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Cameroon: The Fisherman’s Diary Gets 9 Nominations at AMAA 2020
December 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Fresh from being nominated in fifteen (15) categories at the Golden Movie Awards in Ghana, Cameroonian movie The Fisherman’s Diary has received nine (9) nominations at the 2020 African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) in Nigeria.

Kang Quintus who was nominated as best actor in the Golden Movie Awards has been nominated as Best Actor at the AMAA 2020. The Fisherman’s Diary has been nominated for Best Film, while Enah Johnscot has been nominated for Best Director.

Ndamo Damarise has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress, with Cosson Chinepoh getting nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Faith Fidel, one of the most promising actresses in the Cameroonian movie scene at the moment was nominated for Most Promising Actor.

“We have had 61 festival selections so far in 29 countries internationally. Recently, we became the first film to win 6 awards at the Festiva Ecrans Noirs in Yaounde. It is a sign to say we have a product that does not only cut across Cameroonians but cuts across the national boundaries,” Kang Quintus told Pan African Visions shortly after the nominations at the Golden Movie Awards.

“We have made waves in 29 countries and 6 nominations in a festival like that with other great films in Africa and we dominating the entire festival is an honour for not just me but the entire country Cameroon. It tells us that the Cameroonian cinema is there and we are ready to compete with any other country and not just in Africa but the world at large.” “… It was a lot of time and talent that went into the project and this is just a reflection of hard work that went into the film.”

Full nominations

Best actor – Kang Quintus

Best Film – Fisherman’s Diary

Best Director – Enah Johnscot

Best Cinematographer – Rene Etta

Best Screenplay – Enah Johnscot and Buh Melvin “BABA PROX”

Best Supporting Actress – Ndamo Damarise

Best Supporting Actor – Cosson Chinepoh

Most Promising Actor – Faith Fidel

Best Sound Track – Ewube

What is The Fisherman’s Diary all about?

The movie directed by Enah Johnscott and produced by Kang Quintus is a storey of a 12-year-old Ekah (Faith Fidel) who got inspired by Malala Yousalzai, the youngest noble prize winner.

She is determined to go to school in a village of fishermen where it is considered as taboo. He drives to break this adage gets her embroiled with her father Solomon (Kang Quintus) experience with girl child education, critiqsite reported.

The film features other actors such as Ramses Nouah, Onyama Laura, Neba Godwill, Mayohchu and Daphne Njie.

The film has won best film in India and New York, picking up Best director, best film, best soundtrack and best production nominations at the prestigious PAMA in Paris, France.

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Sierra Leone: CODE, FRI launches Distance learning in crisis programme in BO and Kambia
December 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

The Canadian Organisation for Distance Learning in Crisis (CODE), in partnership with Farm Radio International (FRI) through its local partners The Association of Language and Literacy Educators (TALLE) in Sierra Leone has on Monday 30th November, 2020 launched the Distance Learning in Crisis 240 – DLC, in Bo and Kambia respectively.

The program which  is called “Reading on the Waves” is designed to support education during the COVID-19 crisis which is a family literacy initiative that  will support parents’ ability to engage their children in reading and learning activities by helping to ensure that students do not lose the progress already made through daily radio-programming in addition to supporting them return to school once formal education resumes. For Sierra Leone, school is in progress thus the program will complement the effort of techers in schools

According to a statement from FRI, it said, as part of this partnership, they are  committed  to supporting to plan, design, produce, and broadcast one series of 65 gender-sensitive, interactive programs on family literacy adding that they will work with 4 radio stations to broadcast Reading on the Waves in Sierra Leone which include SLBC in Bo and Radio Kolenten in Kambia that will be producing and Rebroadcasts to Radio Newsong in Bo and Radio Cat Bamie.

“The radio programs aim to change that — and do it safely from a distance — by reaching 350,000 families between the two countries (Sierra Leone) and Liberia, and 70,000 school children — both girls and boys. Working with local writers in Liberia and Sierra Leone, CODE has developed a reading anthology, filled with fun stories, and activities. Different stories talk about safety, handwashing or math, or even local folklore in entertaining, locally relevant, ways,’’ the statement reads.

FRI  said, each radio program is hosted by one radio broadcaster and one teacher — so the magic of radio can combine with good pedagogy to create programs that are both entertaining and educational stating that this marks the first time Farm Radio International has run programs targeting literacy specifically, and the first time they have worked directly in Sierra Leone and Liberia. 

“We’re excited about this new partnership with CODE,” said Caroline Montpetit, the regional program manager for West Africa. 

“We look forward to making radio in a way that can improve literacy rates and support teachers and families not only in their learning objectives, but in improving gender equality and relationships between families.”

Benjamin Fiafor, Regional Representative Farm Radio International for Liberia and Sierra Leone in a statement, said  that the distance learning project is a timely project, adding that the initiative will enable as many people as possible to take advantage of radio to learn in the country.

“In the current situation we believe, this is what we can do, we need to continue even after the Covid -19 situation have become normal. We believe that, this has become part and parcel of our method of training, our method of working with our partners. we will still continue to work from a distance even though there are some challenges,’’ he said.

He said  notwithstanding the challenges, they  still believe in the face to face, as they can’t continue just working from a distance, but promised that they will definitely combine the two to enable them  to have a very good interaction at the same time working relationship with their  partners, the radio stations and other communities in Sierra Leone.

“We also notice very good cooperation from the people who participated because they recognized that this is something that is coming to help their children and the whole country. This is the first time we are seeing such a cooperation from the partners and the people we are working with. I commend them, that they need to continue providing all the necessary support in other projects in education, agriculture and any other area,’’ Fiafor added.

 Fiafor further added that they at Farm Radio International were very happy to have listened to the first programme and that they were pleased with it stating that the launch of the DLC programme in the country is a start of the relationship between FRI and Radio Stations in the country.

“As it is now, the programme is launched, it is a good programmed, we at Farm Radio International also we are very happy to have listened to the first programme, Radio stations with the communities, it’s great to know that we have great staffs. This project we see it as a short project, but we want to say that this is not just the end, but rather the beginning of the relationship between Farm Radio International and Radio Stations in Sierra Leone,’’ Regional Representative Farm Radio International lamented.

The Regional Representative FRI went on to say that they are looking forward to engage more stations in other capacity supports and also other projects in the coming years adding that as it is  the educational project will go up to the end of February next year  and hope that the programmes will be replayed by their partner stations to ensure that the learning continue beyond the time of the project.

“In terms of sustainability we are working together with the education department and we want to say this is very , very important for any project whatever we have started  with the radio stations , we do not expect to just end by the end of February ,the continuation part is very key for us, we want to see radio stations also support  in ensuring the airing of this  wonderful programmes if not its continues without the necessary project support,’’ Benjamin Fiafor stressed.

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US coordinator for counterterrorism travels to Mozambique to discuss new threats
December 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

    By Jorge Joaquim  

      

US coordinator for counterterrorism Nathan Sales is in Maputo to discuss terrorist threats, as the country faces an insurgency since 2017 by Islamist jihadists tgat have killed more than 2,500 people and displaced over 500,000 in north Mozambique’s mineral gas-rich Cabo Delgado province.

Acconrdig to a note from US Department os Stat, on December 2 and 3 during meetings with senior Mozambican government officials, Ambassador Sales will discuss ongoing efforts to counter ISIS-linked terrorism in the country and the region.

Sales also will explore ways the United States can help Mozambique enhance its civilian law enforcement capabilities and border security.

He will also go to Pretoria, South Africa on December 4, where will meet with South African officials to discuss the important role South Africa plays in regional security in Africa and ways to strengthen bilateral security cooperation.

The violence in Mozambique has spiked this year in this aid-dependent country. The insurgents have occupied a strategic port in the town of Mocimboa da Praia since August 12.

Mozambican troops who have been deployed in the region have been overwhelmed by shortage of weapons and equipment. More importantly, they lack military training and familiarization with the northern region.

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Kenya:Is Tomas Trucha plotting his way out of Leopard’s den?
December 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Coach Thomas Trucha

Kenyan Premier League side AFC Leopards kicked off the 2020/2021 season over the weekend on high by registering a 2-1 win against the 2016 champions Tusker FC.

Tusker opened the scoring via David Majak, but Robinson Kamura and Elvis Rupia struck a goal each to take the 13-time champions to the top of the table.

Ahead of their next Sunday match against the newly promoted Bidco United, daunting information has emerged that might destabilize the team’s spirit.

Coach Thomas Trucha has claimed that his life is in danger following threats to his agents by people claiming to be supporters of the club.

“The coach’s agent has been threatened by people claiming to be our supporters, and the coach doesn’t feel safe here,” said Dan Shikanda, the club’s chairman.

He added, “I talked to him yesterday, and he says because his representative has been threatened, he doesn’t think he is safe.”

Prior, it was speculated that the former Botswana’s Township Rollers boss is pushing his way out of the club over interference.

It was reported that Trucha is accusing some of the club officials of pushing for some players’ fielding on match days.

Speaking during the launch of the team’s shirt sponsor, Betsafe, Shikanda revealed that they would give away forward on Thursday.

“We will have a press conference tomorrow with the coach, and he will make a decision whether he will stay or leave,” said Shikanda.

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African Energy Chamber projects Africa’s Power Demand to Keep Rising Between 4-5% per year
December 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Energy Chamber forecasts that 2021 generation is likely to range between 870-900 TWh if demand picks up aggressively throughout the year.

The silhouette of the evening electricity transmission pylon

Africa’s electricity generation capacity has grown at an average of 4.8 percent per annum since 2008; The Chamber remains determined in its commitment to seek a fair and just resolution that puts forth the interests of African people, businesses, investors and economic growth; This is an excerpt taken from the Africa Energy Outlook 2021. Get your free copy today on www.EnergyChamber.org.

Total electricity generation in Africa stood at 870 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2019, an increase of 2.9 percent from 846 TWh in 2018. Africa’s electricity generation capacity has grown at an average of 4.8 percent per annum since 2008, compared to 2.7 percent globally. Nonetheless, Africa’s share of global electricity generation has been around 3 percent since 2000.

The African Energy Chamber forecasts that 2021 generation is likely to range between 870-900 TWh if demand picks up aggressively throughout the year following the gradual removal of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and economies opening more fully to international trade. Our base case forecast using a conservative 4.5 percent yearly growth (current stated policies) shows that electricity generation on the continent will increase by 25 percent, 55 percent and 141 percent of 2020 baseline levels to reach 1,057, 1,138 and 2,047 TWh by 2025, 2035 and 2040 respectively. This increases to 1,520 in 2030 and 2,700 TWh in 2040 in a more aggressive push to expand capacity at 6 percent per annum.

The latter assessment is premised on Africa aggressively pushing to expand electricity supply and modern energy services within the framework of the Africa Agenda 2063 on energy and infrastructure development. This will ensure that generation expansion will outpace population growth on the continent (Africa will have 1.8 and 2.45 billion people by 2040 and 2050).

Regarding the supply mix, natural gas (39 percent) constitutes the largest element in Africa’s electricity generation mix, followed by coal (29 percent), hydro (15 percent) and oil (10 percent).

While nuclear energy accounted for another 2 percent, the share of renewables (RE) in Africa’s generation mix is growing, albeit at a lower pace than in other regions (5 percent). Most of the RE growth comes from solar, wind and geothermal power plants, and this expected to continue into 2030. Africa generated 830 megawatts (MW), 5,748 MW and 7,236 MW of geothermal, wind and solar installed capacity in 2019, signifying growth rates of 17.4 percent, 26.1 percent and 60.2 percent respectively since 2010.

Nonetheless, most of these RE developments on the continent are limited primarily to Northern (Morocco, Egypt) and South-Eastern Africa (South Africa, Kenya). Given the declining costs of key RE technologies along with rising concerns over CO2 emissions, the level of renewables deployment, particularly solar and wind energy is expected to increase by 1.5 percent annually over the next decade to 2030.

Regarding sectoral electricity consumption, the industrial sector remains the continent’s largest user (41 percent) followed by residential (33 percent), commercial and public services (18 percent) and agriculture (4 percent). Transport consumes a small proportion (approximately 1 percent) while the remaining 3 percent was accounted for by other sectors.

At a sub-regional level, North Africa and South Africa account for more than 70 percent of Africa’s electricity demand.

