drinking and gender-based violence’’.

As part of smart drinking principle, Zambian Breweries collaborates with various partners, influencers, regulators to reach wide community that includes Government, Lusaka City council, Ndola City Council, Road Transport Safety Agency [RTSA Football Associations and celebrities.

The campaign runs under covid-19 guidelines. It is harnessed on On-Line platforms to engage with the public, share messages, videos, posters, digital space reaching 30,000 people. Alcohol abuse is rife in Zambia especially in un-planned settlements in Lusaka and Copperbelt. This is why Zambian Breweries is taking the step to bring awareness and educate communities at large.

Jose Moran adds that as leaders in the sector they have taken steps to reach out to communities in order to educate and bring awareness to people about the dangers at the same time coming out with solutions to problems and challenges that must be addressed.

‘’As leaders in alcohol sector, we have taken steps to reach out to communities, educate and create awareness on the dangers and also to come out with solutions. We want everybody to come on board. Alcohol affects community, It has negative effects in our community.’’

Jose expands that through engagements they have been able to create open space for conversations. He explains that they have been able to make huge difference in short-time. The campaign in the last three months has shown that through engagement and awareness they create better solutions, remove bad vices in the manner people socialize and drink alcohol.

‘’Through engagement and creating open conversations, we have been able to make difference in short-time. The #Responsible Together Campaign in the last 3 months has shown us through engagement and awareness, we create better solutions, remove bad vices in the manner we socialize and drink alcohol ‘’ Jose concludes.

He thanked media for creating awareness and education disseminated to the general public especially youth on the dangers of beer that is related to kachasu , junta and tujijiji that is rife in Zambia . He advocates for a health community and a responsible nation.

Zambian Breweries belongs to Anheuser-Busch In-Bev [AB-In-Bev] the largest in the World. It consists of 400 beer brands with 200,000 employees in 50 countries. It is also the largest bottlers of soft drinks. ZB was established in 1968. It is a bottling company of clear beers such as Mosi Larger, Castle Larger, Carling black label, , Eagle beer and Stella Artois and Budweiser .

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SADC summit terrorists attacks in Mozambique postponed to May or June
February 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

President Nyusi is having a hard time containing terrorist attacks
President Nyusi is having a hard time containing terrorist attacks

The extraordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), to discuss the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique, has been postponed to May or June.

The summit was originally planned to take place in Maputo in January, but was postponed first to March, and then to May or June, because of the worsening covid-19 pandemic in the region.

Pan African Visions has learned that the summit could take place in a virtual format if the pandemic worsens.

The attacks are also impacting conscription in Cabo Delgado. The Mozambican military has met less than half of its target for conscription in the province, which an official has blamed on the displacement of people due to the attacks.

There have been 6,294 young people conscripted out of an expected 14,952 with only two weeks left for the end of the conscription process that started on 4 January 2021.

Foncina Búfalo, provincial delegate for the military recruitment and mobilisation centre, said that it was related to people abandoning their homes in the districts of Mocímboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Quissanga and Macomia, and the delay in resuming classes, as many young people were found by the military in schools.

Búfalo said that registration brigades had been sent to the accommodation centres for refugees, but even so there were difficulties in registering young people, because they said they had lost their documents when fleeing from terrorists, and the system did not allow registration without ID. She added that school classes will resume in March, but military conscription was ending at the end of this month.

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Ethiopia is Waxing Strong in the Face of Multiple Challenges-Ambassador Arega
February 16, 2021 | 10 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

No country in the world would have tolerated the provocation and heinous actions of the TPLF says Ambassador Arega in defence of the response of Ethiopia to crisis in Tigray
No country in the world would have tolerated the provocation and heinous actions of the TPLF says Ambassador Arega in defence of the response of Ethiopia to crisis in Tigray

Ethiopia’s envoy to the USA Ambassador Fitsum Arega says that amidst multiple challenges, the country is waxing strong. Speaking in an exclusive zoom interview with PAV, Ambassador Arega says doomsday scenarios painted about his country in some media circles do not reflect the realities on the ground.

Defending the response of Prime Minister Abiy’s government to the crisis in Tigray, Ambassador Arega says that no country in the world would have tolerated the provocation and heinous actions of the TPLF. Ambassador Arega laments the humanitarian challenge that the war has brought but is quick to say his government is doing its level best and working in collaboration with international partners to ensure that aid is brought to the people in need and normalcy returns to the region.

On the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ambassador Arega said it is a public and not a government project with some five billion dollars fully funded by Ethiopians in the country and the Diaspora in the form of donations and bonds matched by the government. Ambassador Arega said his country has been forthcoming in sharing all progress and developments on the construction of the dam with Sudan and Egypt and any scepticism is uncalled for.

While relations between the USA and Ethiopia may have been ruffled due to bias in favour of Egypt by the previous administration, Ambassador Arega said he is optimistic on prospects of stronger bonds of cooperation with the Biden administration.

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, Ambassador Arega said his Embassy remains open and he has been working hand in glove with the dynamic Ethiopian diaspora to support recovery efforts back home. In the interview which also covers the upcoming elections, investment opportunities, and changes in the country since Prime Minister Abiy took office, Ambassador Arega shared reassuring perspectives on his country. Prime Minister Abiy has inspired millions since he came to office and reforms are still ongoing, Ambassador Arega said.

Pan African Visions: May we start with how Ethiopia is doing politically, economically and socially?

Ambassador Arega: Ethiopia has been doing very well before COVID-19 in terms of economic growth but there were serious concerns on political inclusion. Since the pandemic, Ethiopia is one of the least affected. So far more than 2 million people got tested of which 147,000 tested positive and fortunately 129,000 recovered with some 16,700 active cases. It is however sad that around 2,200 people died.

Due to the international lockdowns, trade disruptions, logistics and tourism challenges, the economy has been affected. Since Ethiopia’s economy is predominantly agricultural and the rural areas are less affected, our economic performance is still one of the strongest in Africa; last year, ending June 30, 2020 the GDP growth was 6.1%.

In terms of political stability, for over four years prior to Prime Minister Abiy assumed power there was mounting public pressure for change. As a result Prime Minister Abiy was elected as chairman of the governing party and the Prime Minister. Following his acceptance speech, hope sweep throughout the country, and in the region.

In the first few days the Prime Minister announced forgiveness, peace and unity as his central pillars for his reforms. As part of the reforms political prisoners were released, politicians and media in exile were invited into the country, state of emergency was lifted, banned media were allowed, judicial and security institutions were declared independent and the healing process was going very well with the exception of some challenges in between and the major road block coming from the TPLF, which led to the November 4, 2020 provocation and act of treason committed on the Northern command of the Federal Army.

Pan African Visions: We will get to the specifics of the conflict in a moment but let’s talk about your current functions. You have been Ambassador for a couple of years now, what is the state of ties between Washington and Addis Ababa?

Ambassador Arega: The diplomatic relations have been essentially old, to be exact one hundred and seventeen years, and last year was one of the challenging years due to President Trump’s invitation for the three countries to negotiate on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. That did not work out the way we all wanted. It was not impartial; unacceptable proposal was coming from Egypt that was also supported by the then U.S. Administration. We all welcomed Washington as an observer, but the Treasury Department went on influencing in favour of Egypt. Except this incident our relation has been in good terms. Now, the relations are getting much better.

Bias from the Trump administration in support of Egypt did not help relations between the USA and Ethiopia says Ambassador Arega
Bias from the Trump administration in support of Egypt did not help relations between the USA and Ethiopia says Ambassador Arega

Pan African Visions: Last year, the US suspended some aid to your country. Now, with a new administration, what efforts are being made to make sure these measures are lifted?

Ambassador Arega: The new administration is just taking shape. They have not even appointed some members of the administration. We have started contacting the relevant institutions and we are optimist that things will get better. High-level contacts have been made. We’ll be working hard to improve our relations. We are optimist that the assistance suspended on the basis of Ethiopia’s Dam will be released and also trade and investment between the two countries will increase.

Pan African Visions: The main development in the country is the conflict in the Tigray region. What is the situation there at the moment and can you give us a little background as to how things evolved to where they are today?

Ambassador Arega: As a background, when Prime Minister Abiy started sweeping political reform both in terms of widening the political space, welcoming opposition parties as well as party level reforms and when introducing economic reforms with the aim of macroeconomic stability and realigning the focus from public led to private sector led, he faced resistance from the TPLF party, the governing party of the Tigray region which directly and indirectly led the country for 27 years. The resistance grew when the election was postponed due to covid-19 reason, as per the constitution.     

However, PM Abiy tried his best to peacefully resolve the tensions through dialogue, sending elders and community leaders to the Tigray region. In the meantime, ethnically and religious motivated displacements and killings were observed in different parts of the country. Then on November 4, 2020 Tigray regional forces and some federal army members of Tigrean origin the defected from the federal army launched a coordinated attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Army in many military bases while they were not expecting at all. They then looted the command’s military equipment, artillery, detained and killed many in horrific situation. They admitted on their media saying they took thunder like action as pre-emptive attack.

The Ethiopian government had no option but to counter and launch a low enforcement operation. This is unacceptable act that no country on earth tolerates. So, the attack was heinous crime and we believe the international community would understand the situation.

You can compare what happened in the Washington insurrection, but this is more than that. It is a treasonous act. That’s how it evolved. During the law-enforcement operation, it took three weeks to control the capital of the Region (Mekelle) and after that, the operation was conducted to capture the fugitives, to bring them to justice.

There were close to 1.6 million people in the safety-net program that needed food aid on a regular basis before the conflict. An additional 900,000 people were added to this and after the conflict it became 2.5 million people. The federal government and the newly established provisional government in the Tigray have been partnering with international agencies to provide food and medicine to the needy.

When the TPLF forces flee away they dismantled infrastructure like bridges, telecom, power, airports etc so that the government forces won’t advance.

Now, the government is tasked with maintaining all these on top of the relief and rehabilitation activities and to date telecom and power has been restored in many cities and villages; airports have been maintained, temporary bridges have been installed so that humanitarian work can continue. There has been misinformation regarding the humanitarian activities, and this is not fair. We believe the truth will prevail.  

Pan African Visions: To push back on what you described as negative news, Prime Minister Abiy won the Nobel Peace Prize and opinions have been divided. What did his government do to peacefully resolve this conflict before taking on a full-scale battle?

Ambassador Arega: it is unwise to think a Prime Minister who won a Nobel Peace Prize would not defend its country when an act of treason is committed; this is unacceptable. We can compare this with Washington when Capitol Hill was swamped by some violent demonstrators breaking the building, looting or destroying document. This was insurrection. As a result, impeachment law was invoked, perpetrators were brought to justice and the process is still continuing. What TPLF has done is more than that.

Pan African Visions: And what is your response to human rights groups and others who think in the course of trying to resolve the crisis there has been a heavy toll on innocent civilians?

Ambassador Arega: First of all, the government has made many attempts to avoid the confrontation, by sending elders, community leaders, etc. When that didn’t work after the attack the countering law enforcement operation was conducted with at most care, with calls to surrender in between the operations, to give the TPLF wanted fugitives an opportunity and minimize casualty.

There are human rights groups that escalated estimates of the casualties, refugees to Sudan, internally displaced people, people who need aid. They speculate or report based on unfounded, unconfirmed, unverified or anonymous sources.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission investigated Mai-Kadra, where hundreds of people were massacred while the village was under the effective administration of the TPLF. This is crime against humanity. We are open for investigation and there are also visits going on by various groups.