This is an excerpt taken from the Africa Energy Outlook 2021. Get your free copy today on www.EnergyChamber.org. Engage with us on our social media using #ChamberNews #ChamberEnergy Outlook.

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber

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Ethiopia’s Conflict: A War Won to Preserve the Nation-State
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Lawrence Freeman*

Today, the Ethiopian government is reporting that the National Defense Forces have taken control of city of Mikelle, the capital city of Tigray, as well as the airport. This portends the effective defeat of the opposition forces that violently rebelled against the nation over three weeks ago, and the liberation of the Tigray region

Notwithstanding criticisms by some spectators, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was obligated to respond with force to safeguard the sovereignty of Ethiopia, in a similar manner to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s all-out war to preserve the Union.  The nation-state, which Prime Minister Abiy was defending, is not a coalition or association of separate states or semi-autonomous regions.  Rather it is a unique sovereign concept of self-governing that transcends various ethnic or religious beliefs. The nation-state is uniquely required to serve all its citizens and ensure the posterity of its people.  That is why throughout history, bloody wars have been fought to preserve the precious nation-state above all other considerations.  The military conflict was not a civil war, but more precisely, it was a war to preserve the integrity of the Ethiopian nation.

Prime Minister Abiy launched the now victorious military campaign against the leadership of the TPLF (Tigray People’s Liberation Front), not against the people of Tigray. The immediate cause for the government’s offensive was in response  to an early morning attack by the TPLF on November 4, on the Northern Command post of Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) located in Mekelle. This assault, which murdered many soldiers and seized equipment and ammunition, was deemed by the Ethiopian government, as “crossing the red line.” The government was compelled to respond with full force to safe the nation. No nation could continue to exist if it allowed its armed forces to be slaughtered. A six month state of emergency for the Tigray region was declared by the Council of Ministers on November 6. The stated intent of the government is to arrest and bring to justice a small “TPLF criminal clique” that has been funding and mobilizing to destabilize the nation.” (1)

TPLF Rejects Abiy’s Reform

To understand the underlying origin for this conflict requires reviewing the modern history of Ethiopia. In 1991, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of forces, overthrew the fascist-Marxist Derg regime and took over control of the government of Ethiopia. For the next twenty-seven years, the TPLF not only governed the northern Tigray region, but as well, exerted unparalleled influence over the central government and the other ethnic regions of the country.

A year after he was selected by the EPRDF to become the new prime minister in April 2018, Prime Minister Abiy initiated a democratic-reform process that included replacing the countries narrowly focused ethno-national parties with a new nation-wide Prosperity Party.  Three regional parties that were part of the EPRDF coalition joined the new Prosperity Party as equals, in effect dissolving the EPRDF. However, the TPLF refused to accept losing its dominant political power. It voluntarily declined to join the new party, leaving the TPLF isolated with weakened political power.

Ethiopia’s constitution and its federation of a central government coexisting with regional ethnic states was formed as a compromise to various ethnic-nationalities that historically had been marginalized. This dubious arrangement indicates the ethnic pressures prevalent in Ethiopia, which must be overcome to unify the nation.  Consideration should be given to modifying the constitution following next year’s national elections. It is now imperative to reinforce a national Ethiopian identity that transcends ethnic-nationalism. This is what Prime Minister Abiy intended with his reforms and the creation of the non-ethnic Prosperity Party.  (Read: Ethiopia’s Prosperity Party: A Revolutionary Necessity). Confronted by open rebellion from the TPLF leadership, Prime Minister Abiy had no choice but to respond forcefully, otherwise the very existence of Ethiopia would be put in danger.

In harmony with his Medemer philosophy, Prime Minister Abiy proclaimed that all Ethiopians should accept responsibility for their past offenses, and all should be forgiven. He embraced the belief that the slate should be wiped clean of the past, in order for Ethiopian society to unite in a common pursuit of prosperity for all. (2)

Without concern for the future of Ethiopia, the TPLF rejected Prime Minister Abiy’s outlook and proceeded to commence an open rebellion against the Ethiopian nation.

Chair Persons of the eight parties who also represent eight Regions as governing parties worked under the umbrella of the EPRDF coalition signed a document for the establishment of Prosperity Party. Photo Credit OPM

Abiy Acted to Preserve Ethiopia 

Prior to attacking the soldiers of the ENDF in Mekelle, which the TPLF viewed as a foreign army, the TPLF disregarded national election law. After Ethiopia’s elected government-the House of People’s Representatives-postponed national elections in March of this year due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the TPLF conducted its own illegal elections in Tigray in September, violating the nation’s decree.

Prime Minister Abiy charged the TPLF leadership of trying to derail his transition, making the country ungovernable by instigating religious and ethnic conflicts, and inciting violence against the central government in Addis Ababa.

Although, Prime Minister Abiy is an Oromo, and is the first non-Tigrayan to become prime minister since 1991, he is acting in the interest of all Ethiopians, not simply or narrowly on behalf of his ethnic origin. If, Prime Minister Abiy were to allow the TPLF to defy federal law and initiate an armed attack on the defense forces of the federal government without responding as he has, this would encourage other ethno-separatist movements to flout the authority of the nation. Thus, contrary to what people may have wanted to believe, Prime Minister Abiy’s military campaign to subdue the reckless TPLF leadership, was the best way to prevent the conflict from becoming a civil war.

Bronwyn Bruton of the DC based, Atlantic Council Africa Center, argued that intuitive calls for negotiations endangered the future of Ethiopia. In her blog post Ethiopia: Calls for Negotiation Are Driving Ethiopia Deeper Into War, written before the defeat of the TPLF, she wrote:

“The most effective means of discouraging the continuation of this conflict is to finally put pressure on TPLF leaders…to stand down…in the interest of protecting the local population. Abiy urgently needs to be persuaded that he can rely on the international community–and not only his army–to ensure that the TPLF will be prevented from returning to power. Counterintuitively, the fastest way for the international community to do that is to stop calling for negotiations, and to start demanding accountability for the TPLF.

Calling for negotiations, as so many are advocating, will only encourage TPLF leaders to believe that violence will permit them to fight their way to a bigger chair at the table. That is not only a losing strategy in Ethiopia–it sets up an extraordinarily dangerous precedent for the next armed insurgency that wants to challenge central authority.”

Ethiopia, East Africa’s leader in economic development and a key nation providing stability to the Horn of Africa. There are confirmed reports that the TPLF fired missiles across the border into Eretria, and on the Bahir and Gondar airports in Amhara, Ethiopia. Thus, it is clear that the TPLF posed an immediate danger not only to Ethiopia, but to the entire region, and had to be defeated.

President Abraham Lincoln meeting with his generals at Antietam, Maryland. (courtesy history.com)

Lincoln Waged War to Save the Union

U.S. history records a troubled and dangerous time when the Army of the Federal Government came under attack.

Six weeks after Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States on November 6, 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union on December 20, and demanded the removal of all federal troops. On December 26, 1860, Major Robert Anderson of the U.S Army in South Carolina, moved his 68 troops into Fort Sumter, an island in the Charleston Harbor. Immediately following his inauguration on March 4, 1861, President Lincoln was confronted with the threat of the dissolution of the United States. South Carolina, one of seven states that formed the Southern Confederacy on February 8, 1861, insisted that the Federal Fort Sumter belonged to them, and commenced a siege around the beleaguered federal troops.  President Lincoln had to make the most momentous decision of his two week old presidency, which he knew would impact the very existence of the United States; whether to send supplies to the troops or relinquish the fort. In the words of author Doris Goodwin:

“He [Lincoln] must make the decision between a surrender that might compromise the honor of the North and tear it apart, or a reinforcement that might carry the country into civil war.” (3)

On April 6, President Lincoln told the governor of South Carolina he would send provisions to the troops-no arms or ammunition. In response, Jefferson Davis, provisional president of the Confederacy, ordered Major Anderson to surrender the fort, which he refused. The Civil War officially began at 4:30 in the morning of April 12, when the Confederacy fired on Fort Sumter. President Lincoln rightly considered Fort Sumter as an outpost of the Federal Government, and thus an attack on the fort was an attack on the United States. Within days President Lincoln issued a call for 75,000 volunteers to join the Union Army to defeat the Southern rebellion and secure the very existence of the nation.

In President Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865, he discussed the reason for the federal government’s war against the rebel South. He remarked that while he was seeking to save the Union without war “insurgents were seeking to destroy it…seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide effects by negotiation.” The South, he said, “would make war rather than let the nation survive” and the North “would accept war rather than let it perish.”

President Lincoln made clear in this address, and throughout his entire tenure as president, that he would spare no effort, including the tremendous loss of life, to preserve the Union. The Confederacy, supported by the British, intended to abolish the Union, had to be defeated, even at the dreadful price of 750,000 soldiers perishing in combat. Americans and all people of the world should give thanks that President Lincoln was victorious, and that the United States of America survived as a sovereign nation.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (left) with former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

No Moral Equivalency

Throughout the entirety of the of the four year long war, President Lincoln would only describe the enemy of the Union as a “Southern Rebellion.” He never recognized the legitimacy of the Confederacy of Southern States, because, to President Lincoln there was only one government representing all of the United States.

Former Ethiopian Prime Minister from 2012-2018, Hailemariam Desalegn espoused a correlated judgement in regard to the TPLF in his argument: Ethiopia’s Government and the TPLF Leadership Are Not Morally Equivalent. On November 24, he admonished the international community’s view of the conflict:

“The key problem…is the assumption of moral equivalence, which leads foreign governments to adopt an attitude of false balance and bothsidesism.” He continued: In the meantime, those who are advocating dialogue with the TPLF leadership should carefully consider the full implications of what they are calling for, as they will open a Pandora’s box that other ethnic-based groupings are ready to emulate. Those calling for talks should understand that the very prospect of negotiating with the TPLF’s current leadership is an error—as matter of both principle and prudence.”

While Prime Minister Abiy was not fighting a civil war, analogous to President Lincoln he was forced to make decisions that would determine the very existence of Ethiopia. Nations must be supported against separatist, ethnic or religious movements that attempt to tear apart the fabric of national sovereignty. All human beings, regardless of where we were born, are united by our universal innate potential of creativity. The power of our creative-soul is what makes us distinctively human, unique from all other species. It is our common heritage.  The nation-state exists to promote the creative potential of all its citizens from the past to the present and into the future.  Thus, its value to civilization is inimitable and must be safeguarded at all costs.

Updates on the unfolding developments of Ethiopia, Office of the Prime Minister, November 6, 2020

2 Ethiopia’s Prosperity Party: A Revolutionary Necessity

Team of Rivals, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Simon and Shuster, New York, 2005

*Lawrence Freeman is a Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, who has been involved in the economic development policy of Africa for over 30 years. He is the creator of the blog: lawrencefreemanafricaandtheworld.com

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Ten years after the inaugural Development Effectiveness Review, The African Development Bank is once more shepherding African economies through a global crisis
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.” Akinwumi Adesina

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed health and economic crises across the world, including in Africa, undoing decades of economic growth and human development. Post-pandemic, comes the challenge of recovery and reviving growth.

The African Development Bank’ s 2020 edition of its Annual Development Effectiveness Review, (ADER) marks ten years since the report was first published to assess the institution’s and Africa’s progress. The report, which evaluates the Bank’s impact in 2019 in meeting strategic and cross-cutting objectives and on strengthening development impact, is even more relevant as one looks at the COVID-19 era challenges.

The current edition, released on 19  November, assesses the Bank’s progress on achieving each of its High 5 strategic priorities: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

Although much has changed in the last decade, one thing remains the same: the Bank remains at the forefront in guiding Africa’s economies in times of both progress and crisis.

As African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina notes in the 2020 report’s foreword: “We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.”

The inaugural ADER was released in 2011—covering the previous year—just as  regional member countries were emerging from the 2008 global financial crisis, which halted the continent’s impressive run of growth.  “With a collective GDP of $1.6 trillion, Africa looked on the verge of sustained economic take-off,” the executive summary noted. “Then came the global financial crisis, which reduced Africa’s growth to 3% in 2009 and set the continent back significantly. We acted swiftly to help African countries limit the effects of the global financial crisis.” In terms of the Bank’s impact and operations, the inaugural edition concluded, “Overall, over three quarters of our projects reached or surpassed their expected outputs,” noting there was room to improve.

Throughout the decade, the Bank continued to notch milestones in its operations. By 2012, its disbursement ratio stood at 22%– a significant improvement on the previous two years. Also at that time, 65% of new Bank projects were climate-proofed, a significant emerging priority for the institution.

ADER 2016 marked the first release of the report under the leadership of Adesina, and the introduction of the High 5 priorities as a benchmark for the Bank’s success while maintaining indicators from the earlier reports. The report also marked a shift toward greater decentralization of Bank operations to increase responsiveness to the needs of regional member countries. In 2015,the Bank exceeded its target of achieving a satisfactory rating on 78% of completed operations, hitting 83%.  Further, Ninety percent of completed operations had sustainable outcomes in that year, also beating expectations.

In the foreword to the 10th edition, Adesina notes the continent “has advanced steadily along the path towards a brighter future. Its progress has been driven by Africans’ determination to fulfil their potential as productive members of society and to forge better lives for themselves and their families, supported by continuing improvements in public services and infrastructure.”

Over the past years, the institution has posted strong progress toward meeting High-5 goals.  For example, in the 2015-2019 period, 20 million people gained access to electricity, while 74 million people benefited from improvements in agriculture and 69 million people gained better access to transport. 

The backdrop to these strong results is of course the continuing pandemic.  As the 2020 report notes, “despite… the expectation that 2020 would be another year of growth, the COVID-19 pandemic will put many of Africa’s recent development gains at risk.” GDP might decline by as much as 3.4%, as a result of sharply reduced trade, tourism and remittances as well as lower prices for commodities.

The Bank’s swift response, setting up a COVID-19 response facility worth up to $10 billion has helped cushion some of the economic and health impacts.

The road to recovery is expected to be long and difficult but the Bank remains in a position to help Africa build back better and smarter, and at the same time to continue to strengthen its own operations.

*AfDB

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“It brings us hope”: African Development Bank leads drive to deliver electricity to all
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

Kindergarten teacher Fatima Zahera Hagou recalls that just a generation ago, when the sun went down over the Moroccon countryside, her rural village of Dar Laain ground to a halt and locals bedded down for the night.

Nowadays, Dar Laain, about 25km southwest of Marrakech, booms with life after dark, thanks to the expansion of the electricity grid. Residents have benefited from youth clubs, a communal bathhouse and a busy women’s farming collective.

“I cannot imagine life in the village without electricity,” said Hagou. “It brings us hope.”

Given its importance to economic activity, quality of life and service delivery, energy is a cornerstone of the African Development Bank’s development strategy for the continent through its Light Up and Power Africa High-5 priority.

With other development finance institutions, the Bank plays a critical role in financing electricity projects.

Bank operations helped to install 291 MW of new power capacity in 2019, 60% of which was renewable, according to the institution’s Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) 2020, published on November 19. The Bank also installed or improved 435 km of power distribution lines and supplied 468,000 people with new electricity connections.

One of those people is Araya Hizkias, the owner of a water bottling company in South Sudan’s capital Juba. He used to rely on a diesel generator to keep his business going, which gobbled into his profits each month.

In November 2019 the city’s new power grid was partially commissioned under the Bank’s $38 million Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project, which aims to boost security and economic activity in a city still recovering from conflict.

“We don’t experience random damage to our machines anymore and things are working easier. We are making more savings and expanding production,” Hizkias said.

Despite these positive strides, access to electricity on the continent is still low, at 45%. The Covid-19 pandemic may further constrain the pace of expanding electricity access to millions of Africans not connected.

A key element of the Bank’s work to address energy shortages includes expanding investments in renewable energy. The Bank recently approved a new solar project in Sudan and new hydropower projects in Liberia and Madagascar.

In Chad, a Bank loan approved last year kickstarted the first phase of the 32 MW Djermaya solar project. The loan also covered a Partial Risk Guarantee, key to unlocking investment in the Central African country, which has enormous solar potential but currently depends heavily on polluting wood fuels.

The guarantee is an example of the Bank’s efforts to bridge the financing gap and leverage public and private sector investment to meet the continent’s energy demand. The International Energy Agency estimates that achieving reliable electricity supply in Africa would require a quadrupling of investments to around $120 billion annually through 2040.(link is external)

Achieving this will require innovation and partnerships that allow energy sector players to move faster to assure sustainable energy access even in remote or rural parts of Africa.

One solution is to decentralise energy networks. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Development Bank Board last year approved a loan of $20 million to support renewable-based, mini-grid solutions in the off-grid cities of Isiro, Bumba and Genema.

Someday, DRC and many other countries could be like Morocco, where the power grid now reaches most citizens, with some 40,000 new villages hooked up in the last two decades.

“Since I’ve had access to electricity, my business has grown. I can now afford to work on my art and expand my clientele,” said Mohamed Dakni, a 32-year-old welder in the village of Douar Bou Azza near Marrakech.

“I used to make small objects that I sold for a cheap price at the market. Today I can develop my business, my creativity, and make a better living.”

*AFDB

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African Businesses and Officials Demand Justice Against Disgraced Spanish Police Commissioner José Villarejo and Diario Rombe Founder Delfin Mocache Massoko
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments
According to a Spanish government indictment, Villarejo received money and worked with Massoko to discredit African businesses and politicians.


 Former Spanish Police Commissioner José Villarejo and Delfin Mocache Massoko, who manages Equatorial Guinea’s digital newspaper Diario Rombe, will be sued and brought to justice. According to a Spanish government indictment, Villarejo received money and worked with Massoko to discredit African businesses and politicians, using privileged information to sell and extort customers and conduct illegal spying activities.

Over the past few years, individuals tied to Diario Rombe have indeed been trying to extort companies and public officials, and threatened to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on them if their demands were not met. These are serious offences that should no longer go unpunished. As the affairs grows, it is becoming clear that not only did José Villarejo receive USD 5 million in exchange for working with other already disgraced individuals to discredit African companies and officials, but also kept making false public statements alleging wrongdoing from them.

This is a case where a corrupt police officer teamed up with unethical Equatorial Guinea blogger to blow well past the line of aggressive advocacy, and crossing into the territory of illegal extortion and spying in an attempt to enrich himself and his companions by extracting millions of dollars from African businesses and government officials.

Consequently, a criminal and civil complaint is currently being pursued by Centurion Law Group on behalf of the victims. This criminal and civil complaint demonstrates the continuous commitment to unmasking malicious actors behind some of the most egregious attacks on black businesses and everyday Africans. The fight against corruption and mismanagement should be aggressive and we must work together to get results.

The consequences of Delfin Mocache Massoko and Villarejo’s actions are far reaching, affecting not only individuals, but also entire African economies trying to recover from Covid-19 and economic slowdowns. Engaging in abuse of power for extortion purposes is a dangerous and illegal game and African executives and officials are now ready to stand up for their rights. Those found guilty will be held accountable for their actions, and Centurion Law Group intends to continue working with the Spanish authorities and other relevant jurisdictions to vigorously seek justice.

By calling out and seeking justice against those who threaten hardworking Africans, we expose criminals who hide behind their computer and blogs and launch attacks that threaten our public safety, our businesses, our jobs and our ability to get Africans out of poverty. Our firm, with other law firms in Spain, Europe and the United States and with the assistance of Spanish and European authorities, is sending a strong message that we will work together to investigate and hold these criminals accountable.

*SOURCE Centurion Law Group
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International Rescue Committee intensifies feeding programmes as Zimbabwe is named in top 16 global hunger hotspots
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire 

In a recent report from the World Food Programme, Zimbabwe was named amongst the world’s top 16 global hunger hotspots. In recent years, drought and crop failure exacerbated by macro-economic challenges have created a humanitarian crisis for over 7 million people in Zimbabwe with many people unable to meet their daily food needs. Inflation has eroded purchasing power and affordability of food and other essential goods is a daily challenge. Cyclone Idai last year, coupled with the COVID- 19 pandemic has compounded the situation as families have been unable to obtain income or access food due to movement restrictions. Over 125,000 people remain in need of humanitarian assistance across the 12 affected districts in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces following the cyclone last year. 

  It is in the midst of the scenario that the International Rescue Committee (IRC) has stepped in to supporting affected households with multi-purpose cash transfers and essential items such as smart agriculture inputs like drought resistant crops and drip irrigation to mitigate hunger and build resilience. 

  The IRC is also working to safeguard communities from the COVID-19 pandemic by raising awareness on COVID-19 risk factors, providing personal protective equipment, infection protection and control materials and building and installing water points to help people practice preventative methods.  10,222 households in Chimanimani and Chipinge are benefiting from feeding programmes while 4380 farmers from 34 operational Wards in Beitbridge and Nyanga are being supported with smart agriculture inputs.

Women and children are the most vulnerable in times of disaster, hence the IRC continues to offer psychosocial support and essential gender-based violence case management services through Safe Spaces in Manicaland.  

Zvidzai Maburutse, IRC Zimbabwe Country Director says,

“Climate change manifesting through frequent shifting weather patterns is affecting the ability of people to feed themselves because of a loss of crops and livestock. This has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic which has affected livelihoods that people rely on for daily survival.  Due to the gravity of the situation, the United Nations also scaled up launching a US$331.5 million aid appeal for Zimbabwe to help it recover from drought that has driven millions to the brink of starvation. At the IRC we are working to reduce the impact by providing cash as immediate support to buy basic needs. We are also looking at long term solutions like supporting communities to recover livelihoods through seeds that can withstand drought; water saving technology like drip kits and training of farmers on climate proofing.  Still, more needs to be done and we are appealing to donors and other partners to urgently assist with humanitarian support.”

The IRC began working in Zimbabwe in 2008 to respond to the devastating cholera outbreak and has since significantly scaled up our programming to work with local communities to improve sanitation, access to clean water, safe delivery for pregnant women, and livelihood opportunities and improved agriculture for farmers. 

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 28 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities.

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African Development Bank Invests in Pioneering SPARK+ Africa Fund to Deliver Clean Cooking Solutions
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Bank’s investment, which will come from its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), is expected to enable the participation of other interested investors.

The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a $5 million investment in the SPARK+ Africa Fund to deliver clean cooking solutions to over two million households across Africa.

The European Commission will contribute an additional €10 million. The Bank’s investment, which will come from its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), is expected to enable the participation of other interested investors. As an anchor investor, the Bank will channel first-loss equity from SEFA and the European Commission thematic blending facility.

In addition to delivering clean cooking technologies, the investment is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 15.9 Mt of CO2 equivalent, by cutting emissions from the use of inefficient stoves and open fires and forest degradation for wood fuel.

Switching to cleaner cookstoves reduces exposure to harmful cooking smoke and the time spent collecting firewood, a burden that falls disproportionately on women.

“By investing in the rollout of clean cooking solutions to millions of households, the Bank is also contributing to women’s empowerment, employment creation and reduced deforestation associated with charcoal production,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, African Development Bank Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

The investment complements the Bank’s wider efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said: “Positive health impacts from the reduction of household in-door air pollution also contributes to resilience toward diseases attacking respiratory systems such as COVID-19.”

Dymphna van der Lans, Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Cooking Alliance said: “The Clean Cooking Alliance is very pleased to have collaborated with Enabling Qapital, the African Development Bank, and the European Commission to develop this ground-breaking investment facility. We believe the SPARK+ Africa Fund will have a tremendous impact in the market and accelerate clean cooking sector growth to positively impact the lives of millions of people in the years to come.”

Xavier Pierluca, Managing Partner of Enabling Qapital stated: “We have designed the SPARK+ Africa Fund to take an ecosystem approach to further the outreach of quality solutions to low-income communities by offering tailored investment instruments throughout the value chain from design and manufacturing companies to last-mile distributors.”

SPARK+ Africa is a pioneering impact investment fund launched by Enabling Qapital and the Clean Cooking Alliance to channel debt and equity financing to enterprises that manufacture, distribute and finance clean cooking solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa. The Fund targets a capitalization of $50-70 million.

The scale of the challenge of widening access to clean cooking in Africa remains daunting, in part because much needed investment has been hindered by high perceived risks and, in many cases, a return profile insufficient to attract commercial investment. The SPARK+ Africa Fund is a direct response to this challenge and is a key component of the AfDB’s response to the clean cooking challenge. The investment in the Fund’s first-loss tranche will directly address a critical financing gap and enable the participation of other interested financiers.