Since Prime Minister Abiy came to power, he has inspired millions and reforms are still alive, says Ambassador Arega
Since Prime Minister Abiy came to power, he has inspired millions and reforms are still alive, says Ambassador Arega

Pan African Visions: Prime Minister Abiy came to power with a reform-minded agenda. What will you say has changed in Ethiopia under his leadership?

Ambassador Arega: Since he came to power, he inspired millions and reforms are still alive. In terms of political space, now I do not know any opposition that is in exile. This was unthinkable in the past. In terms of the economy, the PM introduced what we call Home-Grown Economic Reform programme which has the agenda of sustaining the economy by way of empowering the private sector.

Improving the macroeconomic imbalances through dept management and restructuring, privatization of state-owned enterprises, including telecom, sugar industries, etc.

The major challenge so far and going forward is the impact of COVID-19 in the economy. When you talk about tourism, import-export, mining, and other industries, unless the ban on international travel is lifted, it will continue to be challenging.

So, we are focusing on agriculture and other resilient sectors. Ethiopian Airlines has been adjusting and is doing its best in COVID-19 related cargo operations. The airline has been instrumental in distributing PPEs to many African countries.

Pan African Visions: With regards to the election that will be coming up later in the year, how equipped and strong are the institutions in Ethiopia to ensure that there will be free, fair, and acceptable to all the parties?

Ambassador Arega: The Ethiopian Election Board, the main body established to conduct election and other institutions with judicial and executive power have gone through reforms and training with the aim of conducting free, fair and acceptable election. The election is scheduled for June 5, 2021 and the preparations so far as expressed by some members of the opposition parties is encouraging.  

Pan African Visions: The construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam has created a lot of tensions with neighbouring countries like Egypt and Sudan. May we know why your country attaches so much importance to the project?

Ambassador Arega: The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is fully financed by Ethiopians, no loan or grant from overseas. About 5 billion US dollars have been raised by Ethiopians at home and in the Diaspora and matched by the government. We have done all the necessary studies and executed accordingly through professional support. We also involved international panel of experts to advise the three countries on their best scenarios. We also shared all required information to Sudan and Egypt.

Ethiopia is willing to negotiate in good faith with the objective of win-win cooperation. We are saying let us negotiate on the basis of the Declaration of Principles signed by the leaders of the three countries in December 2015. Therefore, the negotiation should be on the filling of the dam and the operation. However, Egypt wants to focus on water allocation with the hope to maintain what they call the “historical water rights”.  

With regards to the water allocation, we have another platform, the Nile Basin Initiative which includes all the countries of the Nile. Ethiopia cannot bring the agenda of Nile Basin Initiative to the tripartite negotiation.

Ethiopia is contributing 86% to the Nile but utilizing close to zero. The Grand Renaissance Dam is not a water-consuming project. It is for generating electric power, for generation the water needs to hit the turbines and flow to downstream countries, Sudan and Egypt.

Ethiopia is more than ready to negotiate in good faith. We believe the best way to reach an agreement is to refer it to the scientific experts of the three countries. The issue is technical, and it is important not to fix technical issues by politicians, which is the case now. What should dictate us is the fact on the ground, the availability of enough water. This was the case last year and our first filling did not harm anyone in the downstream.

Ambassador Arega has been working hard with the diaspora to complement development efforts in Ethiopia.
Ambassador Arega has been working hard with the diaspora to complement development efforts in Ethiopia.

Pan African Visions: To American and other investors out there who are curious about Ethiopia, what opportunities are available today and how is the investment climate?

Ambassador Arega: At present, the main challenge to attract investment in any country is COVID-19, though there are some exceptional sectors like ICT where it is even more attractive during this time.

In addition to the ICT sector Ethiopia is promoting privatization of Telecom and other state-owned enterprises, investment in the health sector, mining, infrastructure such as power, and post COVID-19 in many other sectors including manufacturing and agriculture.

We have recently improved our investment law and ease of doing business by introducing single-window platform for customs clearance, import-export facilitation, etc.

Pan African Visions: As we wrap this interview, maybe we ask you how things are at the Embassy. Is the Embassy open and are the borders of your country open?

Ambassador Arega: Yes, our Embassy has been open throughout COVID-19 practicing the CDC guidelines. We have consulates in Los Angeles and Minnesota. In addition to this, we commenced online services; we have online visa, online power of attorney and passport renewal services. Yes, our boarders are open and welcoming people as long as they have a negative COVID-19 test result and practice the guidelines.

We have been also mobilizing virtually the Diaspora Community. We had more than 100 virtual meetings with these groups in 41 states. We have raised useful resources both in kind and in cash through banks, on line platforms like GoFundMe. Some of the Diasporas have been active on trade and investment. They also assisted in the advocacy of the GERD and other issues that concern the US.

The government of Ethiopia has called for the members of the Diaspora to enhance their commitment to contribute more on trade and investment, and counter misinformation.

*Culled from February Issue of PAV Magazine

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Poor Leadership is Killing the African Continent-NDI’s Chris Fomunyoh
February 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute (NDI)

Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa and Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has said the poor leadership that is on the African continent is one that is giving the continent a bad name.

Dr Fomunyoh was speaking recently on Nigeria Info’s Pin Point on the theme “How Can Africa Be Built”? The discussion touched on a vast array of topics such as the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine distribution in Africa, the US-Africa relationship and the violence on the continent such as in Nigeria and Cameroon. 

“Africa is not a poor continent but it is poor leadership that is placing us where we are. It is poor leadership that is giving Africa a bad name. How can u explain that somebody close to 90 years old; President Biya just celebrated his 88th anniversary a few days ago has been in power for some 40 years; Obiang has been in power for 42 years,” Dr Christopher Fomunyoh cries out.

“How can you explain that someone like that can be able to compete with today’s technology; and respond to the worries of the youths? The world has evolved and it is about time we too evolve our leadership so we can galvanize our resources and leverage them so that it can benefit the African people.”

On the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Fomunyoh said the pandemic has caused a lot of deaths but it isn’t that much as people had feared. “We feel fortunate that our numbers have been lower than the numbers we have seen on other continents, Asia, North America. There is now the concern about the second wave that could hit the continent and I feel gratified with the role that African leaders have played to raise their voices and engage the WHO on vaccines,” Dr Christopher Fomunyoh said.

“We cannot ignore this crisis; it is a global pandemic and it is eating multiple sectors of the African continent. The AU has no choice but to tackle the crisis even if they have other issues.”

Speaking on the issues of vaccines he said: “Africa needs to get a Seat at the Table and that is the only way it can get its voice heard. If Dr Thedros was not there, there isn’t any guaranteed that our collective voices would have been heard in the same light.  I am also happy that our sister Dr Ngozi is going to lead the WTO. There is a message that Africans that are well endowed should be seeking such positions at the global stage so that they can also bring the African voices on the table.”

On the aspect of the US-Africa relations with the new administration that is in place, Dr Christopher is optimistic that things will be different than the past four years where the former President Trump did not even visit the continent in his four-year stay.

“We want to see actions that match those words,” Dr Christopher said. “It is a great start as it is a far demarcation from his predecessor at the white house, where Africa was not giving as a priority. The new president’s actions are already rewarding such as his endorsement of the candidacy of Dr Ngozi for the WTO, several African-Americans have been nominated and confirmed to strategic positions within the US government.”

“Africa needs to assert itself; ask to be heard and we need to put up our wish list. There is nothing wrong in saying these are the things that have not to work well in the past and this is our priorities. Africa needs to project itself as a global player.”

The next four years could be good for US-Africa Relations - Dr Fomunyoh says
The next four years could be good for US-Africa Relations – Dr Fomunyoh says

The Regional Director at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has said it is regrettable what is going on in some parts of the continent due to violence. A situation that Nigeria has faced for the past years and its neighbour Cameroon has been going through for the past four years in the English-speaking part of the country.

Dr Fomunyoh said: “We as Africans have to do everything we can to bring our leaders to understand that violence only bequeaths violence and that political grievances should be resolved through negotiations and political means. We have to do everything to silence the guns on the continent so that we can all focus on building a better Africa than the one we might have inherited from the previous generations.”

About the NDI

It is a non-governmental organization that works to support and strengthen democracy worldwide. It was created in 1983 as a non-partisan organization that works to support democratic processes in a non-partisan way. The NGO has offices in about 55 countries around the world. We have a presence of about 18 countries on the African continent with local staff working alongside political parties, election management bodies, CSOs, to help strengthen democratic processes. The organization has been active on the continent for close to thirty years.

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Cameroon Anglophone Crisis: A Legacy On The Line For Cardinal Tumi
February 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Andrew Nsoseka

 The reputation of Cardinal Tumi as the moral voice of Cameroon is increasingly under question
The reputation of Cardinal Tumi as the moral voice of Cameroon is increasingly under question

Many in Cameroon and beyond are increasingly asking how Christian Cardinal Tumi, Archbishop Emeritus of Douala Archdiocese, who at the beginning of the Anglophone crisis was an outspoken sympathiser of the Anglophone problem, has of recent, seemingly evolved to a sympathiser of the government.

Many have suggested that his abduction, or probably negative impacts of the crisis, and separatists’ atrocities, or all of the above may be responsible for the shift in the Cardinal’s recent views, expressed in latest media outings.

Cardinal Tumi, who over the years, has been regarded as Cameroon’s moral voice, was one of the country’s prominent voices articulating the Anglophone problem when it resurfaced in 2016, and morphed into an armed conflict. Like many others, the Cardinal criticised the military option employed to quell down dissenting voices. The Cardinal had also questioned the nature of the political undertakings that led to the reunification of the two Cameroons, urging that there is a need to revisit them.

He has never been reserved when it comes to criticising the political steps that were taken after reunification which are largely blamed for creating the Anglophone Problem in Cameroon. Acts like the tampering with the Federal Constitution and doing away with pillar constitutional provisions that robbed Anglophones of their ability to have an idntoty and decide their fate as well as partake in the management of their affairs have mainly influenced the Cardinal’s sympathy for the Anglophone crisis and the actors spearheading it.

At the beginning of the crisis and even when it escalated, Cardinal Tumi remained one of those staunch critics of government’s action. Most of his public outings made government stakeholders uncomfortable as he spared no words in condemning government’s overall attitude and response to the issues raised.

The Cardinal who spearheaded the idea of a third All Anglophone Conference, said after listening to the various interventions of prominent voices in the Anglophone crisis, he discovered that the “leaders were not saying the same thing”. He said he then conceived an idea to hold a general conference of all Anglophones so that they can debate and come out as one front with a singular demand where in a dialogue forum, they can voice it out as one, to their francophone brothers whom they united with.

Asked at the time by Elie Smith, whether the Cardinal was tele-guided by the Yaounde regime, as many had claimed, the Cardinal responded, “Surely if there is any body to be pushed around in Cameroon, it is not Cardinal Tumi. I have my personal conviction”. He had said.

The Cardinal’s initiative which was embraced by all prominent religious leaders in Anglophone regions, finally did not hold, due to lack of authorisation from government.

In an Interview with STV’s Peter Nsoesie, the Cardinal said the separatist fighters whom has talked with severally, have come to him for blessings, and that he did bless them, and talked to them frankly. He said he told them that he condemns their attitude of killing those who do not share their ideology. “I told them, I disagree on three points, number one, your intolerance; those who disagree with you, you are ready to kill them, that is not the solution to your problem. Secondly, your intolerance with schools. You are now fighting against the future of your brothers and sisters. Who will rule with you? Will you rule alone if you come to power tomorrow? You will be intolerant to the opposition. You can’t imagine countries in the world without the opposition. Opposition is useful. And then finally, those who are abroad, they say for those who are in the bushes around the country, they contribute financially for their wellbeing in the forests. If you have money in the forest, what do you do with it? I told one, a relative of mine, a surgeon, to also come home with his wife and children, if he is serious, so that others should contribute money and give him to live and fight in the forest. Since then, he has not telephoned me.”

In an interview with CRTV’s Joe Chebonkeng, Cardinal Tumi once defended Separatist fighters, stating that “We pray for these boys in the bushes, we pray for the army. Most of the killing is done by the army, it is not done by the boys.

‘Do you have empirical facts’, Joe Chebonkeng asked, “of course, objective studies”, the Cardinal responded “and it is still going on. In Kumbo, 400 people have been killed, the Bishop of Kumbo Diocese and his priests have made a study and the majority of those who have been killed, have not been killed by these boys. They do not have the sophisticated arms that the army has, maybe if they had, they would have killed more, but they don’t have. The army comes in, maybe a rebel boy has killed a military officer and run away, the army comes in, enter a family and they kill everybody” ‘is that true?’, Chebonkeng asked, to which the Cardinal responded at the top of his voice, “it is perfectly true, and I am ready to die for it.”

The Cardinal who spearheaded the botched All Anglophone General Conference, in an interview with Equinoxe TV, had confessed that a survey conducted by the organisers to sample the preferences of Anglophones in Cameroon regarding the form of state was deliberately tailored to blot out the option of separation. He however stated that the majority of respondents opted for total separation, even when they tried to take away that option. “In our questionnaire to the Anglophones on the form of state, we tried to influence the Anglophone opinion, but we did not succeed. Therefore, it shows how deep the problem is.”

The Cardinal said when they asked respondents about their preferred form of state, they deliberately named just unitary, decentralisation, and federation, and intentionally left out the option of total independence, “69 percent of Anglophones said they wanted absolute separation, that was the word they used, that is to say, secession”.

The Cardinal said the respondents in the space provided for other options, opted for absolute separation. He said the report was drafted, and sent to the President, through the Prime Minister.

Cardinal Tumi with SDF Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi. Moderate Anglophone voices are targets of criticism from separatist forces and the government
Cardinal Tumi with SDF Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi. Moderate Anglophone voices are targets of criticism from separatist forces and the government

Expressing a personal view, Cardinal Tumi has repeatedly said in a dialogue, the option of separation should be on the table, and if the separatists convince others that it is the best option, it should be granted, especially as the two factions that make up modern Cameroon were once separated.

Cardinal Tumi’s Sympathy For Separatists Dwindles

On Thursday, November 5, 2020, Christian Cardinal Tumi and the Fon of Nso, HRM Sem Mbinglo were abducted in Babessi, as their convoy drove to the Nso palace, where the Fon had escaped earlier on, as a result of the crisis.

In Babessi, the two were abducted and hours later, the Cardinal was released. Following his release, Cardinal Tumi wrote a book titled, “My Night In Captivity” in which unlike before, he proposed that it would be best for the country, if the military takes over the whole country, including the troubled regions.

The Cardinal opined that in such a situation of military takeover, power is also taken from the separatists, and then the military organises an election in which a leader for the country is chosen, to bring order to the whole country. In some of his media outings, the Cardinal in his shift from a pro-separatists stand, rather suggested that the greater fight should be for the unity of Africa, so that the little fights like creation of new states can be put to rest.

Personally, the Cardinal says he favours Federalism as the best option. In Babessi, while in separatists’ custody, the Cardinal told them that he will rather opt for Federalism than secession. Like many Anglophones, the Cardinal might have grown weary of some of the atrocities carried out by separatists, and thus fears a scenario where they take over and build a society where opposing voices are not entertained. However, like any progressive voice, Cardinal Tumi still supports the option that all opinions should be entertained, and whichever the afflicted and concerned persons favour should be adopted.

*Culled from February Issue of PAV Magazine

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Brazil Africa Institute highlights climate change and sustainable development in seminar focused on renewable energy
February 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

Fortaleza, Brazil – February 15th, 2021 — On March 30, the Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) will hold the “Seminar Renewable Energy in Brazil and Africa: The Clean Engines of Economic Development”.

The goal is to promote in-depth discussions on the main trends in the energy sector, sustainable economic development and climate change, in response to the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The seminar will be 100% online and live streamed with simultaneous translations to English and Portuguese. The programme will focus on the three pillars of sustainable development: environmental, economic and social.

The event will promote a moment of excellence for sharing projects and ideas, bringing together names that are references in the Brazilian, African and international contexts. It will be possible to present solutions, highlight information based on scientific data, encourage smart investments and urgent inclusive policies in the energy sector.

Within the African context, renewable energies are a reality in many countries and investments have been increasing. The continent however still needs to overcome the challenges of social inequality, since a considerable portion of its population does not have access to energy of any kind.

On the other hand, Brazil currently has about 46% of its energy matrix made up of renewable sources and 83% of its electricity is derived from hydroelectric plants, bioenergy, solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal stations.

More info on: https://ibraf.org/projects/renewable-energy-seminar/

About the Brazil Africa Institute
The Brazil Africa Institute (IBRAF) is a facilitator of good practices that aims to promote international cooperation and engagement between Brazil and the African continent, defending the economic development of countries, the convergence of private sector and governments interests and the enhancement of multilateral relations. IBRAF creates and encourages initiatives that promote trade and investments, technical and scientific cooperation, capacity building and the strengthening of academic research.

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Kenya:New Bill to raise minimum smoking age to 21
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

ACCPA chairman Mwangi Macharia
ACCPA chairman Mwangi Macharia

The African Centre for Corrective and Preventive Action (ACCPA), a Kenyan-based NGO, seeks to raise the minimum smoking age to 21 with the introduction of a new Bill in Parliament.

The draft to amend the Tobacco Act of 2007 from 18 to 21 will protect those below the age of 18 from exposure to incidences of debilitating illness, disease, disability, and death resulting from smoking cigarettes and tobacco.

ACCPA chairman Mwangi Macharia said limiting smokers’ age will be instrumental for both health and behavioral reasons.

“Tobacco control is the single most preventable cause of death in the world today and is estimated to kill more than five million people every year, more than tuberculosis, HIV/Aids and malaria combined. By 2030, the death toll will exceed eight million a year, unless urgent action is taken,” stated Mr. Machararia in his memorandum sent to the Parliament.

If the Bill sails through, Kenya will join the US’s likes, which has prohibited smoking among those under 21.

In December 2019, Former US President Donald Trump assent into Bill the law barring anyone under 21 from buying or any other tobacco products in the country.

The new law approved by the US congress also applied to electronic cigarettes and vaping products that heat a liquid containing nicotine.

Elsewhere, the Indian government also early this year drafted a Bill to increase the smoking age to 21 from the current 18.

India’s Union Health Ministry prepared the Bill.

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OPPO to unveil Reno5 and Reno5 F in Kenya
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Smartphone brand OPPO next week will launch its latest devices, Reno5 and Reno5 F, in the Kenyan market.

According to the management, Reno5 is set to introduce an industry first feature the AI Mixed Portrait, the first double exposure video effect for smartphones and AI Highlight Video which uses intelligent light detection to combine OPPO’s advanced Ultra Night Video Algorithms and Live HDR Algorithms to significantly enhance video quality in dim and backlit scenes.

The new device will come in two colors that are Fantasy Silver and the Starry Black.

The customers will also witness the ultra-fast 50W flash charging that will charged the device to up to 100 per cent in less than one hour, just is 48 minutes only.

The Reno5 will also come installed with OPPO’s Color OS 11.1 out of the box as well as providing rich UI customization, greater efficiency, unparalleled smoothness, and strengthened privacy.

“Today’s smartphone is not just a tool to record our memories-it is a partner that empowers our own image unique way of storytelling, and archives the unforgettable stories we share with our friends and family,” reiterated Muthoni Wachira, Head of Communications and Projects at OPPO Kenya.

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Kenya establishes a committee to manage sound chemical
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Ministry of Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo
Ministry of Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo

Through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Kenya has launched a multi-sector committee to oversee sound chemical management.

The committee is tasked with coordinating and implementing policies, legislation, and guidelines on chemicals and waste at the national and county levels.

Addressing the press during the launch on Monday, February 15, 2021, Ministry of Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo said the ministry would skillfully handle pollution and waste disposal.

“To address sound management of chemicals, the government is strengthening policy and regulatory frameworks, domesticating of environmental Agreement of Chemicals and waste, and implementation of Sound chemical management strategies and Action Plans,” Dr. Kiptoo said.

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CD Baby Brings on First Representative in Africa
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

Seasoned independent music advocate Sakhele Mzalazala will support artists across Southern Africa as CD Baby builds out its operations on the continent  .

Sakhele Mzalazala
Sakhele Mzalazala

CD Baby is expanding its international artist services team to Africa, bringing on seasoned music business manager and independent music advocate Sakhele Mzalazala. Reporting to VP of International Development Heli Del Moral, Mzalazala is CD Baby’s first hire in Africa where he will be responsible for growing CD Baby in South Africa and other markets across Southern Africa, including Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Swaziland, and Namibia. Based in Johannesburg, Mzalazala will spearhead strategic partnerships both locally and internationally, building networks with young and established artists in the process, as well as developing and implementing a number of programs to increase visibility and adoption of CD Baby services, and establish strategic industry relationships in the region. 

“African artists have impacted music around the world, and we’re thrilled to find the right representative to help them understand how CD Baby can support their careers and creativity,” says VP of International Development, Hel Del Moral. “This step is part of our overall vision to bring the best artist services and rights administration to independent creators worldwide.” 

Mzalazala has more than 20 years of music industry experience, including roles with Yourself ManagementXhentsa, and Koloni, working directly with artists Mahlatse Vokal and Lisa Good, and overseeing the publishing team at the prominent South African label Mathaland/Ghetto Ruff, where he worked with Zola 7Dj CleoPitch Black AFRO, and Morafe. With his own roots in the music industry as a an artist before transitioning to the business side, Mzalazala has a strong track record of supporting independent artists’ work, including a double platinum-release from Zonke Dikana’s Ina Ethe, the late Sfiso Ncwane’s multiple award-winning Gospel album Bayede Baba. He has also worked with Sizwe ZakoTshepo TsholaLawrence Matshiza, and many more, experiences he has distilled into a guide book for independent musicians.

“Working for an international organization like CD Baby has been a dream of mine and I am very excited to have been given such a big opportunity, which in turn comes with bigger responsibilities,” Mzalazala says. “I look forward to impacting positively on the careers of independent artists and labels, where they will have full control and ownership of the works. I have always strived to do what is best for my artists and clients and CD Baby is just that and more. I am excited and cannot wait.”