The Clean Cooking Alliance works with a global network of partners to make clean cooking accessible to the three billion people who live each day without it. Enabling Qapital Ltd. is an impact investment advisory company with a track record in advancing financial inclusion and access to energy.

SEFA is a multi-donor special fund administered by the African Development Bank and anchored by the Governments of Denmark, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Spain ─ to support Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) projects in Africa.

The approval was made on November 24, 2020.

*AfDB
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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Natural Gas to Transform Africa
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk

 NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber

The continent’s gas industry is on the verge of real transformation, as the African Energy Chamber (AEC) notes in our 2021 Africa Energy Outlook.

Africa has already made an indelible mark in the oil industry. It is home to four of the world’s top 20 crude oil producers — Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, and Libya — and these same four countries also have some of the largest oil reserves in the world.

So far, it hasn’t made quite as much of a splash in the gas industry. The only African countries on the list of the world’s top 20 gas producers are Algeria and Nigeria, and one of the states that has the largest gas reserves is Mozambique, which is still several years away from bringing its major fields on line.

But the gap between African oil and gas doesn’t have to be permanent. The continent’s gas industry is on the verge of real transformation, as the African Energy Chamber (AEC) notes in our 2021 Africa Energy Outlook, released earlier this month. I’d like to describe what forms that shift might take — and explain how the changes would benefit Africans.

New Sources of Production

Some of the change I expect is going to happen in the upstream sector — that is, in the realm of exploration and production.

First, the continent’s current leading producers are likely to produce more. North African states such as Egypt and Algeria will account for part of this increase, as they are looking to ramp up development at existing natural gas fields. But another part of it will stem from programs designed to reduce the flaring of associated gas found in oil fields. Both Nigeria and Angola, for example, have plans to expand the use of associated gas. The former aims to deliver its production to the domestic market, while the latter is looking to split its production between the local market and the export-oriented Angola LNG project.

The upshot of these trends is that the list of Africa’s top gas producers will probably remain static until the middle of the decade. As the AEC’s outlook explains: “The (continent’s) top five crude oil producers — Nigeria and Angola from the west, and Algeria, Egypt, and Libya from North Africa — complete the top five natural gas producers for 2020 and 2021. These five countries contribute about 90% of the overall natural gas output from the continent for both (2020 and 2021), and the expected forecast suggests the share of these countries will remain the same going into the mid-2020s.”

At that point, though, new producers will start to play a more prominent role. Mozambique is due to launch its first greenfield project at Area 1 in 2024, and its offshore zone may become a major source of natural gas by 2025-2026. The Mauritania-Senegal offshore zone may follow a similar timeline, as the Greater Tortue/Ahmeyim blocks may begin yielding natural gas in 2023, followed later by the Yakaar-Teranga and BirAllah projects. What’s more, all four of the projects mentioned in this paragraph will support gas liquefaction plants capable of producing and exporting LNG.

By the end of the decade, then, there will be more than five countries accounting for the bulk of Africa’s total gas production. Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Egypt, and Libya will be joined by at least three others —Mozambique, Mauritania, and Senegal.

Domestic Consumption vs. Exports

Meanwhile, consumption patterns are going to shift along with production patterns. Once again, this shift is likely to begin once the large new fields in the Mozambique and Mauritania/Senegal provinces come online.

The change may not be obvious on a macro level, because it won’t be evident in the split between exports and domestic consumption. That is, Africa will continue to use about 70% of the gas it extracts and will export continue to the remaining 30%. As the AEC’s outlook explains, though, the geography of African gas exports will not remain static.

“The pattern has been relatively stable since 2012 with about 70% serving local markets, 20% exported to Europe and 10% exported to Asia,” the report states. “The mid-2020s LNG startups are also expected to distort this picture by increasing the market share for East Asia LNG exports. This development is, however, not (a consequence) of local markets’ (rising demand), but rather the shrinking ability of North African countries to maintain their export capacity to Europe on the back of strong domestic demand growth. By 2030, the expectation is effectively for East Asia and Europe to be inverted, while domestic market share remains constant.”

In short, Africa is on track to produce more gas by the end of the decade but will keep the same share of the total for its own use. At the same time, Asia will replace Europe as the most important market for African gas exports.

Gas Means Jobs

These trends are interesting, but you may want to ask: What do they mean for ordinary Africans, for people who are less concerned with production data and trade balances than with questions about how to support their families?

They mean a great deal.

As I’ve mentioned, the 2021 Africa Energy Outlook report projects that African gas production is going to rise, especially after new fields come on line and ramp up development in the middle of the decade. It also anticipates that African gas consumption will rise, even if domestic consumption continues to absorb a full 70% of total production.

As production goes up, upstream operators will create jobs. They will need people to help them build, operate, maintain, and repair production, transportation, and processing facilities. They will also need people to administer their local operations. Additionally, they will need to meet legal requirements or contractual commitments for local content, so they will need to hire African contractors. Those African contractors, in turn, will need employees of all kinds, and so will hire African workers.

And as consumption goes up, even more jobs will be created. Distributors will need new pipelines to deliver the gas to end-users, so they will need people who can help them build, operate, maintain, repair, and administer those pipelines, along with associated infrastructure facilities such as storage depots. And even in the absence of pipelines, they will need to acquire tankers and containers so that they can bring gas to customers by road, rail, or river. Accordingly, they will need people to procure, operate, maintain, repair, and administer these operations.

Meanwhile, there’s more. The hiring of more African workers is sure to have knock-on effects. If, for example, employees of upstream operators need a way to get to a remote worksite, local transportation companies may be able to serve them. If so, those transportation companies may have to hire more people to drive their vehicles. Likewise, if African construction firms need to procure extra building materials to uphold their contracts with upstream operators, local suppliers may be able to meet their needs. And if so, those local suppliers may have to hire more people to handle their inventory.

In other words, as Africa’s gas industry grows, it has the potential to create thousands and thousands of jobs! Of course, some of them, such as construction jobs, will be temporary. Some of them will be more permanent, though, especially if the governments of gas-producing states work with upstream operators to develop local hiring and training standards that expand the capacity of the local workforce.

All the Way Down the Value Chain

But the knock-on effect doesn’t have to stop there.

In my most recent book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, I urged African oil and gas producers to look as far down the value chain as they could. I advised them to pursue projects that treated hydrocarbons not just as exportable raw materials but as inputs for value-added operations such as fertilizer or petrochemical manufacturing. I also suggested that they look for ways to focus on gas-to-power projects with the intent of improving domestic electricity supplies — and not just because new power grids would benefit African businesses.

It is true, of course, that some African businesses will be able to create more jobs if they do not have to worry about blackouts. Likewise, it is true that gas-to-power projects will create jobs of their own in areas such as construction, operations, maintenance, and administration. But it is also true that African households need and deserve access to reliable energy supplies, regardless of employment levels — and that gas-to-power plans can help them!

I’m hardly the only person to reach this conclusion. When I wrote Billions at Play, several African countries had already rolled out ambitious gas-to-power schemes. Nigeria, for example, was in the process of implementing a program that promoted associated gas as fuel for new power plants. Since then, others have followed suit. For instance, as the AEC’s energy outlook notes, Senegal has unveiled plans for using its future gas production to generate electricity for the domestic market. Mozambique already has a couple of gas-to-power projects in the works, too.

But it shouldn’t stop there. I’d like to see more gas producers do this as they ramp up gas production in the second half of the decade. If they do, they will have accomplished something beyond merely increasing output levels. They will have taken concrete action to strengthen their economies and benefit their own citizens. And in so doing, they will have made their mark on the world!

*SOURCE African Energy Chamber. NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber, CEO of Centurion Law Group, and the author of several books about the oil and gas industry in Africa, including Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.
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Egypt, South Sudan leaders talk Nile water, regional stability
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in Juba, South Sudan. Photo  Egyptian Presidency via Reuters.

Juba — Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, in his first visit to South Sudan said he and President Salva Kiir discussed regional security and the usage of Nile waters, including areas of trade and investment.

Abdel Fattah Al- Sisi, President of Arab Republic of Egypt, who arrived in Juba, capital of South Sudan on Saturday, was received by President Salva Kiir. His visit also comes at the time, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia is in political turmoil.

The two leaders broadly discussed matters relating to water resources management, especially Egyptian readiness to use their expertise to help mitigate the impact of current floods, both in short and medium terms through dredging water sources and water harvesting methods such as dams construction.

The statement after Saturday’s meeting made no mention of the deadly conflict inside neighboring Ethiopia, which is also in a dispute with Egypt over a massive dam that Addis Ababa is nearing completion on the Blue Nile.

Both Egyptian president El – Sisi and president Kiir agreed on the need to enhance mutual cooperation in areas of education, healthcare, media, energy, trade and investment, and infrastructural connectivity especially with respect to road and rail links. 

President Salva Kiir said, South Sudan government strongly feels Egyptian leadership and expertise in these areas can make a difference in our developmental priorities. 

El-Sisi in the statement said he and Kiir discussed maximizing the usage of Nile waters, which he said should be a source of hope and national development. 

El-Sisi’s administrations described Ethiopia’s dam project as an existential threat to his country, which relies on the Nile for most of its water supply.

Ethiopia earlier says the dam is needed for development and poverty alleviation in the region.

However, talks among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan on the dam have been challenging as issues including the mediation of any disputes have yet to be agreed on.

Thought, South Sudan is a part of Nile water, is yet to be involved in the talks over the share of the Nile water.

Observers want South Sudan to be represented in any discussion over the Nile River

The region has been watching to see whether Egypt would try to take advantage of Ethiopia’s current instability as Ethiopia’s clashes with the country’s heavily armed northern Tigray region for almost a month now.

Egypt’s president also said he’s asking the international community to lift sanctions on South Sudan, which is slowly recovering from five years of civil war that killed nearly 400,000 people. The implementation of a peace deal is behind schedule.

South Sudan’s president also stressed the importance of dialogue in dealing with issues affecting regional stability.

“South Sudan’s firm commitment to regional solidarity and responsibility of Africans to seek African solutions to African problems,” said president Kiir.

President El – Sisi also expressed his readiness to Support the implementation of the fragile Revitalized Peace agreement, where required. 

Egyptian president also pledged the Egyptian full support in alleviating some of the challenges facing South Sudan such as the impact of falling oil prices, COVID-19 pandemic and recent devastating flood across the Country. 

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Commonwealth to observe Ghanaian elections
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki observing the Special Voting process in Ayawasi East on 4 December 2016.Photo Credit Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is deploying a team to observe the general election in Ghana scheduled for 7 December.

Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, constituted the group following an invitation from the Electoral Commission of Ghana. Members of the group include politicians, diplomats and experts in law, human rights, gender and election administration from across the Commonwealth.

An assessment has been conducted in compliance with international COVID-19 safety guidelines ahead of the group’s deployment.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland said: “The Commonwealth has a long and proud history of  standing in solidarity with citizens as they prepare to choose their leaders and in supporting efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law.

“This team will assess the overall conduct of the process and make appropriate recommendations for the future strengthening of the electoral process in Ghana – even as the world battles the pandemic.”

The Group’s mandate is to observe and consider factors affecting the credibility of the electoral process as a whole.  It will assess whether the elections have been conducted in accordance with the standards for democratic elections to which Ghana has committed, with reference to national legislation and relevant regional, Commonwealth and international commitments.

The Commonwealth Observer Group will consider the pre-election environment and election preparations. Members will be deployed to various parts of the country where they will observe the voting, vote-counting and results procedures.

The Group will submit its final report for consideration by the Commonwealth Secretary-General, and she will in turn share it with the Government of Ghana and stakeholders.

The Group will be supported by Commonwealth Secretariat staff led by Prof. Luis Franceschi, Senior Director of the Governance and Peace Directorate.

*Commonwealth

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Inequality in service distribution and the environmental racism embedded in access to water and sanitation
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Apiwe Mdunyelwa*

The South African Constitution under Section 1(a) purports to be founded on the bases of human dignity, equality, human advancement and freedom – and yet South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. There is a common theme in South Africa, where our laws, policies, and strategies are commended on paper, but our rights and dignity are not realised and upheld in reality. The National Water Act of 1998 and the Water Services Act of 1997 are revered globally for recognising water and sanitation as a human right. However, much like the Constitution, the basis of this reverence is not reflected in the realisation of the principles of equity, human rights, and freedom. 