Southern Africa has long been a musical powerhouse, with artists like Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo shaping international music for decades. New generations of artists have continued to make an impact, including independent cross-cultural groups like Cape Town’s Freshlyground, who racked up billions of YouTube views worldwide. South African independent house DJ and singer-songwriter Black Coffee helped turn the world on to African techno and club music, winning Breakthrough DJ of the Year at the DJ Awards in Ibiza in 2015. Hip hop artists from the region like DJ Nasty C have gained international audiences and exposure. At the same time, other culturally important voices remain strong, including Gospel performers like Benjamin Dube and young torchbearers for traditional genres like Zulu maskandi such as Khuzani Mpungose. Though international music continues to dominate the market (80% of market share in South Africa), the independent sector is growing as the entire music market expands by 5-9% a year, according to data reported by Music Ally. 

“Independent artists’ biggest challenges in our region are the lack of information or knowledge, lack of income from their works, and the long-term agreements they sign,” explains Mzalazala. “But artists are becoming independent by owning their masters and getting access to most digital platforms. There is a lot of reason for optimism now.” 
 
Mzalazala joins the 22-person CD Baby international team active in markets across Europe, North America, South America, East Asia, and South Asia.

About CD Baby

CD Baby is the largest distributor and rights administrator of independent music on the planet.  It is home to over 800,000 artists and more than 9 million tracks, getting independent music to more than 150 digital services and platforms around the globe and allowing artists to monetize their presence on YouTube. Artists using the CD Baby platform have earned $850 million since its founding. Its Publishing Administration service allows over 250,000 songwriters/artists to collect all of their publishing royalties. CD Baby has become the go-to partner for many icons in the new music industry. CD Baby is owned by Downtown Music Holdings.

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Mozambique: Terrorists Threaten $50bn LNG Projects
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The terrorist attacks in gas-rich Cabo Delgado province are threatening to disrupt the African country’s burgeoning natural-gas developments, including the $50bn projects led by French energy giant Total, Italian oil major Eni and American multinational oil and gas corporation Exxon Mobil.

Since 5 October 2017, a wave of armed attacks has been targeting the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province in the north of Mozambique, where most of the major gas discoveries have been made in recent years. In July 2020, French oil giant Total signed a $14.9 billion financing agreement for a gas project called Mozambique LNG, the largest foreign direct investment in Africa to date, with a total post-FID investment of $20 billion.

The project received direct and covered loans from eight export credit agencies, 19 commercial bank facilities and a $400 million loan from the African Development Bank. The financing has been agreed despite the terrorists that have killed more than 2,500 people and displaced over 600,000.

The projects were supposed to be following the normal course of its installation, but it was stopped as the terrorists attacked near the town of Palma — just 20 km from the site of Mozambique LNG. Due to the situation, since December that Total is reducing its staff from the works on the natural gas megaproject.

The Mozambique LNG Project started with the discovery of a vast quantity of natural gas off the coast of northern Mozambique in 2010, leading to a $20bn FID in 2019. The plans for the approximately 65 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas include a two-train project with the ability to expand up to 43 million tonnes per annum (MTPA).

Its geographic location positions the project well to meet Atlantic and Asia-Pacific market needs, as well as tap into the growing energy demands of the Middle East and Indian sub-continent. The Mozambique LNG project is intended to begin production in 2024. However, the attacks have raised major questions over the timelines for such huge undertakings.

On 1 January 2021 a clash between the police and terrorist infiltrators was registered in the resettlement Quitanda, a new town built to house people resettled from the areas of the Afungi Peninsula where Total is building a natural gas liquefaction plant. when the police discovered the terrorist infiltration, they went to the house where the infiltrators were hiding. They were met with shots, and returned fire. In this clash, one terrorist informant was killed and a policeman was injured.

Some of the incursions have been claimed by the ‘jihadist’ Islamic state group since 2019.

Nyusi and Total CEO discuss security questions

The investors are concerned with the attacks, wich have been claimed by the ‘jihadist’ Islamic state group since 2019. In January 2020, Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanné and Mozambican president Filipe Nyusi met to discuss the worsening security situation. They then agreed to further strengthen security around the natural gas venture.

Instability in the area has concerned the Mozambican authorities, since the LNG project is the largest foreign investment in the country ever.

In August 2020, Total had already announced a revision of MoU with the Mozambican government for the operation of a joint security force including the defence and security forces to protect the project. So far, engineering and procurement activities have been taking place, with 2021 being the year for the start of the construction phase of the gas city and industrial zone for the liquefaction of the gas to be brought ashore from the drilling of the sea bottom of the Rovuma basin. However, the fact is that due to the recent attacks Total continues to reduce the number of workers at the project’s onshore construction site on the Afungi peninsula.

Last year Patrick Pouyanne has called on European countries to help Mozambique fight the insurgency, warning that Islamic State is creating an enclave in the country. He said it would be good if the situation is brought back under control, not just for Total’s project, but for the stability of the region. He noted that France has a vested interest in the region, as it owns Mayotte, an island between Mozambique and Madagascar.

At the end of January the publication Africa Energy Intelligence wrote that Total is hoping to set up a logistics base in Mayotte to help it develop its Mozambican gas project. The French overseas territory has highlighted its many advantages to Total: it is located 500km from Pemba, the capital of Cabo Delgado; it has a deep-water port; a small naval base in Dzaoudzi; a detachment of the French Foreign Legion; and a fully functioning hospital complex. In the future, Mayotte hopes Total will also base the families of its expatriate workers there – but at the moment workers are being deployed without their families because of the covid-19 pandemic.

However, Mayotte’s 1,930m runway at its main airport is too small to accommodate very large aircraft and Total’s subcontractors in Mozambique are reluctant to move to the island, although Total has asked them to assess the costs of shifting some operations there. The company views the island as a useful fallback option should the security situation in Cabo Delgado continue to deteriorate. According to AEI, French authorities are in favour of the Mayotte option, which they see as the “patriotic” choice.

However, Total has denied suggestions that it could be moving its base of operations for its natural gas project Mozambique LNG away from Mozambique and onto the Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean. A statement from the company seen by Pan African Visions saysthat it would continue to base its operations in Pemba. However, it added that the project “is investigating options to carry some offshore support operations in the region to optimize part of its logistical chain and planning including in Mayotte by using existing infrastructures”. The company added that it remained focused on delivering local content goals, including giving $2.5bn-worth of contracts to Mozambican businesses.

Other LNG projects

As well as Mozambique LNG, the other major LNG projects sanctioned for development in the country are the Rovuma LNG project, led by ExxonMobil, and the Coral South FLNG project, led by ENI. Both form part of the Area 4 development of the Rovuma Basin, Cabo Delgado province, offshore Mozambique.                                   

Exxon has delayed a final decision on its $30bn Rovuma LNG project until 2022. Eni is Exxon’s project partner for Rovuma LNG. The company is developing the 15.2 million mt/year Rovuma LNG facility close to the Total project.

Eni is also operator of a smaller 3.4 million mt/year capacity floating Coral LNG project, the world’s first newly-built deepwater floating liquefaction plant, which could begin operations in 2022. The last of 13 topside modules has been lifted and installed aboard Eni’s Mozambique-bound Coral-Sul FLNG facility, being built by Samsung Heavy Industries in South Korea. The company informed last year that the lifting of the module marks the end of the onshore-modules fabrication campaign configuring the entire gas treatment and liquefaction plant. According to Eni, the Coral Sul FLNG unit is expected to sail away in 2021.

All these projects will be reality if the security situation is controlled. Mozambique is working with mercenaries and some countries are offering help. One of the last is Nigeria. The country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, visited Mozambique over the end of January and met Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosário. Mr Onyeama said Nigeria was ready to share its experience of fighting Islamist militants and provide support to Mozambique.

A new cooperation deal between the European Union and Mozambique on the violence  in Cabo Delgado should be reached this february, Pan Africn Visions has learned. The framework will aim to support Mozambique in the fight against terrorism by giving support in humanitarian, development, and security areas. Some observers say that the involvement of other countries and organisations in supporting Mozambique could reflect competition for influence in Africa.

Meanwhile, in general, the terrorists seem to be in retreat as supplies are scarce. Other opinions say that the foreign financiers are no longer paying them. The fact is that the number of attacks reduced.

A former captive, who was held in the village of Manilha, in the district of Mocímboa da Praia, said that the terrorists had recently met a Tanzanian man, thought to be their leader, Carta de Mocambique reported. The Tanzanian said that the attacks could not continue, because there was no more money. The meeting ended in confusion because the Tanzanian advised the Mozambicans to return to their home communities. The terrorists said they could not do this because they feared for their lives. The former captive claimed that the terrorists could no longer survive at their bases, because with villages deserted, there was no food available to plunder and their families were starving.

A member of the government forces positioned in Palma told Pan African Visions that the silence of terrorists is frightening because they are unpredictable.

While that, an application to build a 2,600kmgas pipeline linking the Rovuma Basin in Mozambique and Gauteng in South Africa was submitted to the Mozambican government. If approved the works would start in the next three months, with the first phase, from the Rovuma Basin to Maputo province, to be finished in 2025. The planned investment is around $6bn, which would come entirely from private investors. If constructed, the African Renaissance Gas Pipeline could be one of the biggest LNG projects in the world.

*Culled from February Issue of PAV Magazine

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Sierra Leone: Anti-Corruption Crusade Gathers Steam Under Kaifala
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Koroma

We follow the law and the evidence, says Kaifala in dismissing claims that the ACC may be on a witch hunt of Officials of the previous administration
We follow the law and the evidence, says Kaifala in dismissing claims that the ACC may be on a witch hunt of Officials of the previous administration

Appointed in June 2018 by President Julius Maada Bio to head of the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission -ACC, Francis Ben Kaifala has achieved the feat of helping Sierra Leone shed the corruption prone image it had before he took office.

Young, bold, visionary, tenacious, and result oriented, Kaifala who left a flourishing private practice to lead his country’s crusade against corruption is yielding dividends with reports from leading international agencies like Afro Barometer, and Transparency International taking note. Last year, the efforts of Kaifala and his team swelled the public coffers with circa 10 billion Leones recuperated from people guilty of pilfering the national purse.

In an exclusive interview with PAV, Kaifala rubbishes claims that the corruption crusade has unfairly targeted officials of the previous administration. We follow the law and the evidence, says Kaifala, citing examples of officials in the current administration who have been persecuted for corruption.

Much work still has to be done to further weed out corruption, but the progress registered since he took office are indicative of the positive results that will continue to follow hard work, Kaifala said as he expressed optimism for the future.

We want to wish you happy new year and thank you very much for granting us this interview. May we start with a review of how last year went for the Anti-Corruption Commission, what worked well and what didn’t work well?

Francis Ben Kaifala : It was a great year , we did a lot of work in terms of enforcement, in terms of prosecution , a lot of prevention , we did engage in lots of massive public education and as you can see from the index we , those who usually check our work can confirm we did very well and that was the year we scored the highest in the Millennium Challenge Corporation Score card , we moved into 81% , Transparency International as well,  we moved by two points , we recovered more money last year , we gave the President, we recovered  over 10 Billion Leones  in a single year from the corrupt and we gave a cheque of 8 billion Leones to the president . Basically, it was a great for the fight against corruption.

 You have been heading of the ACC for two years now, in what shape did you meet the office and the overall state of corruption in Sierra Leone, and what are some of the changes that have taken place under your leadership?

Francis Ben Kaifala : Well corruption was very prevalent at the time I came in , as  you know Afro Barometer estimated that in 2015 -2017 that corruption was 70%, the same institution has now measured and says corruption prevalence has dropped by 40% so there is a huge 30% difference that has been  made within  this period of time and generally I think there is a lot  more awareness of the fight against corruption and in fact when Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law , the PFM Consortium did a survey recently compared to previous years, corruption perception and confidence of the citizens in the ACC to fight corruption was low as 19% now it is as high as  92%, so that is  a huge difference. I believe that we are making a difference.

Under the astute leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala, the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone is yielding tangible results
Under the astute leadership of Francis Ben Kaifala, the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone is yielding tangible results

 There have been several high-profile cases involving members of the previous administration of President Ernest Koroma, what is your response to critics who say these smacks of a political witch hunt?

Francis Ben Kaifala: Well, I don’t know what they mean by witch hunt. I don’t understand. We are operating within a toxic political environment and people used this thing to cover up their actions, so a man is given money to build a bridge, the bridge is not there, the money is not in the account and you called him to say where is the money and he says is witch hunt what does that mean? We are doing our job, and isolating ourselves from these kinds of cynical previews; we accept good criticisms it helps us do our work, some of it is just cynicism and we know the difference but the real name of the game is focus, is to continue what we are doing as long as we are producing the result for the country and that’s the most important thing and that’s what we are focused on.

There was a situation where former President Koroma was invited by your office, so how has that investigation been and any update?

Francis Ben Kaifala: Yeah, we have taken a statement from him, that investigation is under review now, we have taken all the issues into consideration and we will get back to the public on the details of that investigation.

How independent is the ACC in making decisions on cases it seeks to pursue as opposed to following instructions from President Maada Bio on who should be investigated?

Francis Ben Kaifala: The ACC is very autonomous, I don’t believe in independence, independence means we are like a republic on our own. we are not, we are working within the system and we consult, we give reports to the President on behalf of the people of Sierra Leone. We are accountable to parliament, there are many things. so, I don’t like to use the word independent, I prefer to use autonomy and we are completely autonomous, that means we can do our day-to-day activities without some body calling and directing us what to do, without the State House telling us who to arrest, to prosecute and telling us what the outcome should be. So, I can tell you we are very autonomous.

In a situation where the present administration officials are found guilty of corruption, some people wonder whether the ACC would take action.

Francis Ben Kaifala : But we are already prosecuting people in the current administration, the director and other staffs in the Ministry of Information who took Commissions of Inquiry money, were prosecuted in this current administration, Dr. Sarah Finda  Bendu was head of the Sierra Leone Maritime Administration in this current administration , she is been prosecuted in court , we also entered into settlement with her and we are recovering 500 million Leones from her , she has already paid over 300 million Leones , the investigations we are doing at EDSA is not past administration , the investigations  that we have been doing at the Maritime Administration is not past administration , the investigations we are doing at State House, the former State Chief of Protocol who is  investigated was not of the former administration. So, I don’t know what they mean by the current administration, but I can tell you that we are doing more now with the current administration than any other administration. Of course, we will always ask past officials to account because many were corrupt, and we have recovered billions from them, we have prosecuted many, some are still standing trial, the former vice president is standing trial; it is just part of the work, but really, we do not differentiate between past and present we just do our job, we follow the evidence, we follow what information we have.

 Your job is very difficult; may we know some of the challenges that you have faced while running the ACC?

Francis Ben Kaifala : The resources, we don’t have resources, the entire office is running on a current expenditure of about 800,000 United State Dollars not even up to a million dollar for the year, we don’t have capital expenditure, we cannot buy cars, we cannot buy laptops, we cannot buy anything that is capital in nature.  The total allocation to the place  is so small even our  staff costs we have no room for expansion because the Ministry of Finance is limiting what we can do, so we have logistical constraints .Beyond that, we are also operating within a very difficult political system,  very cynical system where sometimes the people for one reason or the other prefer to be against us or in favour of us  but  we are focused on our work as always but there are many challenges everywhere , we have challenges with the judiciary , it has been difficult for them to impose custodial sentences, but recently we have had some encouraging signs in that regard with the court of appeal confirming the custodial sentences  impose on those who took the Commissions of Inquiry money so we are hopeful that things are going to move in a better trajectory with the judiciary, but generally our prosecutions are very good. We are having a very high rate of conviction we just want the punishment to be much more severe than they have been doing. Generally, it is more about logistics, it is about resources and personnel.

 Prior to taking over the job, you were a successful Lawyer, what motivated you to leave your private practice to take the ACC job?

Francis Ben Kaifala: To serve my country. Everybody deserves that on your CV, no matter what you do in private service if I was not here, we will not be talking today about the successes we are scoring in the fight against corruption. So, I saw it as an opportunity because as you know I was very active speaking against the injustices and wrongs in the society, corruption in the society and  I was given the opportunity by the President to lead that fight, and that is why I am here.

Presenting a check to President Bio. Under the eadership of Kaifala, the ACC has recovered millions of dollars in looted funds.
Presenting a check to President Bio. Under the eadership of Kaifala, the ACC has recovered millions of dollars in looted funds.

With you background in Law and the experience you have garnered as head of the AAC, what other policy recommendations or framework is needed to strengthen the fight against corruption in Sierra Leone?

Francis Ben Kaifala: I think that more resources need to be allocated to the fight against corruption, we need to have lot more expansion, the entire anti -corruption Commission only has 200 staff. That is not enough to police the entire country when it comes to the fight against corruption. So more needs to be done to strengthened our hand not just in terms of the laws but to make sure that we have the resources to bring more personnel on board and apart from that we have the logistics, the right equipment to deploy, recording devices, televising devices. Those are all things that need to be improve if we are to move things forward.

For 2021, what should Sierra Leonians expect from Francis Ben Kaifala and the ACC and any last word as we wrap up this interview?

Francis Ben Kaifala :  2021, we will continue doing it like never before, continue with massive, massive public education, massive, massive prevention drive, continue with more investigations, continue with more prosecutions and generally continue to launder the image of the country to show that we are ready for business and we are a country of people who are capable of looking after ourselves without stealing from ourselves.

*Culled from February Issue of PAV Magazine

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AfCFTA provides an opportunity to empower women farmers
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Linda Manda*

Linda Manda is Sector Head of Agribusiness, Corporate and Investment Banking, at Standard Bank
Linda Manda is Sector Head of Agribusiness, Corporate and Investment Banking, at Standard Bank

The now-operational African Continental Free-trade Area (AfCFTA) provides policymakers with a new opportunity to empower women farmers, promote gender equality, increase productivity and ensure food security across the continent.

Following a short delay due to COVID-19, the trading bloc came into effect at the start of 2021. By removing tariffs on goods traded within the continent, improving border processes, and smoothing regulations and processes, AfCFTA will facilitate the growth of intra-African trade, which remains extremely low compared to other regions.

Importantly, we believe it could promote gender equality as it removes barriers to trade that disproportionately affect women. For the time being, a significant portion of intra-African trade is informal and agriculture based. Rural women play an important role in this value chain.

The formalisation and expansion of intra-African trade will lift economic growth rates and provide a much larger internal market for Africa’s agricultural producers. Over time, we expect that Africa will progress from being a net importer of food to being self-sufficient, and ultimately a net exporter.

The continent has massive untapped potential in the sector. In fact, as much as 60% of the world’s uncultivated land is in Africa, with between 480 million and 840 million hectares of unused agricultural land that could be used to increase production by up to three times the current output, provided that ‘climate-smart’ production methods are employed.

As the sector gains momentum, we must ensure that women farmers are given the opportunity to participate in this growth story. This means that policymakers, communities and other stakeholders should move fast to address issues such as unequal access to land resources and education. Steps should also be taken to ensure that businesswomen – farmers included – are able to safely and seamlessly cross African borders.

The financial services sector also has an important role to play. In addition to providing financial assistance, banks can facilitate the growth of women-owned farms in other ways.

Through our Climate Smart Agriculture programme with UN Women, Standard Bank is equipping women farmers in Africa with the skills and resources needed to grow their operations in a sustainable manner.

This programme is aimed at empowering more than 50,000 women farmers in Malawi, Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa through modern and environmentally friendly farming technologies that increase yields and incomes across the value chain.

A key challenge that the initiative is addressing is access to information – a major barrier to Africa’s small-scale women farmers. To reach their full potential, women farmers need equitable access to information and data on consumer trends, crop yields, soil health, weather patterns, good farming practices, seasonality, market proximity, and market prices.

And since climate change is expected to have a disproportionate impact on emerging markets including Africa, access to drought-resistant seeds and environmentally friendly fertilisers and appropriate technologies will be critical.

The Climate Smart Agriculture has made great progress in this regard.

In Malawi, close to 6,000 women farmers have received support in the use of high-yield and drought-resistant groundnut seeds; the implementation of modern farming methods that conserve moisture and maximise land use; use of weather forecast information for the timely planting of groundnuts; use of market information and financial literacy sessions; and the adoption of modern farming technologies.

In Nigeria, the project is currently supporting 2,300 women beneficiary agri-business groups and cooperatives to increase the productivity and profitability of their operations within the rice and shea nut value chains. It will ultimately deliver assistance to 12,500 rural women in the country.

In Uganda, 1,400 women have been equipped with the skills and technologies needed to run successful aquaculture operations. Over a quarter of a million high-quality fish fingerlings – of the Tilapia species – are being grown by the beneficiaries, using aquaculture technologies. The women have been supported through technical training, mentorship programmes, access to inputs including feeds, accommodation and business management skills.

In South Africa, the project delivered agricultural inputs to 2,753 women farmers in the first half of 2020. The inputs include drought-resistant seeds of various crops, organic manure, farming equipment, and training on climate-smart agriculture.

The project resonates with Standard Bank’s purpose – driving Africa’s growth. It is also closely aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, particularly regarding gender equality, access to decent work, and economic growth.

The Climate Smart Agriculture programme is demonstrating the power of partnerships in tackling societal issues. Going forwards, partnerships between governments, civil society organisations and the private sector will be key to unlocking the potential of Africa’s women farmers – and the continent as a whole.

*Sector Head of Agribusiness, Corporate and Investment Banking, at Standard Bank

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Kenya: Top Senator dies after long illness
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Senator Yusuf Haji
Senator Yusuf Haji

Kenya’s Senator Yusuf Haji has died at the age of 80.

According to his family, Haji died at a Nairobi hospital on Monday morning while receiving treatment.

A family spokesperson told the media that the Senator had multiple body organ failure. Recently, he was flown out of the country for further treatment.

Haji served has Garissa Senator from 2013 until his demise.

He was also the chairperson of the Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI) task force.

The deceased had also served as a District Officer in the early 1960s before rising through the ranks to the position of Provincial Commissioner between 1970 and 1997.

Haji joined politics in 1998 as a nominated Member of Parliament.

From 1998 to 2001, he worked as an assistant minister in the office of the president and subsequently acted as the Office’s Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs in 2002.

He was elected unopposed in 2002 and 2007 as Ijara legislator and from 2008 to 2013 he served as the Minister of Defence.

In his condolence message to the family, acquaintances and residents of Garissa County, President Uhuru Kenyatta eulogised the veteran leader as a dependable Kenyan and a patriot.

“It is very unfortunate that we have lost such a dependable, solid and highly accomplished Kenyan leader. Haji was a highly respected leader and elder whose wisdom, deep knowledge of the Kenyan society and long experience as a public administrator enabled him to serve the country in various leadership roles with distinction for many years,” the President said.

The head of stated said Haji’s death is a big blow to the country and the BBI constitutional reform process.

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Kenya:Gor Mahia have lost fear factor
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Something is not right with the Kenyan Premier League side Gor Mahia FC following a series of poor performance.