If these Acts were implemented as mandated, communities would rarely find themselves in the dire circumstances they are constantly in. Consequently, there would also be less need for our communities to consult and quote the Constitution in an effort to correct the injustices they live with daily.  
If the National Water Act and Water Services Act were implemented correctly, we would see fair opportunity to access water and sanitation services, with the same equal standards throughout the country, across all races, at all times. This, however, is far from the reality.

In the global discourse the Black Lives Matter movement has gained momentum in the United States and across the world; and with it so have discussions about environmental racism: the environmental injustice that occurs in practice and in policy within a racialised context. And while South Africa is rife with instances of environmental racism, it seems our government have turned a blind eye. 

Globally, it is minority, low socio-economic group communities, and areas populated by black and indigenous people of colour and migrant workers that suffer environmental health hazards like toxic waste facilities, garbage dumps and landfill sites, sewerage, and polluted air that lowers the quality – and length – of life. Yet in South Africa, it is the majority – the black working class and poor – that are disproportionately impacted by environmental injustice.
Less than half – 46% – of South African households have water piped in their homes, which causes an array of injustices that have health, youth, and gendered impacts for the majority of the population without access to clean water.

Fighting for environmental justice

Through research and quantitative data collated over the past few years, it is clear that the most environmentally hazardous industries (mining, agriculture, energy, and manufacturing) are predominantly located in areas near to, or downstream from where poor, predominantly black and communities of colour live. In Cape Town, Western Cape examples of such communities include townships like Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, and Dunoon to name just a few. 

Lack of service delivery impacts the poor and working-class communities

Activists from these areas have been relentless in fighting what often seems to be a fruitless battle against environmental racism in their communities. These communities are frequently reporting a constant slew of health problems, that they attribute to the nearby sources of environmental contamination. 

Many people are exposed to contaminated surface water, poorly treated municipal wastewater that discharges into the nearby rivers, and poorly managed domestic greywater due to no sanitation or limited access to toilets. Where there are no ablution facilities, people are exposed to the faeces of those forced to relieve themselves in the river nearby. 

Water is in every part of life: drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning, sanitation, growing food – even cows, pigs, and goats, farmed in Mfuleni drink this contaminated water, and their meat and milk is sold and ingested, contaminating the animal and food system. 

Environmental health impacts quality of life

We interviewed a resident from Mfuleni township in March 2020 before the rise of COVID19, and he said “We live in appalling conditions, and we’ve come to accept that there isn’t any change that will come anytime soon.”

He spoke about the river that passes by the houses and the impact it has on the children who play by the river bank, as it is the only available space for play due to the lack of sufficient infrastructure. 

An injustice faced by poor and working class black South Africans that is frequently overlooked, is the effect of discrimination on the environment that the community is located in. The most vulnerable citizens end up living in the most polluted areas with little to no access to green spaces.

“This exposes children to potentially fatal diseases like cholera and diarrhoea and other debilitating diseases like eczema,” said the Mfuleni resident. 

Lack of access has a gendered impact 

With cultural taboos surrounding female sanitation and hygiene, combined with the lack of bathrooms and toilets, women and girls in Burundi section of Mfuleni do not eat or drink during the day. This is so they can go relieve themselves or manage reproductive hygiene only at night, using the cover of darkness for privacy. This has been seen to lead to infections, other health problems, and gender-based violence. Having to weigh up the threat of violent attack at night and its potential health risks, against the humiliation of doing toilet ablutions in the open during the day, is an impossible choice that no one should be forced to make.

Water is essential to human health and prevention of COVID-19

The impacts of environmental racism have been seen in the disproportionate levels of COVID-19 deaths amongst black citizens in the USA and the UK. However, the following observation from the ‘Bay State Banner” in Boston USA, could easily be mistaken to be about Cape Town:  

“Your Zip code determines your relationship to a multitude of social determinants related to health, ranging from access to green spaces and reliable transportation, availability of healthcare services and healthy food, access to safe water and sanitation and proximity to agricultural and industrial waste and pollution. The unequal distribution of these resources can influence the health of entire communities. For example, exposure to air pollution is associated with higher levels of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.”

As the Water Research Commission stated, “The provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services is essential for protecting human health during infectious disease outbreaks, including the current coronavirus disease [COVID-19]”. In the midst of COVID-19, The Minister of Human Settlements, Water & Sanitation (DHSWS), Lindiwe Sisulu, committed to rolling out 41,000 water tanks to the neediest and most vulnerable communities. 

However, the plans and actions of the DHSWS were not properly outlined, nor were they transparent or consultative enough. The plans listed and prioritised the neediest communities – which consists only of black, poor, and working-class communities; highlighting the environmental injustice in South Africa’s delivery of safe water and sanitation provision.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder of the day zero scenario which took the Western Cape by surprise – a city that would run out of water.  The severity of it, unjustifiably impacted on poor communities while the middle- and upper-class communities utilised the most water. This illustrates how environmental and social injustices are inextricably linked to privilege and class, as the communities who use water as much as they wanted did so because of the “pay as you use” policy, whilst the poor and working class communities barely receive water for the most basic of human needs such as drinking, cooking, or washing.  

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, we believed we had heard positive news of change that could last into a post COVID-19 South Africa, with the delivery of water tanks to communities in need across the country. Communities were in line to benefit from emergency measures the government was being forced to implement in terms of the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services in order to curb the spread of the pandemic. 

However, as Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said, lockdown has been the breeding ground for large-scale corruption. The water response to the pandemic, as in other areas such as education and healthcare, emphasises the devastating impact of massive inequality in South Africa, the impact of Neoliberal Economic policies, and the scourge of corruption on service delivery. 

The pandemic has highlighted the glaring absence of basic levels of water and sanitation for millions of South Africans, and the ongoing impacts of corruption and maladministration have been major obstacles to ensure an effective response – and COVID-19 is not the only global crisis we are facing. 

Time is running out for South Africa to ensure that such gross inequalities are addressed. The impacts of climate change are progressively exacerbating underlying water scarcity and inequality, and disasters such as drought, fires and future pandemics are going to become more frequent and severe as the climate crisis worsens. 

Now is not the time to sit back. It is now the time to win our constitutional rights to water, and a safe and healthy environment which so many have been denied for too long.

*Apiwe Mdunyelwa is the Project Coordinator of the Water and Climate Change Programme at the Environmental Monitoring Group.

About Action 24 – Active Citizens for Responsive Legislatures:

Action 24 is a 30-month initiative action co-funded by the European Union, aimed at strengthening environmental governance and civic participation, in order to advance decarbonised sustainable and inclusive development in South Africa.

The project namesake, inspired by Section 24 of the Bill of Rights that enshrines the rights of all citizens to a clean and safe environment, intends to achieve this by building the capacity of civil society, media, youth, and women groups to more effectively participate in public consultation and legislative oversight, with the anticipated outcome of the realisation of civic rights in respect of a healthy and safe environment and resilience against negative climate change effects.

Action 24 is implemented by a consortium of partners led by Food and Trees for Africa (FTFA) that hosts the African Climate Reality Project (ACRP), South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) in four provinces: Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and the Western Cape.

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Ghanaian environmentalist wins the 2020 Goldman Environmental Prize
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

Global — Ezekiel Chibeze, a Ghanaian environmental champion has been announced as the recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize 2020, citing his commitment to pushing for good governance in Ghana’s environmental sector and for his climate leadership in Ghana, across Africa and globally. The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s foremost award honoring grassroots environmental activists.

Chibeze joins an illustrious list of past Goldman Environmental Prize winners from the African continent including Wangari Maathai, renowned Kenyan social, environmental and political activist; Ken Saro-Wiwa, Nigerian writer who fought for environmental justice and human rights; and recently South African activists Makoma Lekalakala and Liz McDaid.

Through the 350 Ghana Reducing our Carbon (G-ROC), the leading environmental grassroots organization in Ghana affiliated to 350.org, Chibeze champions for climate justice, fighting tirelessly to stop the Ekumfi proposed coal plant while raising awareness about the possibility of a carbon-free future and the potential of renewable energy in Ghana. Chibeze’s work demonstrates the power of grassroots movements in ending the era of fossil fuels.

Quotes from key spokespeople:

“We at 350 are in awe of Chibeze’s achievements. His work pushing for a sustainable, resilient, and coal-free Ghana is admirable, more than deserves the global recognition it has just received. The climate crisis requires us to interrogate the key drivers of climate change, especially the negative effects of the fossil fuels industry. People like Chibeze, who organise and motivate grassroots movements seeking to bring lasting solutions to the climate crisis, are our true climate leaders, and are instrumental to this fight. We honor their dedication and commitment to the planet.” – May Boeve, Executive Director​ at 350.org

“Africa’s youth have been calling for climate justice that would see a transition from fossil fuels and building climate resilient economies powered by renewables. This is exactly what Chibeze and the G-ROC team have been fighting for. As a climate leader, Chibeze has shone a spotlight on the climate crisis while helping his country, Ghana to think of a socially and environmentally just, zero carbon future. Chibeze has been a strong voice of the youth and grassroots groups. The recognition of his and other allies’ work shows that collective efforts through community organising and campaigning can empower ordinary people to demand their rights and overcome social injustices and achieve inspiring wins for thousands of grassroots activists, frontline communities and local groups of Africa and beyond working for real climate justice.” Landry Ninteretse, Africa Team Leader at 350.org.

About the Goldman Environmental Prize

The Goldman Environmental Prize honors grassroots environmental heroes from roughly the world’s six inhabited continental regions: Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South & Central America. The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. The Goldman Prize views “grassroots” leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world. For more information visit: https://www.goldmanprize.org/

About Ezekiel Chibeze 

Chibeze is an avid environmentalist who serves on a number of platforms providing support in promoting good governance in Ghana’s environmental sector – specifically on climate change, biological diversity, forestry, and renewable energy. He is currently the Executive Coordinator of the Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND), a youth-oriented organization which promotes youth inclusion in the governance of natural resources and the environment. He is a certified Youth Master Trainer on Climate Change and a National SDGs Champion. He is a co-founder of 350 Ghana Reducing our Carbon (G-ROC), a convener of the Youth in Natural Resources and Environmental Governance (Youth-NREG) Platform, a member of the national technical committee of Ghana’s SDGs Governance Framework, and a board member of 350.org.

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59 percent of Nigerians ready for a global digital currency – new survey
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

30 November 2020 – Luno, the global cryptocurrency platform, has today announced the findings of a new global survey which revealed that nearly 3 out of 5 Nigerians are ready to adopt a global digital currency, reflecting the country’s growing interest in cryptocurrencies since the start of the global pandemic. Nigerians also rank higher than the global average of 37 percent for openness to digital currency adoption.

The survey, which included 15,000 respondents from South Africa, UK, France, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria, was first conducted in 2019 and then repeated in 2020. It also forms the basis of Luno’s “Trust and Uncertainty in 2020” report which explores how the attitude towards

governments, money and the decision making by central banks have changed since last year.

According to the survey, 54% of Africans think a single global currency would make their financial system better, compared to 41% for Asia and 35% for Europe. Looking at the responses in total, across all the countries in the survey, respondents expressed a more negative sentiment on the development of their local currency than last year. 40% believe their local currency will decrease in value over the next year, while 31% think it will stay the same and only 29% see an increase going forward. Hence, the majority are anticipating a decrease in their local currency which is leading many to explore alternatives. 

Speaking on the rising interest for cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, Owen Odia, Luno’s Country Manager for Nigeria, says “This year, we’re seeing a level of uncertainty that hasn’t been seen since the 2007-8 global recession and with this, there’s been a wave of Nigerians making their first steps to learn about cryptocurrencies. The growing interest in cryptocurrencies represents a new openness to look beyond the traditional ways of managing and getting the most out of your money, and exploring other useful opportunities.”

“People have had more time to research the benefits of cryptocurrencies and how they present a viable solution to many of Nigeria’s challenges around high inflation, currency volatility and a limited banking infrastructure. With ongoing inflation and other fiscal challenges, we anticipate that more Nigerians will continue to explore different ways of getting the most value from their money.”  