The club is enduring downturn in results including 1-0 shock defeat in the hands of Zambian side Napsa Stars.

The Lusaka based club defied odds to beat their opponents in a Caf Confederation Cup pre-group stage encounter in Nairobi on Sunday. The result left Gor’s chances of advancing further in the competition hanging by the thread ahead of Second leg next week.

Playing against the Kenya’s defending champions is not the way it used to be. There used to be a fear factor from local teams as well as those across the continent.  Going up against Gor Mahia especially in the Kenyan soil used to be a hard task for several coaches and players.

For instance, former Zamalek FC head coach Christain Gross had expressed his fear of meeting the Kenyan giant ahead of their opening CAF Confederation Cup Group D match in February 2019. In deed Gor registered a memorable 4-2 win in Nairobi despite losing away a fortnight later.

“It’s always good to start the group stage with a victory. Gor Mahia game is going to be difficult but we have to give our all, whether the game is at home or away”, said Gross.

The 19 times Kenyan champions also ended 2015 season unbeaten and set a new Kenya Premier League record for points with a total of 78 points among many others records.

However, both small and big teams are no longer afraid of facing Gor Mahia as they believe they can win and bag three points against them.

Early this year, the club was bundled out of the CAF Champions League after being blown away by Algerian giants CRB Belouizdad 8-1 on aggregate.

Locally, the team also lost to minnows Vihiga United, a result that left many fans astounded.  Gor now sits in the 6th position, ten points behind the league leaders Tusker FC with two games in hand.

The club’s current poor run of results has been attributed to financial woos and rotational of coaches.

Former Gor Mahia coach Steven Polack said the team will register positive results if only the management stops exodus of players due to financial issues every season.

“Bringing too many players at once doesn’t help, as it takes time for them to gel together and that is the problem Gor Mahia is suffering from. The team will take time to regain consistency which we had built during my time [as the coach] because almost all the key players left, and now they have new players and also a new coach, it will take them time to get started,” said Polack.

Last season, several players quit Gor Mahia including defender Joash Onyango, goalkeeper David Mapigano, Lawrence Juma, Wellington Ochieng; Elvis Ronack, Kennedy Otieno, Boniface Omondi, Peter Odhiambo, Dickson Ambundo, Juma Balinya, Clinton Okoth, Edwin Lavatsa, Shafik Batambuze, and Jackson Owusu.

The British tactician left the club on mutual consent after guiding them to their 18th league title in the abandoned 2019/20 season.

The club’s secretary general Sam Ochola further linked the spate of bad results to rotation of coaches.  According to Ochola, players have had a hard time trying to adapt to different styles and mentality of coaches working with them on an interim basis. 

This season alone the club has been managed with three coaches. The first one was Brazilian Roberto Oliviera Goncalves who was sent packing over alleged lack of CAF coaching requirements.  After Goncalves was suspended by CAF, Sammy “Pamzo” Omollo was appointed on an interim basis. Now the team is under the management of Portuguese Carlos Manuel Vaz Pinto.

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Benin 2021:SET PARTISAN POLITIC ASIDE TO BAN PRIMARY MISOGYNY AND NÉANDERTALIAN SEXISM FROM THE DEBATE
February 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ambassador Omar Arouna*

Ambassador Omar Arouna
Ambassador Omar Arouna

If you are a keen observer of Beninese politics in these tumultuous times of pre-electoral turmoil, you have surely already seen the recent video of the interview with Dakpè Sossou. Eminent member of Parliament in Benin under the colors of the Progressive Union Party (supporting the actions of the government and chaired by the emblematic figure Bruno Amoussou), ardent defender of President Patrice Talon, the deputy Sossou missed an opportunity to be silent with a demonstration of ordinary sexism.

The parliamentarian in contemptuous terms for women, opined on the relevance of the candidacy for the presidency of Benin of Reckya Madougou, standard bearer of the opposition party THE DEMOCRATES whose honorary president is none other than the former President of Benin, Thomas Boni Yayi.

Dakpè Sossou told the journalist that “… (Rekya Madougou) is a very beautiful woman who should not have interfered in these (presidential) affairs, her possible election at the head of a country could creates problems for the country… “

Then in a completely uninhibited way tried to explain his sexist cliché by emphasizing: “that a beautiful woman like that is a mining reserve … when there are mineral reserves, for example oil in a country, we know what happens in this country? we don’t have any that’s  here that’s why we have no trouble here … if you consider her a gold mine, a very beautiful woman, incomparable, charming, at the head of a country, I don’t think you will have peace as we currently have in Benin…

This comment seems to indicate that a woman’s physical appearance is the most important thing to her. It defies logic and is simply insulting, misogynistic, sexist, and archaic. No one takes a man’s physical appearance into consideration when considering the value of his opinions, positions or ambitions.

Women leaders around the world have shown that they are as capable as men of successfully leading their countries. Like their male counterparts, it is the quality of their thinking, the integrity with which they approach their work, and the strength of character that will determine their success as leaders. American women’s activist Wilma Pearl Mankiller (1945-2010) and the Cherokee Nation’s first elected woman leader said that “women in leadership positions can help restore balance and integrity to our communities. ” And yet faced with this affront of deputy Dakpé Sossou to Beninese women, there is not in the country a single politician (all tendencies combined), no personality, no opinion leader, no dissenting voice authorized to condemn, and repress with the utmost rigor these words and the author. Such outrageous remarks objectifying the whole of women by reducing it to a mining deposit which could stir up the enemy’s lust and which should only be exploited sparingly for personal enjoyment.

I am the father of two children – including a talented teenage girl, I am the son of my mother, a pioneer of the first class of women who joined the national police of Benin after our independence, and I am married to a woman whose leadership is researched on international development issues. In the name of our collective responsibility to bequeath to the future generation a more just and equitable country in terms of gender equality, I cannot pass this affront in silence without vigorously denouncing it, this display of prejudice or discrimination based on gender, against women and girls particularly in Benin.

It is therefore important that the entire Beninese political class, all Beninese and Beninese unreservedly condemn and denounce these misogynistic remarks by Dakpê Sossou who should immediately resign from his role as deputy representing the people. It is essential that the President of the Progressive Union Bruno Amoussou Party, from which the deputy Dakpê Sossou came, to expel him without any form of trial and this in the name of values ​​that would not have to be associated with a character morally at odds with human values ​​so that misogyny and sexism are never banned from political debate in Benin.

* Omar Arouna has served as Benin’s Ambassador to the United States, Mexico and Benin’s representative to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He is currently the Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board of the New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA.

The New York Center for Foreign Policy Affairs (NYCFPA) is a policy, research, and educational organization headquartered in New York State with an office in Washington D.C. NYCFPA is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, institution devoted to conducting in-depth research and analysis on every aspect of American foreign policy and its impact around the world. The organization is funded by individual donors. The organization receives no corporate or government donations.

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Sierra Leone: What Will Fulfilling the recommendations of the TRC Report Mean For Peace?
February 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report (TRC) remained an indelible mark towards the building of a better, peaceful, and democratic Sierra Leone whose tenets should be based on respect for human rights, freedoms of individuals and the independence of its democratic institutions whilst upholding its values and objectives for which they are created.

 The report has been widely hailed as a frank and honest account of one of the darkest histories of our nation; highlighting the causes of the war, its findings in addition to many imperative recommendations to be done by the government in order not for this small West African nation not to repeat its ugly history again and to facilitate the building of a new country.

“The recommendations contained in this chapter are designed to facilitate the building of a new Sierra Leone based on the values of human dignity, tolerance and respect for the rights of all persons.  In particular, the recommendations are intended to help create an open and vibrant democracy in which all are treated as equal before the law,’’ TRC No. 2

Like the TRC recommendation said, it is geared towards the creation of a new country considering the experience we have had in the eleven years civil war which led every thing in our small nation to broke down completely and tear apart our democratic institutions and credentials, thus it’s no gainsaying that the report ought to be taken seriously for the betterment and development of the country. It has been almost two decades since this report was put together in 2004, however, government’s implementation of some of the recommendations of this important report still remains a huge challenge. No doubt those who work on the TRC meant well for this country and it is us that has the responsibility of making our country an ever-lasting peaceful nation on the face of the earth.

The recommendations are many from political, legal and administrative reforms to be taken by the government and also the need for a new constitution so as to review some of the discriminatory laws, in addition to need for an independence judiciary among others.

“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Act 2000 (“the Act”) requires the Commission to make recommendations concerning the reforms and measures, whether legal, political, administrative or otherwise, needed to achieve the object of the Commission; namely, providing an impartial historical record, preventing the repetition of violations or abuses suffered, addressing impunity, responding to the needs of victims and promoting healing and reconciliation,’’ TRC Report No 1. Stated.

The causes of the country’s civil war are still evident even today from lack of good governance, delay in court trials, lack of respect for human rights of citizens among others are part and parcel of our challenges as a post war nation but many believed that we are almost more two decades from our bitter war experience that should be at least enough for us to have learnt from the many challenges we have gone through. Many people do not have access to the TRC report, some do not know much about what happens during the internecine war and why it is important for them to get understanding of their recent past cannot be over emphasised although regrettably past and present governments, and even civil society institutions have failed to disseminate this all-important document to every citizen and every school, universities and education centres across the country in local languages as recommended by the report.

“The Commission recommends the widest possible dissemination of its Report.  The Commission calls upon the government and civil society to facilitate the accessibility of the report to all, literate and illiterate, in local languages,’’ TRC report No.  543.
However, it is important to note that the country have made many progresses with the establishment of democratic institutions like the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, reforming the country’s judiciary, police, the military, and more recently the passing into law the National Peace and Social Cohesion Commission among others.  

More than ever, the country has a freer media than at any other time in the history of our nation, there is at least much improvement of the fundamental human rights and freedoms of individuals although there is also an abundant need to review the almost thirty years multi-party constitution in order to address issues of rights and freedoms of the individuals and to make review on some of old laws that discriminates some individuals as dictated by the TRC recommendation.

 History Professor and former lecturer at Fort Valley State University in the United States of America, Professor Peter Dumbuya had this to say “the TRC’s overarching objectives were to create a record of the atrocities the various warring factions committed during the civil war and to seek the truth about the war’s origin in order to promote reconciliation.

“Historians have utilized the report to (re)construct the modern political history of Sierra Leone society. I don’t know whether we’ve learned the lessons of the past. Partisan, ethno-regional politics are rampart, and so is corruption. Political violence mars elections as evidenced by recent parliamentary elections. The fact that these societal issues continue to exist, it underscores the failure of post-war governments to implement the TRC’s recommendations, ‘‘Professor Dumbuya added.

Professor Dumbuya further added that when the TRC Report is fully implemented, the recommendations would have transformed the country into a liberal democracy where an individual’s talents matter more than their ethnicity or region and human rights are respected.

“I hope we don’t see a repeat of the conflict. The people of Sierra Leone have to remain engaged in how their country is governed. They have to hold their leaders accountable at periodic elections,’’

Like the report said, the commission is of the view that the adoption of its many recommendations will help the people of the country and to rise above our bitter conflicts we experienced.

“The Commission is of the view that the adoption of its recommendations will assist the people of Sierra Leone to rise above the bitter conflicts of the past, which caused unspeakable violations of human rights and left a legacy of dehumanisation, hatred and fear,’’ TRC Report No. 3

Thus, it is important as a nation to fulfil the many recommendations especially the imperative recommendations of the TRC by the government as this will cement our nation towards a lasting peace. Peace they say cannot be sustained without respect for human rights and freedoms of the individuals and the independence of its democratic institutions.

*This article is produced with support from MRCG through the ATJLF project on “Engaging the media to change the narrative on Transitional Justice (TJ) issues in Sierra Leone.

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Q and A with Dr. Andrew Nkoyoyo On The Power of Miracles
February 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

The Kingdom Impact Ministry led by Dr Andrew Nkoyoyo reaches audiences in 195 countries daily through its broadcast and streaming media
The Kingdom Impact Ministry led by Dr Andrew Nkoyoyo reaches audiences in 195 countries daily through its broadcast and streaming media

Miracles are not the exclusive reserve of a select few, says Dr Andrew Nkoyoyo Founder and President of the Kingdom Impact Ministry.  In his latest book titled Catch and Release God’s Supernatural: Keys to Operating in God’s Miracles, Healing, and Power, Dr Nkoyoyo demystifies the notion that accessing God’s supernatural power is always reserved for those involved in ministry and endowed with unique spiritual gifts. The influential and busy preacher took time off his hectic schedule to field questions from PAV on his ministry, new book, and more.

Dr. Andrew Nkoyoyo, thanks for accepting to answer our questions and we will like to start with an introduction, for those who do not know you, who is Dr Andrew Nkoyoyo?

Dr. Andrew Nkoyoyo is the founder and president of the Kingdom Impact Ministry. He is a revivalist, international speaker, host of the Kingdom Come television pro- gram, apostolic/prophetic minister, author, missionary from Uganda, East Africa to the United States of America. Additionally, Andrew is a member of Harvest International Minis- try, an apostolic network. After many years of evangelistic, apostolic, and revival work in Africa,

God called him into the mission field of America in mid-1999. Andrew demonstrates a powerful anointing that has brought many people to salvation, healing, deliverance, and enabled them to engage in the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. He trains, mentors, and equips the body of Christ to walk in the highest realms of God’s supernatural power and glory. He has impacted lives face to face in over twenty countries and reaches people daily in over 195 countries through his Kingdom Come broadcast program and streaming media. Andrew has shared miracle healing and revival stories on Sid Roth’s television program It’s Supernatural. He has also shared the platform with world renown speakers and Christian recording artists such as The Newsboys, For King and Country, Nick Vujicic, Jaci Velasquez, Sidewalk Prophets, Kutless, The Afters, Uncle Reese, and many more.

Andrew is the author of Working the Works of God, a book expounding on the keys to supernatural ministry. Together with his team, he carries the message of holiness, healing, transformation and revival to America and the nations.

In his healing schools and in miracle crusade services, conferences, churches, festivals, media outreaches, and revival centers around the world, he ministers the gospel with manifestations of supernatural signs and wonders.

Andrew Nkoyoyo accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior at age fourteen. His ministry began one year later when he prayed for a blind man, and God instantly healed him in front of the large crowd. At sixteen, Andrew held his first evangelistic gospel crusade, and by eighteen, he launched out in full-time ministry. Since then, God has been using Andrew in international healing and prophetic ministry. He has conducted gospel crusades and conferences in Africa, Europe, and North America.

Andrew was at the forefront of a prayer and outreach movement that ignited a nationwide transformational revival in his native country of Uganda, Africa. He is touching lives through his prophetic ministry and by demonstrating God’s supernatural power. As a result, many are saved, healed, set free, and empowered to reach their God- ordained destiny.

In September of 2014, Jesus appeared to Andrew and commissioned him, saying, “Focus on being My voice. Bring people back to Me. Prepare them for My return, and call My church to awaken to fulfill the great commission.” For this reason, Andrew focuses on inspiring and impacting lives in the churches and communities toward a great spiritual revival that has the power to transform society by equipping people to catch and release God’s supernatural love and power daily.

Andrew is married to Mona, and they have four beautiful children and make their home in Montrose, Colorado, in the United States of America.

Could you tell us a little more about the Kingdom Impact Ministry that you run, what is its mission, where is it located and what is its reach?

Our mission is to bring people back to Christ, prepare the Church—the bride of Christ for His soon and eminent return to earth, mobilize and equip the Body of Christ to fulfill the great commission in the power of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of miracles, signs and wonders.

Our ministry is located in Montrose, CO, United States of America

We reach audiences in 195 countries daily through our broadcast and streaming media.

What makes your ministry stand out from the ones that we see all over the world?

What makes our ministry unique from other ministries is the fact that we not only preach and teach the Word of God in power but we are also showing everyday Christians how to operate in God’s power to impact their own lives and their world. That’s what many people who are part of our ministry tell us.

In addition to leading the ministry, we also understand you are an international speaker, host of the Kingdom Come TV program, and author, how do you juggle all these roles?

So, I don’t burn out, I only accept a few speaking engagements each year that are in line with God’s vision for our ministry. I also, have created a repeatable schedule for my team and I to follow in accomplishing the various tasks. That way, we have plenty of margin in our time to spend with God in prayer and His Word, family and ministry. I use time management techniques such as time blocks to organize my everyday work such as writing for an hour from three to four o’clock in the afternoon.

Catch and Release God’s Supernatural: Keys to Operating in God’s Miracles, Healing, and Power is the title of your latest book, can you shed some light on this for us, what is the message you seek to convey in the book?

In Catch and Release God’s Supernatural, I burst the myth that many Christians have that accessing God’s supernatural power is always reserved for those involved in ministry and endowed with unique spiritual gifts. After all, a lot has been said about miracles, but unfortunately, not much has been done to support the possibility, this book changes that.  The reader will discover that the ability to access and operate in God’s supernatural power is something that all believers have and can cultivate, and don’t need to possess unique spiritual gift.

Also, Catch and Release God’s Supernatural, shows the reader how to activate their faith to operate in the power of God to impact their lives and the lives of others through miracles, healing, deliverance, signs and wonders.

As I shares true stories of miracles I’ve experienced both personally and in ministry in every chapter, l take the reader by the hand to teach them how they too can operate in the same power. Regardless of their spiritual maturity or call, even if they’re a new believer with no prior experience in God’s supernatural, God has given them the keys to access heaven. So within the pages, I:

  • Show the reader how the power of God will make a shift in their life
  • Reveal the simple yet powerful kingdom keys, secrets, and methods needed to release God’s supernatural
  • Guide them step by step on how to apply each kingdom key in their life


Even before they finish reading the book, their confidence in God’s ability to use them will increase, and the wall of impossibilities will come tumbling down. I invite the reader to simply open the cover, start reading, and then get ready to catch and release the supernatural power of God!

In Catch and Realese, the reader will discover that the ability to access and operate in the supernatural power of God is something all believers have and can cultivate,says Dr Nkoyoyo.
In Catch and Realese, the reader will discover that the ability to access and operate in the supernatural power of God is something all believers have and can cultivate, says Dr Nkoyoyo.

Can you situate the importance of miracles in the world we live in today, and how are they triggered?

The ministry of Jesus was more than eighty percent miracles? Why? Because miracles are proof of God’s love, grace, mercy, God’s nature, character and power to us.

Also, miracles bring the presence and power of an invisible God and reveal Him in our physical world as we experience healing, signs and wonders.

Miracles are also a sign and wonder to those who doubt the power of God or don’t believe the gospel of Christ and His deity.

Miracles are triggered when we use one or more of the Biblical keys, methods and steps that are covered extensively in Catch and Release God’s Supernatural.

What gives some people the ability to work or invoke miracles and not others?

The Holy Spirit supplies His power or the power of God to every Christian. So, every believer in Christ has the ability to work miracles. The only problem is that most Christians don’t know the Biblical keys, methods, steps to take to unlock the miracle-working power in and through their lives. That’s why, I wrote Catch and Release God’s Supernatural to show them how.

There are many ordinary people out there who cling tightly to what religious leaders tell them, how can they make a distinction between real and fake miracles, we have sometimes read some men of God using different powers from diverse sources for miracles that will give them fame, how do Christians know who to trust when it comes to miracles?

The Bible tell us to test all spirits. We do that by testing those men and women to make sure that their theology (preaching and teaching) is in line with the Word of God. Are they using nonbiblical ways to get the power or minister that power to their audience? Do they require their parishioners to do certain rituals, drink the so-called holy water or give money to get the anointing? If so, those ministers are out of line with the Bible and not ministering from true Spirit of the living God. 

May we get your take on the penchant for African church leaders, even very prominent ones to make prophesies about US elections that sometimes fall flat, one prominent said in 2016 that God had revealed a victory of Hillary Clinton, and this cycle, many are those who went public that God had revealed a Trump victory to them, what do you make of this? 

This is a concern of mine as well, but I would rather deal with this issue separately in a different article in the future if you would like.

Dr Nkoyoyo is familiar with realities in a continent like Africa and the development challenges there, in Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, and many other countries, there has been a boom in churches, with people spending a great deal of time of church, do you think the continue can pray its way to the change and progress it needs?

 Though I have invites from the highlighted countries above, I have never traveled there yet. Instead of those you can include Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana.

Prayer is crucial to seeing a spiritual and moral revival but in order to see transformation of society, prayer and has go hand in hand with action out of the church into communities. There’s power in power, but prayer alone is not enough. They need to become the answers to their prayers by taking action to impact society. In the book is a story of revival and transformation that will both encourage and also show them how to partner with God through prayer and action.

For those interested in getting the book, where can it be obtained and for those who may read and have questions of a religious or spiritual nature, can they reach out to you?

They can get the book from our website: https://www.kingdomimpactministry.org/supernaturalGod or Amazon.com

Can they reach out to you?

Sure. They can contact me at contact@kingdomimpactministry.org

*Culled from February Issue of PAV Magazine

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For Prophet Lovy 2021 A Year Of Walking With The Presence Of God
February 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

God desires us to be in a higher place with Him, so that we can achieve and receive what He has given us to do,says Prophet Lovy
God desires us to be in a higher place with Him, so that we can achieve and receive what He has given us to do,says Prophet Lovy

2021 should be a year of walking in the presence of God and seeking his face continually says Prophet Lovy L. Elias, Pastor & founder of the Revelation Church of Jesus Christ in Los Angeles, California. The declaration made during his crossover service, came from a message received from God, he says.

“God desires us to be in a higher place with Him, so that we can achieve and receive what He has given us to do,” says Prophet Lovy in an interview with PAV. According to the Kenyan born and raised Prophet, the manifestation of God is dependent on the realms we walk. If you walk the realm of the lukewarm, the manifestation of God that you receive will be lukewarm, says Prophet Lovy who also fielded questions on the Revelation Church, COVID 19, and more.

Thanks for accepting to grant this interview Prophet Lovy, to readers out there who do not know you, could we start with an introduction in your own words, who is Prophet Lovy?

 I’m a simple man who loves God and desires to live for Him, in every way.

How did you receive the calling, we understand at some point you were into music, can you walk us into the transition and transformation into the Prophet Lovy the world knows today?

God began to speak to me from the age of 6, and anyone who knows something about the prophetic will understand that music is a huge part of it. The journey through music was a conduit of the work God gave me to do today. I already knew I would do music, then begin to minister inside the church and then to the world. Ministry is what God tells you to do; so, being an artist was a part of my early ministry.

With regards to the Revelation Church of Jesus Christ that you lead, what is driving philosophy of the church and what is its membership like?