“The report also revealed that 52% of Nigerians feel their local economy is performing poorly compared to the global average of 36%. Confidence in the naira is also quickly diminishing with 44% of Nigerians believing their currency will decrease over the next 12 months –  almost doubling from the report’s 2019 figures of 23%. 

However, in the midst of all the financial chaos, bitcoin has emerged as an attractive alternative to fiat money – for its deflationary properties and it’s startling performance over the last year (up 145%). Increasingly institutional investors, traditional finance players and companies are adding Bitcoin to their balance sheets. 

Discussing the emergence of bitcoin in recent months, Marius Reitz, General Manager for Africa at Luno, says “There’s a fresh impetus to educate ourselves as our current financial system is looking increasingly ill-equipped to overcome the challenges.“With lowering interest rates, you don’t want to be in a situation where you don’t earn any interest on your money and lose purchasing power for every year that goes by.”

“Therefore, at Luno we’ve launched a savings wallet allowing customers to earn up to 4% interest per year on their bitcoin. We encourage our customers to learn as much as possible about investing and consider how they can maximise their savings.”

To learn more about Luno’s new Bitcoin Savings Wallet, click the following link

About Luno 

Luno is a global cryptocurrency platform aiming to empower billions of people by upgrading the world to a better financial system. Luno is doing this by making it safe and easy to buy, store, use and learn about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. To date, Luno has processed more than USD$14 billion in transactions and has over 5 million customers across 40+ countries. 

Luno is headquartered in London and has a team of 400+ technology and finance experts operating in regions across the world. Luno is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group

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South Sudan: UN arms embargo must be maintained after surge in violence against civilians in 2020
November 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

LONDON, United Kingdom, November 30, 2020,-/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) must maintain the arms embargo on South Sudan, Amnesty International said today, after confirming shocking cases of extreme violence by government forces and an increase in attacks on civilians, including war crimes, across the country in 2020.

New research by Amnesty International has documented a series of extrajudicial executions, forced displacement, torture, and destruction of civilian property by government and former opposition forces between April and June 2020 in Central Equatoria State, southwest of the capital Juba.Quite simply, the government of South Sudan has failed to protect its people Deprose Muchena

The UNSC is set to conduct a mid-term review of its arms embargo and other measures on South Sudan before 15 December.

“Earlier this year, as South Sudan’s officials called for the arms embargo to be lifted, government soldiers were shooting civilians, burning homes, raping women and girls, and displacing tens of thousands of people from their villages in the south of the country,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s East and Southern Africa Director.

“The atrocities of this conflict compound the decades of suffering of the millions of South Sudanese, who survived war crimes and crimes against humanity during the struggle for independence from Sudan.

“Quite simply, the government of South Sudan has failed to protect its people. It would be irresponsible of the Security Council to suspend or lift the arms embargo now, in light of the horrendous human rights violations being committed by government forces.”

Clashes have continued in the southern part of the country between the rebel group known as the National Salvation Front (NAS), on the one hand, and the government’s South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) and Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army-In Opposition (SPLA-IO), on the other. 

Killings and burning

In Central Equatoria State alone, Amnesty International documented 110 destroyed structures in several attacks between April and June 2020, a fraction of the total reported in local media. According to data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), the states of Jonglei, Lakes, Warrap and Western Equatoria also saw significant widespread violence during that period. The statistics revealed a 400% increase in violence compared to the same period in 2019, according to analysis by the Stimson Center.

Amnesty International conducted 26 remote interviews with eyewitnesses and family members of victims, five of whom were women, from Lainya, Morobo and Yei counties in Central Equatoria State. All those interviewed requested anonymity due to the ongoing threat of retaliation by government forces. Researchers also used satellite imagery, photos from the scene of violations, and open source data to verify the attacks.

The organization interviewed six displaced people who witnessed fighting on 9 and 10 May near the Pojulu villages of Lomilikin, Loka West and Kengwe in Lainya County. Following clashes with the NAS, a mixed force of SSPDF and SPLA-IO soldiers searched all the villages in the area.

On the morning of 10 May, government soldiers detained four men – named by locals as Lobor, Lomiong, Sabata, and Lomoro – in Kengwe and accused them of supplying NAS fighters with food. The men’s hands were tied behind their backs and they were led to the centre of the village, where approximately 20 women and children had also been gathered. When one youth tried to run away, a soldier opened fire with a PKM machine gun and killed the four captives.  

One witness told Amnesty International: “He shot them all dead. One of the four was shot so completely you could not recognize him. He was Lomiong. He was hit so rapidly on the face and head. After they killed the four, they started shooting animals, like goats and chickens. Then they set the whole area on fire.” 

Satellite analysis confirmed that villages north of the Yei-Lainya road were razed between January and June 2020. Amnesty International also reviewed verified photos of the four men, taken immediately after they were killed, and confirmed the details of their specific injuries with multiple interviewees. ACLED reported that around 9 May, 11 villages in the area were burned, and an estimated total of 22,000 people were displaced.

Torture, ill-treatment and looting by government forces

Amnesty International interviewed eight survivors and witnesses of attacks on civilians and villages in Mukaya Payam in Lainya County throughout April. They described how government soldiers attacked residents with knives, poured boiling water over one woman, and looted homes and livestock. Soldiers accused civilians of feeding NAS fighters and working as their informers.

Amnesty International interviewed five people who survived an attack in Panyume Payam in Morobo County in early June. On 3 June, following clashes with NAS fighters, SPLA-IO soldiers detained and tortured to death a man named John Capo in the nearby village of Soper. Capo was a chief and leader in the area. SPLA-IO soldiers accused him of also being a NAS commander or supporter, as he had not informed them of the impending attack.

One man, who witnessed the attack while fetching water near the military base, told Amnesty International: “Soldiers arrested Capo. They tied him up, and tortured him to late evening. The man was collapsing because they cut parts of the body, and fed him with that. In the after-hours, they took him out, and he died in the bush.”Our research reveals that SSPDF and SPLA-IO soldiers are routinely violating international humanitarian law and failing to protect civilians Deprose Muchena

Three other witnesses confirmed the horrific details of the mutilation – including cutting off Capo’s ear and genitals – and that senior SPLA-IO commanders were present as he was tortured. They apparently left him to bleed to death in the bush, and villagers discovered his body several days later.

“Our research reveals that SSPDF and SPLA-IO soldiers are routinely violating international humanitarian law and failing to protect civilians. While these horrific attacks continue, it is vital that the UNSC demands South Sudan ends these war crimes and brings the perpetrators to justice, while maintaining the arms embargo on the country,” said Deprose Muchena.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Amnesty International.

Background

In April 2020, Amnesty International published evidence from South Sudan of newly-imported small arms and ammunition, illicit concealment of weapons, and diversion of armoured vehicles for military uses that were not approved under the arms transfer licenses.

Several bodyguards for prominent generals from government and opposition forces alike, who would have first access to newly acquired weapons, carried models of Eastern European weapons never before documented in South Sudan. Amnesty International believes these weapons were brought into South Sudan in violation of the arms embargo.

On 29 May, the UNSC renewed the arms embargo for another year by a 12-0 vote. Only Russia, China and South Africa abstained. By 15 December, the UNSC is to conduct a mid-term review of the arms embargo against progress achieved in implementation of all the provisions in the 2018 revitalized peace agreement, and adherence to a ceasefire. The UNSC will also consider how to develop benchmarks against which to review the arms embargo in May 2021.

Amnesty International is calling on the UNSC to prioritize consideration of the state’s atrocious human rights record, not simply the fragmented implementation of the provisions of the 2018 revitalized peace agreement.

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

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US expresses ‘strong concern’ over recent attack in Mozambique
November 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

The United States on Friday expressed its “strong concern” regarding the attack on a minibus in Manica Province that injured three employees, one of them seriously.

The victims were employees of an organization that works with the U.S. Agency for International Development as part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

They were taken to the Dombe health clinic, but the driver underwent surgery at the Chimoio Provincial Hospital, due to the seriousness of his injuries. He is now awaiting a medical decision for transfer to Maputo Central Hospital.

“The Embassy of the United States of America expresses its strong concern regarding the apparent attack (…) and sends its wishes for a quick recovery to the injured” it said in a statement in which “recognizes the necessary and critical work done by all health workers in Mozambique.”

The victims were passing the village of Seventine when it was machine-gunned. Mozambican police attributed the attack to the Renamo Military Junta.

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Former Rwandan PM gets three years in jail
November 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

A Kigali based court has on Friday 27th November handed three years of jail former Prime minister Dr Habumuremyi Pierre Damien after being convicted with issuing bounced cheques.

In courtroom full of Habumuremyi’s family members, the presiding judge decided that Habumuremyi be punished with three year’s behind bars, and a fine of about 800 million Rwandan francs (about $900 000). His co accused Serutashya Charles was declared innocent on the same charge.

Prosecution has been accusing former premier to have  issued bounced cheques totalling to about Rwf170 million( approximately $170 000) to different people on behalf his Christian University of Rwanda.

Dr Habumuremyi who was Prime Minister from 2011 to 2014,  was arrested in July 2020.

Christian University which was founded in 2017, has been in the news recently, with staff decrying to spend months without salaries, which paralyzed teaching at the university.

It led to the total closure by the Ministry of education later due to financial crisis and low quality of education.

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Lafarge-Holcim A Profit Business Cement Manufacturer Turns Humanitarian- Non-Profit- ‘’Declaring Climate-Change now a Climate-Crisis’’
November 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

A leading cement manufacturer has drawn two pathway lines besides profit making business diving deep into Humanitarian work in Zimbabwe. This has been confirmed through a learning exercise and process that will remain sustainable for Journalists who do sustainability reporting.

The whole day sustainable reporting journalists’ workshop was conducted on 27 November at a local hotel in Harare. It was attended by 20 Journalists and 10 Practical Action civil society organization and Lafarge-Holcim personnel.

Tsungai Manyeza Lafarge-Holcim Head of Communications has made strong back-up since time reflected with positive results. She has trained a big number of Journalists on Environmental issues. This time it extends to sustainability reporting. On top of that work, she has taken Journalists for a number of tours at their cement manufacturing plant in Harare.

Sustainable Energy Projects for Community Development and the Legal frame-work in Zimbabwe among other presentations attracted attention of journalists who have to report on renewable energy issues on ground following certain regulations to capture International standards. One such example of smart, efficient and reliable energy is solar which has taken shape in many urban and rural communities.

Climate Change and Sustainable Business takes focus to look at issues of combatting green house gases that cause climate change. In a changing World the Green Revolution looks ahead to combat climate change through new ways of mitigation and adaptation.

Taking a fascination of the whole snap-up of the program the idea that its no-longer climate change but climate-crisis takes a snap into the gleam of the future to address climate changing patterns through tools that addresses a crisis.

‘’We no-longer want to call this climate-change. Let us talk about climate-crisis because this turns to be continuous. We have it affecting us on a daily basis. We have to live with it through mitigation and adaptation.’’

Dr Maria Ross of Practical Action, Agriculture Systems and Innovation Leader puts it straight that their organization looks at Agro-Ecology because of its efficiency in terms of use of natural resources.

‘’Our thrust lies on increase in food-security so that we address sustainable and responsible food consumption. This is addressed through sustainable and profitable land use in the country. That is the reason why we talk of Agro-Ecology’’.

‘’Communities must remain sustainable by coming up with proper management of their natural resources, like water and land management. Our role then comes as coming up with solutions to what needs solutions remaining as a challenge and hinderance to sustainable Agriculture.’’

‘’Solutions to fragile systems comes with the fact that we see challenges in terms of sustainable water management, food and some other resources. We now mainly rely on under-ground water, therefore we need to take note of good management of water and natural resources’’.

Humanitarian Work and Corporate Social Responsibility ..

Sustainability reporting comes as an interesting area of focus for Journalists. There is wide need to report on real issues affecting communities. It is clear that its all about climate change that comes with disasters like floods that results in drought and hunger.

Communications Expert Tsungai Manyeza joined again at end of the program inspiring Journalists to take sustainability reporting as daily business looking at what affects us today affects the future.

‘’We have Four pillars Education, Environment, Empowerment and Healthy and Safety. We empower a total of 500 students who pursue their education. This is the 1st key area that has come with positive close results on the ground.

‘’Under Empowerment we invest in supporting girls in terms of Reproductive Health. Empower them to have better choices in life. We do capacity building on sexual reproductive health rights. Our business is just not profit; it is non-profit for the sake of our human environment.’’

‘’ Our work with partners brings us to participate in saving communities that need support. Our involvement in community development matters most if we care for those who need to be involved. Its all about thinking of the future as we move towards sustainable business guided by sustainability reporting of real value and importance. ‘’

‘’There are programs related to health and safety management looking at how we can avoid accidents, disasters that harm young people. On top of that we have trained 200 young people in Conservation Farming programs working with Practical Action’’

‘’Above all in terms of community development we support recycling programs. These have benefitted communities surrounding us. Parents, especially single mothers have managed to send their children to school’’.

The training brought an inculcation of new skills in reporting sustainable development. Other areas of focus looked at sustainable urban expansion and wetlands preservation. The other area, sustainable solid waste management-the challenges and opportunities.

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Nigeria:PIN Sends FoI Request to NCC on Blocked #EndSARS Websites
November 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

Abuja, Nigeria. November 27, 2020.


Paradigm Initiative is seriously concerned over the alleged secret blocking of the domain names of #EndSARS related websites by the Nigerian government. Websites related to the campaign have been inaccessible as reported by many citizens and from independent checks carried out by Paradigm Initiative. These attempts are an unacceptable violation of constitutionally and globally guaranteed rights of freedom of expression and access to information.

In a similar development that occurred in October 2017, we monitored and challenged the Nigerian government’s censorship directive through the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), an agency which is supposedly independent. The NCC must not continue to offer itself to be used by the Federal Government under any guise to intimidate citizens who engage in legitimate protests and exercise their digital rights by leveraging digital platforms for the protest.

According to Paradigm Initiative’s Senior Program Manager, Adeboye Adegoke, “Section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria expressly provides that every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including the freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides similarly that everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

While commenting on the development, ‘Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative says that “Paradigm Initiative has sent a Freedom of Information request to the NCC to answer key questions such as who ordered the recent blocking of websites, the reason for the blocking, disruption, or restriction on these websites. We want to know under which legal provision this is being carried out and if the NCC authorised the blocking, disruption, or restriction of these websites. We also need to know if the owners of the websites were informed that their websites will be blocked, and if they were given an opportunity for a fair hearing. Another question that must be answered is: Did the NCC act independently or was it acting on behalf of other government institutions?”

Mr. Sesan further stated that “in a country with increasingly closed civic spaces and one that must do more work to protect freedom of expression and press freedom, a dangerous precedent could be set if the NCC continues to carry out the restriction of access to websites that are critical of government or that support citizens’ right to contribute to our democracy.”

While speaking further on the development, Senior Program Manager at PIN, Adeboye Adegoke, said that “the right to receive information and the right to give information is expressly codified in legal instruments recognised in Nigeria, so it would be sheer defiance by the NCC to attempt to make a derogation in such a manner.”

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Tanzania: African Development Bank approves $120 million loan to build Malagarasi Hydropower Project
November 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved a $120 million loan to fund the construction of a 50 MW hydropower plant in Western Tanzania that will provide reliable renewable energy to households, schools, clinics and small and medium-sized enterprises in the Kigoma Region.

The Malagarasi Hydropower project has several components: a run-of-the-river hydropower plant facility; a 54- km, 132 kV transmission line that will connect to Tanzania’s national grid; a distribution network expansion operation that includes rural electrification and last-mile connections; project management and contract administration support; and compensation and resettlement of affected persons.

Bank President Adesina Akinwumi noted that the approval of the project “is a reflection of the Bank’s commitment to assist the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to accelerate its transition to more inclusive and sustainable growth through the production of clean, reliable and affordable electricity.”

The project’s overall project cost is estimated at $144.14 million.  The bulk of the funding ($120 million) will be sourced from the Bank Group’s sovereign window, with an additional $20 million contributed by the Africa Growing Together Fund –  a co-financing fund with resources from the government of the People’s Republic of China that is administered by the Bank. The Government of Tanzania will provide the remaining $4.14 million.

The hydropower plant’s expected average annual output of 181 GWh will meet the electricity needs of as many as 133,649 Kigoma households, bringing the region’s electrification rate more closely in line with the rest of the country.

The project is expected to create about 700 jobs during construction, cut the region’s electricity generation costs to approximately $0.04/kWh from the current $0.33/kWh, and also reduce reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. The cost of doing business will also fall because industry will no longer need to maintain costly back-up generators.

The project aligns with Tanzania’s national Development Vision 2025 and its Second Five-Year Development Plan (2016/17 – 2020/21) and complements other regional initiatives, including the North West Grid 400 kV Nyakanazi-Kigoma transmission line project, which the Bank is financing in parallel with the South Korea Economic Development Co-operation Fund.

The Malagarasi Project will also directly contribute to the Bank’s Light Up & Power Africa High-5 development priority, which is being implemented through the institution’s New Deal on Energy for Africa strategy. 

Commenting on the Board’s approval, Henry Batchi Baldeh, Director of the Bank’s Power Systems Development Department noted that the project is “one of the flagship physical infrastructure investments in the Government of the Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025 and Tanzania’s current Five-Year Development Plan, and that it will increase the share of renewable energy in Tanzania’s energy mix.”

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Put small-scale traders at the heart of efforts to accelerate trade and investment in Africa post COVID-19
November 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The AfCFTA will not in one dramatic swoop alter existing commercial and economic realities on a vast scale, but its implementation could lead the recovery efforts from the COVID-19 crisis – Solomon Quaynor, VP African Development Bank

Industry experts meeting this week for a virtual discussion focused on resetting, retooling and restarting regional integration in Africa in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscored the importance of putting small scale traders at the heart of any initiatives.

The joint webinar, organized on Tuesday by  the African Development Bank and Korea Customs Service(KCS), looked at service sectors, e-commerce, digital platforms and value chain development as critical factors for accelerating trade and investment in Africa against the backdrop of the global pandemic. The webinar was delivered in three sessions, moderated by Stephen Karangizi, Director, African Legal Support Facility; Dr. Stephen Karingi, Director at Regional Integration and Trade Division of UNECA and Acha Leke, Senior Partner at McKinsey

History has demonstrated the success of countries and businesses that seize new opportunities during times of crisis, said Sukhwan Roh, Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service. “The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed health and livelihoods of individuals across  the world in less than a year,” he said. “Korea wishes to share all the achievements in system enhancement utilizing new technologies with African countries.”

The workshop’s audience heard how regional integration is increasingly central to the continent’s future economic prospects and to attracting foreign direct investment. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA),  already ratified by 30 countries, is expected to come into effect on 1 January, 2021. Uniting all 55 member states of the African Union, the pact will create a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over $3.4 trillion

COVID-19 has deepened pre-existing trade frictions within the continent yet offers  important growth  opportunities and great stories of innovation and highlights the importance of protecting Africa’s place in local value chains, said Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, with the need to “put small scale traders at the heart of the effort.”  She urged governments to strengthen national agencies to provide support to small traders.

“AfCFTA creates a new trade and integration reality…integrating unequal partners across the continent,” said Trudi Hartzenberg Executive Director of the Trade Law Center (TRALAC). Trade facilitation  enjoys specific focus within the AfCFTA, with digital, e-payments, and e-commerce particularly important, she added, citing a 2020 WTO report that emphasized education and healthcare as fundamental to industrialization.

From the outset, the African Development Bank has lent strong support to the AfCFTA, financing the set-up of its secretariat as well as supporting  member countries with technical assistance to  comply with  a range of AfCFTA regulations, said Bank Vice President, Infrastructure, Private Sector & Industrialization, Solomon Quaynor in his introductory remarks read by Abdu Mukhtar, Bank Director, Industrial and Trade Development Department.

Still, Quaynor warned, post-crisis recovery efforts are likely to be slow.  “The AfCFTA will not in one dramatic swoop alter existing commercial and economic realities on a vast scale. However, through strategic measures and the right investments, policy frameworks and political backing, intra-African trade will be enhanced.“

African countries innovate to enhance local value chains

Presentations provided examples from Ghana and Zambia of strategies the private sector can adopt to leverage the AfCFTA within the context of the pandemic.

Ghana previously imported most of its Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, but, since the pandemic, the government galvanized 14 local garment firms to manufacture PPE. These firms now produce 1,000 items daily,  according to Ghana’s deputy trade minister, Robert Ahomka Lindsay. The development has created 10,000 jobs.

“ Traditional value chains have been challenged… it made us realise that we cannot rely on those value chains,” Lindsay said.

Some of the worst-affected sectors in Africa such as tourism, aviation and education, had shown resilience, for example, in the food industry, which harnessed e-commerce for marketing during the pandemic, noted Kenneth Baghamunda, Dir. General, Customs and Trade, East African Community Secretariat. Zambia’s success with cashless payment solutions at its border and other innovations since COVID-19 was another example of favourable results.

“We need to see which value chains need to be developed and we need to interconnect our policies with the right institutional framework,” he said.

*AfDB

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Youssou N’Dour, Graca Machel, Akinwumi Adesina discuss building back better after COVID-19 at Civil Society Forum
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • Harness civil society’s “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale” – Graça Machel
  • “Africa’s time is now. This should not only be words or prayers. It is within reach. I’m sure (the African Development Bank) will be able to meet this challenge” – Youssou N’Dour
  • “We will work much harder, collectively and in unison, to accelerate the impact of our work” – Akinwumi Adesina

Artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators, Youssou N’Dour, musician, businessman and former Culture and Tourism Minister of Senegal, said at the opening of the 2020 African Development Bank Civil Society Forum.

The two-day CSO Forum kicked off on Thursday under the theme “Engaging Civil Society in building back better after COVID-19”.

The virtual event opened with remarks from senior Bank officials, including Wambui Gichuri, Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, and President Akinwumi Adesina, with Graça Machel, Chair of the Graça Machel Trust, representing the civil society.

Adesina later engaged in a conversation with Machel and N’Dour.

“The role of civil society in monitoring interventions is crucial and important to ensure they are effectively deployed to reach the poor and vulnerable, who are most affected,” Adesina said, adding that the Bank would step up its efforts in the area.

Adesina said the critical issue was not the amount of funds that are provided by the Bank and others, but who they reach, adding that transparency and accountability are also critical.

Machel noted the Bank’s strong track record of working with governments and the private sector. She appealed for increased Bank funding to directly support civil society efforts to address the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach families in our societies.

“These organisations stepped up, often with limited resources and in very dangerous conditions, to save lives and restore dignity to communities in the midst of this pandemic,” she said. “Resources for organisations working with women, children and those living with disabilities and in the rural areas are desperately needed.”

Machel noted that channeling resources to strengthen the civil society sector as it responds to the challenges that COVID-19 has unearthed, would harness their “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale”. Supporting women in particular would help to reap long-term dividends, she said.

For N’Dour, artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators.

“Even in a place where there is oil, if there is no culture to explain this to the people, there is war…We should be able to say after (President Adesina’s) term that culture has been involved in the development of Africa,” he said, speaking in French via an interpreter.

“Culture is profitable and I’m available to provide my assistance, to work with my staff to create other champions in Africa, to take the African Development Bank’s work to another level,” N’Dour said.

The forum will explore cost-effective strategies and reflect on best practices to enhance collaboration between the Bank and civil society, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second day of the forum will be dedicated to sessions led by civil society organizations, which will provide a space to develop innovative grassroots ideas.

*AfDB

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AFRAA’s 52nd AGA Maps Way for a New Era for the Air Transport Industry in Africa
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

Nairobi, Kenya – 10th November, 2020: The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) concluded its 52nd Annual General Assembly today with a rallying call for airlines to take specific measures to build resilience and emerge stronger after the crisis. The Assembly further called for a multi-sectorial and pragmatic approach by governments and stakeholders to support the recovery of air transport industry and interrelated sectors such as tourism.

The AGA, which was hosted by TAAG Angola Airlines, was held in virtual format under the theme: “Redefining Air Transport for a New Era”. The Assembly brought together top African airline CEO’s, industry partners, leaders of international and regional air transport associations including the African union, IATA, ICAO, AFCAC, TIACA and more than 400 delegates from 76 nationalities across the globe.