The philosophy of the church is very simple: it is to LOVE God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself. By doing so we are able to win the world back to God and forever change lives. Our church body is incredible. We are a family, we are continuously growing, and the most amazing part is our love for the Lord Jesus, the lost and those who suffer.

How did COVID 19 affect the operations of the church and what adjustments did you do to stay connected with your Christians and to keep things running?

On the contrary, we did greater exploits during this COVID-19 Pandemic than we ever had before. We understand nothing can stop the move of God. Throughout Christian history it is evident that the move of God was impossible to stop. When opposition arose, God would show up and His mighty hand would be displayed through the exploits of His children. Our ministry grew even greater during the break, our online ministry grew even stronger and we were able to buy our first church building, by reason of the Hand of God upon us. What people think is a disadvantage is actually the opposite. What is disadvantageous to others is an advantage for those that believe God.

In your cross over service you declared 2021 a year of walking with the Presence of God and seeking His face continually, can you shed more light on this?  

God spoke to me. He said He desires us to walk not only in a deeper relationship with Him, but also in deeper realms of Him. God is manifested in the realms you walk in. The manifestation of God is dependent on the realms you walk in. If you walk in the realm of “lukewarm” the manifestation of God you have will be lukewarm. As it is written “Draw closer to me and I will draw closer to you” It is imperative to be rooted in God and consistently go deeper. God desires us to be in a higher place with Him, so that we can achieve and receive what He has given us to do.

There are many today who claim all sorts of titles and with bizarre things done in the name of God, with prophecies that are phony, what advise does Prophet Lovy have to enable ordinary people out there distinguish between men and women of God who are real and those that are charlatans?

The reason people are deceived is because they don’t have a relationship with the Holy Spirit. The seal of a man or woman of God is the Presence of God with them. It is not in the words they speak. Many people are caught up in the words others say, but it is about the manifestation of Jesus with them. The bible says in the last days, there will be so much deception that if it were possible (key phrase is IF IT WERE POSSIBLE) the very elect would be deceived. According to the bible, it is impossible to deceive the elect.  My advice is to not look to what people say, but for you to continually look to your relationship with God.

What is disadvantageous to others is an advantage for those that believe God, says Prophet Lovy on how his Church has fared during the COVID pandemic.
What is disadvantageous to others is an advantage for those that believe God, says Prophet Lovy on how his Church has fared during the COVID pandemic.

You recently announced the official opening of the new worship center and headquarters of the Revelation Church on the 7th of February 2021, can Prophet Lovy share some insights on the new structure and how the launching will look like?

We welcome everyone to visit and experience for yourselves. All I can say is that this is going to be powerful and it will glorify God.

With your church located in California, what ties does Prophet Lovy maintain or have with Kenya, the D. R. Congo, and the rest of Africa?

I was born and raised in Kenya; I will always love Africa and by God’s grace I will be there with you all in the times to come.

Prophet Lovy Elias is also a life coach to celebrities and athletes and a businessman, how do you blend these other activities with your pastoral duties?

They are my pastoral duties. Prophets were advisors to kings and regular citizens. Where God calls you and who God calls you to will always be connected to your calling and mission in the earth. The prophet’s duty is to lead you to God for eternal success, and to who all who are called to hear me God will meet them as he has met me.

Any last word to wrap up this interview?

I am grateful to have taken part in this interview, with you. For all those who are reading, the Lord Jesus bless and keep you. Shalom.

*Culled from February Issue of PAV Magazine

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Angola’s oil and gas industry can thrive alongside its rich Biodiversity
February 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Angola can balance environmental protections with ongoing hydrocarbon exploration, just as is foreseen by its constitution

By Verner Ayukegba

Paulino Jerónimo, President of the Administrative Council, ANPG

Last month, reports that Angola was drafting legislation to permit oil, gas and mining activities in 14 national conservation areas, including the Luengue-Luiana National Park, which represents part of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area stretching across Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe led to protests by environmentalist groups. Local environmentalists were outraged, likely weary of test drilling that had begun days earlier on the Namibian side of the Okavango Delta, an internationally recognized biodiversity hotspot.

On January 21, Angola’s Minister of Mineral Resources, Petroleum and Gas, H.E Diamantino Pedro Azevedo responded, providing clarifications in which he noted that, Angola’s existing stringent environmental legislation would be complied with and the interests of local populations would be safeguarded, as the country holds an upcoming public tender for the assessment of several onshore interior basins. Further clarifications have also been provided by Angola’s industry regulator, the Agência Nacional de Petróleo, Gás e Biocombustíveis (ANPG).

“It was necessary to review the legislation on protected areas, but this does not mean the end of biodiversity,” said Minister Azevedo. “There is a need to explore these resources – the solution is balance. We are sensitive to environmental issues, but we are also rational. There are those who, for political interests, defend extreme positions, but it is necessary in politics to be rational.”

As sub-Saharan Africa’s second-largest oil producer, Angola has taken one of the most balanced approaches to global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards in the region when it comes to oil and gas exploration, placing environmental protections and continued hydrocarbon production on equal footing within its constitution and national agenda. Angola’s 2010 constitution in Articles 12 and 24 explicitly outlines protection for the environment, providing a basis for the country’s Environmental Framework Act. According to Article 12,….. The State shall promote the protection and conservation of natural resources guiding the exploitation and use thereof for the benefit of the community as a whole. …and as per Article 24, All citizens shall have the right to live in a healthy and unpolluted environment. The State shall take the requisite measures to protect the environment and national species of flora and fauna throughout the national territory and maintain ecological balance. Acts that damage or directly or indirectly jeopardise conservation of the environment shall be punishable by law.

Offshore exploration, especially during the boom years of 2002 to 2008 made Angola one of the most prized destinations for the oil and gas industry globally. Output rose to nearly 2 Million barrels per day, providing Angola with much needed resources for its post-conflict reconstruction and making the country Africa’s second largest oil producer. These boom years, were also only possible, because Angola provided and continues to provide an environmental framework that is second to none globally. It is industry standard, particularly in a country that is home to all major International Oil Companies, that the highest environmental standards are adhered to when companies engage into exploration projects in Angola. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) plans mandated by Angola’s regulator (Currently the ANPG), are of the highest industry standards, when compared to other basins like Brazil and Mexico. In Angola, these assessments have to comply with a plethora of decrees and regulations that include mandatory public consultations, environmental auditing, restrictions on biodiversity, water and waste management. It is worth mentioning, that no major environmental disasters were registered, and some of the new technologies and exploration techniques developed in Angola under these stringent regulations were exported to other basins for the betterment of the entire industry.

Of the approximate 520,000 km² of sedimentary inner basins of Kassanje and Etosha/Okavango – the two regions in question – only 20% are in protected areas and as little as five percent of protected areas are being considered for responsible exploration and production activities, following the completion of environmental due diligence.

Yes – the proposed law will have implications for protected areas. It is intended to further ensure their protection whilst advancing oil and gas activity in the country in a responsible manner and in accordance with Angola’s constitution., The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) – carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Environment – aims to ensure that Angola’s rich biodiversity is protected. By identifying and assessing the impact of potential projects on the given ecosystem, as well as presenting appropriate mitigation measures, the EIA serves as a tool for making environmentally informed decisions regarding the division, allocation and development of resource-rich basins. Furthermore, exploration activities will be prioritized in areas outside of environmental protection zones and drilling will only be undertaken if no or minimal impact to the ecosystem is found.

It is worth noting that surface samples of crude oil and gas have been already collected in certain parts of the inner basins of Kassanje and Etosha/Okavango, in which there is a high probability that hydrocarbons are present. To deny the acquisition of further geological knowledge of the area not only erodes the basic tenet of resource sovereignty – that each State has the right to know of the existing resources in its territory – but also attempts to make a unilateral decision on behalf of the wider population.

The foundation for the draft legislation has been laid in both the National Development Plan 2018-2022 and revised Hydrocarbon Exploration Strategy 2020-2025 – authorized by Presidential Decree 282/20 – which seeks to intensify, research and geologically evaluate concessions and free areas of sedimentary basins.

In this respect, Angola’s regulator is ensuring stability and transparency, which lies in stark contrast to other major hydrocarbon producers where regulation is politically driven and does not always ensure environmental considerations. For example, former U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the lease to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge – 1,790 km² of protected ecosystem in Alaska – two weeks before leaving office, while newly elected President Joe Biden countered with an immediate moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal land. Angola is seeking to establish a long-term, institutional framework that provides for environmental considerations and ensures that hydrocarbon exploration is executed in a socially responsible manner as it happens, when it happens.  

Given the growing role of ESG criteria in reducing risk and attracting global investors – coupled with rising pressure on energy firms to “green” their portfolios – oil and gas multinationals and Angola’s National Oil, Gas and Biofuel’s Agency are acutely aware of the implications of fossil fuel investments for both their firms and the country. As a result, the ANPG, under the leadership of industry veteran Paulino Jerónimo, and multinationals have strengthened their commitment to ensure environmental due diligence, conducting impact assessments, implementing stricter environmental preservation measures and preventing or eliminating oil spills, water pollution, carbon emissions and habitat disruption associated with oil and gas drilling. In other words, the decision to develop any acreage will not be taken lightly, nor will Angola pursue any development without taking into consideration local community interests and the environmental impact of such a development.

*Source Africa Oil & Power Conference. This article is published by Africa Oil & Power for Angola’s oil and gas regulator, the Agência Nacional de Petróleo, Gás e Biocombustíveis.

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AFSIA releases the 1st Africa solar outlook report
February 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire 

The Africa Solar Industry Association (AFSIA) has launched its first annual Africa Solar Outlook report to help solar professionals keep track and better navigate the fast-evolving solar environment across the continent. 

 It is reported that the report is a country-by-country review of the key drivers for successful solar development. It aims at being the solar decision-maker companion by providing clear and concise information about the solar dynamics in each country. 

On top of the country vignettes, the report also goes deeper into some of the main segments  which compose the solar industry: large-scale projects, C&I (commercial and industrial, often referred to “auto-consommation” in french), MGs (mini-grids) and SHS (Solar Home Systems). 

 Its is added that the solar industry in Africa is truly booming thanks to new and more flexible technologies brought to market, but also thanks to drastic cost reductions of both solar panels and storage solutions. These new and improved technologies now make it possible to enjoy electricity reliably and affordably where it previously simply was not possible. And solar also offers a significant improvement in locations where the grid is present but is erratic or too expensive.

John van Zuylen, CEO of AFSIA, comments “We are entering a decade of wonderful prospects for solar in Africa, a decade in which solar professionals are in a position to achieve universal electrification targets across the continent, thereby impacting the living conditions of 600 million people, and boost the continental economy by providing better and cheaper electricity to the companies and industries that have been asking for it for so long. This decade has already started and it promises to be a wonderful journey for the African solar industry. Solar is no longer the energy of tomorrow, it is the energy of today.”

AFSIA is the reference association for solar professionals in Africa.

Africa Solar Industry Association promotes solar power in the African region from large scale grid-connected projects to off-grid solar home systems, through hybrid systems including diesel and storage to solar water pumping, solar stoves or solar water heaters.

The association is headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda and its regional coverage stretches from Egypt to South-Africa, from Cape Verde to Madagascar. AFSIA organizes networking opportunities for solar professionals and end-users, and gives them access to the right information and the appropriate network to expand their business and strengthen the solar industry across the continent.

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