Speaking as Chief Guest; His Excellency, the Transport Minister of the Republic of Angola Mr. Ricardo de Abreu said:” We are conscious of the enabling role that aviation plays in facilitating trade and growing our economies. As we collectively navigate these times, we will seek to emerge from this pandemic more resilient, organized and determined to succeed”

In a comprehensive analysis of the industry’s outlook for 2021 and beyond that was presented in AFRAA’s annual report it was noted that recovery of traffic in Africa is expected to start with domestic markets. Intra-African routes are projected to follow suit, while international traffic is expected to take more time to reach pre-crisis levels due to a challenging operating environment.

Mr. Abdérahmane Berthé, AFRAA’s Secretary General, remarked “This is a pivotal moment in our history as we aim to reposition the African air transport market towards recovery and sustainability. Now more than ever, operational challenges faced by African Airlines have to be prioritized and addressed, especially the high taxes and charges that hinder the growth and recovery of carriers on the continent. On our part as AFRAA, we tackled the crisis by resolutely pivoting our strategic and tactical resources to support recovery efforts. We have launched an interactive capacity sharing portal to provide access to market-leading services to African airlines, and developed a recovery plan revolving around 9 pillars of interest to the sector and a comprehensive strategic plan that is geared towards helping the industry meet its aspirations.”

During the Assembly, key stakeholders emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts and a collaborative approach as a way to secure business continuity. An appeal was made to governments and development financial institutions to continue supporting the industry as a means to secure the continent’s social and economic recovery given the sector’s strategic contribution to national GDP.

TAAG Angola Chief Executive Officer Mr. Rui Carreira said: “Our strategic deliberations at this 52nd AGA have set the foundation for the recovery and successful restart of our industry. Although we foresee a slow recovery, we are currently implementing key measures that will restore passenger confidence and optimize our operations for a more affordable and successful industry.”

This year’s summit saw the expansion of AFRAA’s fraternity with two new members including: Overland Airways Limited and Syphax Airways; bringing  the association’s membership to 47 African airlines. Similarly, De Havilland Canada, PRODIGY Avia Solutions Limited and South African Tourism joined the Associations’ partnership programme which serves as a forum for industry-related organizations to support the development of air transport in Africa.

The 52nd AFRAA AGA re-elected Mr. Rui CarreiraPresident of the Association for the year 2021. Mr. Desire Bantu Balazire, Chief Executive of Congo Airways was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee. Ms.Yvonne Makolo Chief Executive of RwandAir was elected 1st Vice Chairperson of the Executive Committee while Ms Amal Mint Maouloud, CEO of Mauritania Airlines was elected 2nd Vice Chairperson for the year 2021.

About AFRAA

The African Airlines Association, also known by its acronym AFRAA, is a trade association of airlines from the member states of the African Union (AU). Founded in Accra, Ghana, in April 1968, and headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, AFRAA’s mission is to promote, serve African Airlines and champion Africa’s aviation industry. The Association envisions a sustainable, interconnected and affordable Air Transport industry in Africa where African Airlines become key players and drivers to African economic development.

AFRAA membership of 47 airlines cuts across the entire continent and includes all the major intercontinental African operators. The Association members represent over 85% of total international traffic carried by African airlines.

About TAAG Angola

TAAG Angola Airlines S.A (Portuguese: TAAG Linhas Aéreas de Angola S.A.) is the state-owned airline and flag carrier of Angola. Based in Luanda, the airline operates a mixed fleet of Boeing and Havilland Dash 8 Q400 on domestic services within Angola, medium-haul services in Africa and long-haul services to Brazil, Cuba, and Portugal. The airline was originally set up by the government as DTA – Divisão dos Transportes Aéreos in 1938, rechristened TAAG Angola Airlines in 1973, and gained flag carrier status in 1975. TAAG is currently a member of both the African Airlines Association and the International Air Transport Association. The airline has commercial partnerships with Kenya Airways, South African Airways, LAM, Royal Air Maroc, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines.

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African industrialist launches million-dollar venture capital fund for African entrepreneurs
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

African industrialist Adam Molai
African industrialist Adam Molai

African industrialist Adam Molai has launched a $1-million fund to provide entrepreneurs with capital to kickstart or expand their enterprises, in a massive boost for start-up businesses in Africa,it has been revealed.

 The JUA [sunrise in KiSwahili] Kickstarter Fund will provide successful applicants with funds – to launch or grow their businesses – as well as mentoring and guidance.

Entrepreneurs from across Africa are invited to apply.

The entire application process is electronic and funds are expected to be disbursed to successful applicants within 12 weeks of their shortlisting, in a first for Africa.

 It is reported that while SMMEs are indispensable for Africa’s economic recovery from Covid-19 devastation, raising start-up capital is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs on the continent, with banks requiring collateral that most of them do not have, studies show.

Another big challenge is the absence of mentoring.

Molai, who has successfully started several enterprises across Africa and whose TRT Investments had $125-million of assets under management as of end 2019, says a desire to inspire the Continent’s entrepreneurial generation was behind the creation of the fund.

“Without entrepreneurs, economies cannot grow and countries cannot advance. But African entrepreneurs unfortunately do not get the support they need to thrive for a myriad of reasons. Yet Africa is full of enterprising people.

“Wherever there is adversity, there is opportunity. Africa is rife with adversity, wherever you turn business prospects are in abundance. Entrepreneurs provide solutions to societal challenges, whilst creating space for the advancement of their communities. I feel that Africa is so much more open and it is full of so much more opportunity than you would find elsewhere. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that this potential is cultivated and unleashed.”

Molai says the inspiration to create the JUA FUND was to highlight the importance of African businesspeople, tangibly demonstrating their confidence in the talent and entrepreneurial capacity that is within the Continent.

“When people see Africans investing in our own environment, they feel more confident to invest alongside us. Confidence breeds confidence. And I am nothing if not confident in the future of Africa and in what we can collectively achieve,” he says.

“For decades we’ve looked to governments to create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship to thrive in Africa. Governments alone will not achieve this without entrepreneurs also investing into creating more entrepreneurs. For true success, there is need for this symbiotic approach buttressed by supportive policies,” adds Molai.   

Molai says one of the critical differentiators of the fund will be how fast money is disbursed to successful applicants.

“Cash flow is essential to the survival of small and emerging businesses. Studies have shown that cash flow is one of the major reasons why small and emerging businesses fail within the first two to five years. So, we have committed to ensuring disbursement to successful applicants within 12 weeks,” he says.

Molai says he hopes the JUA FUND, as well as his and other successful entrepreneurs’ experiences, will inspire in young Africans the desire to start their own enterprises and not wait to seek out jobs.

“Unfortunately, too many young people today access opportunities to higher education, study for jobs, as youth unemployment continues to rise – producing a schooled, unskilled and unemployed generation. Others don’t pursue education or entrepreneurship because they think that becoming part of political patronage networks is an easier path to wealth.

“This attitude kills the inspiration, the desire to dream, create and build something out of very little resources or nothing. I believe this is one of the greatest threats to our continent’s economic growth ambitions, and I am hoping that the JUA FUND will play its part in transforming Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape,” says Molai.

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Emirates Airlines “still interested in flying to Mozambique”
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Emirates Airlines. one of the largest airlines in the world, remains interested in providing flights to Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Mozambique, Khalid Shohail, said in an interview with Notícias. 

Shohail said that Emirates should have been flying to the country since June, but restrictions to contain the spread of covid-19 had delayed the start of flights.

Emirates will fly from Dubai, via Maputo, to Gaborone in Botswana, and teams from the Mozambican government and the company are currently working to get the flights off the ground soon, the paper reported.

The go-ahead for Emirates flights to Maputo had been given after the company had completed a commercial viability study.

In recent years, several international airlines have expressed an interest in operating in Mozambique.

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AfDB to set up pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

AFDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina places great importance on agriculture

The African Development Bank is currently working with other partners to design a pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture, FAFINA, the AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina revealed on Tuesday.

FAFINA – Fund for Agricultural Finance in Africa, should help African agricultural systems to become modern, integrated, and well-supported to achieve production and processing of food and agricultural products, and farm inputs, at scale.

Talking on Tuesday when he presented the keynote address during a virtual ceremony to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Sahel Capital, Adesina  said Africa should end being a supplier of raw materials by developing competitive national and regional agricultural value chains.

“Experiences from Sahel Capital on the FAFIN Fund will help as we now scale up interventions to support small and medium sized food and agribusiness companies across Africa,” he adding that agriculture is Africa’s number one comparative advantage and that transforming agriculture is the fastest way to create wealth and jobs in the continent.

“We must have chocolate factories, we must have garment and textile factories, dairy factories, and meat processing factories.

“The youth must be encouraged and supported to move into agriculture as a business to create greater value and wealth for the sector, driven by their innovations and business acumen” he said, “I am impressed with the large numbers of youth now moving into agriculture”.

The Bank has provided $406 million to support 23,000 young agripreneurs in 14 countries.

Just last week, the Bank supported $ 120,000 cash prize awards for dynamic youth-owned agribusinesses powering innovations across the agricultural value chains.

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Zimbabwe Shines as It Officially Launches 1st Nissan Electric Car .
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa.

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority inspired by the need to keep the World Green for sustainable business all around officially launches for the 1st time a Nissan Leaf Electric car.  The event occurred on 26 November at a glamorous ground breaking event in Harare.

The occasion attended by Chief Engineers, Government officials, Captains of Motor Industry marked the launch of an electric car, a modern move to consummate global green World standards. The emerging technology lies on efficiency and reliability. This is towards a low carbon economy.

Energy and Power Development Minister Honorable Soda believes Zimbabwe is towards achievements of its targets in terms of sustainable development. The targets take look at reducing green- house gas emissions, use of clean energy for sustainable development.

‘’This is to promote and encourage the expansion and advancement of technology related to petroleum and electricity ‘’

‘’Our mandate is derived from three [3] legal statutes which are Energy Regulatory Authority Act of 2011, Petroleum Act 2006 and Electricity Act of 2002. It is there-fore time to celebrate dispensation of a pollution free Green World ‘’.

‘’Companies are encouraged to invest in electric vehicles in order to go green all the time. We move the e-vehicle, making it easy to manage on petroleum. It tells more about sustainability for future generations.

He notes that the future of e-vehicle technology is in the hands of everyone.’’ It talks to us about Zimbabwe becoming an upper-middle Income Economy by 2030.’’  He points out clearly that this is in line with President Mnangagwa’s 2030 vision.

‘’e-vehicle will change this World by addressing issues of climate-change and scarcity of fuel’’ , points it out Engineer  Eddington Mazmbani, Chief Executive Officer of ZERA [Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority .

 ‘’Zero emissions from an efficient engine. This is marvelous to all of us as we save energy issues that remain a challenge in our everyday life. We are now in a new smart World of real sustainable development’’,

Consumers are set to receive the best of clean energy all around to save the earth on the effects of emissions of green-house gases. In order to take this for reality by the end of the day in future we propose these cars to be charged electricity at fuel service stations fed with solar energy and hydro-electricity.

‘’We are pushing for service stations to do the charging of electric energy at service stations. These must serve these electric cars using solar and hydro-power. It is not advisable to use Thermal energy. Off-course, using thermal power from Hwange Power Station is as good as defeating the purpose of using this kind of car because we will be using more and more of thermal power derived from coal. It burns more there at the main power station there-by causing more emissions.

‘’Secondly, we have to push for Government to make it a point that those who import such kind of cars into the country have duty free service at the boarders. This encourages more and more buyers. The car is just 30% more in terms of its price as compared to an ordinary vehicle of the same type which are not electrified.

‘’Technology is here to stay but it started long back in 1930. Thus, when solar powered vehicles were talked of but only that it was a time when cars were few, we had less challenges in line with transport at the same time the era of climate-change was not yet there.’’  Says ZERA Consumer Services Manager Engineer Nobert Mataruse .

Rwanda 1n 2019 launched a Volkswagen vehicle which was the 1st one in Africa. It is however noted clearly that some other countries have similar type of cars. The Nissan Car was bought from Development Power Africa subsidiary of ECONET a mobile Service provider.

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